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Tips and tricks: everything you need to know about Corten steel

Dec 06, 2023Marion BRIS

Corten Steel

Corten steel, often called “weathering steel,” is much more than just a material; it is a constantly evolving work of art.

Known for its weather resistance, unique aesthetic and minimal maintenance, corten steel has become a popular choice in exterior design and architecture. In this article, let's dive into the fascinating characteristics of corten steel and discover why there is growing interest in it.

What is Corten Steel?

Corten steel is a common steel alloy to which elements such as copper, chromium, and nickel are added. Its specific composition gives corten steel a unique property: it develops a protective patina over time, creating a rusty surface that visually distinguishes it.

Industrial Aesthetics and Natural Evolution

One of the most attractive characteristics of corten steel is its visual appearance. Initially it presents a shiny metallic hue, but with time and exposure to the elements it develops a rusty patina that constantly evolves. This natural evolution lends a rustic industrial aesthetic and creates an ever-changing visual appeal.

Weather Resistance and Exceptional Durability

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, corten steel is prized for its weather resistance. The patina that forms on its surface acts as a protective barrier against corrosion, thus extending its durability. It is particularly suitable for outdoor environments exposed to climatic variations, offering greater resistance than conventional steels.

The advantages of corten steel


This material has twice the structural strength of traditional steels, 6-8 times greater corrosion resistance and resistance to tensile deformation.

Practical and durable

You will not have to carry out any maintenance. Its alloys have the property of self-protecting thanks to the formation of a patina on the surface which prevents the progressive extension of corrosion.

Original and versatile

Its color and unique appearance matches all buildings, from the most modern to the oldest. Corten goes wonderfully with wood.

Minimal Maintenance, Maximum Beauty

Unlike other materials that require constant maintenance, corten steel requires little effort.

The patina that forms on its surface acts as a protective layer, eliminating the need for painting or additional treatments.

This makes it an ideal choice for those seeking beauty without the hassle of regular maintenance.


Corrosion duration

It is therefore a living steel, which evolves during the first months of its life according to its environment. It generally takes between 6 and 12 months to stabilize, some steels can take up to 3 years. Its name “COR-TEN” comes from its two main properties: CORrosion resistance and TENsile strength.

Should you clean Corten steel?

Thanks to the patina formed by corrosion, Corten steel is protected by itself.

Corten Steel Maintenance: What to Avoid

It is best not to do anything to "maintain" this metal, as exposure to wind and moisture gives it its unique and protective appearance over time. It is therefore better to avoid: - Soap, water or high pressure cleaners - Abrasive pads and chemicals which damage the patina - Varnishes which require maintenance when the patina does not need it

In summary

Corten steel offers much more than just functionality.

It is an ever-evolving artistic statement that withstands the passage of time . Whether in the creation of outdoor furniture or braziers , corten steel adds an aesthetic and functional dimension , transforming each space into a modern work of art.

If you are looking for a material that combines aesthetics with durability, corten steel is certainly worth considering in your next exterior design project.

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