Three types of anti-corrosion coating

Coatings to protect against corrosion are important for a number of reasons. They provide a guard against wear or damage from a variety of substances that are corrosive but necessary in engineering.

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Inhibitive coatings

With these a porous substance forms a protective layer over a substrate. These are often used in primers which are over-coated. This type of coating will react with humidity and metal as penetration occurs. Even when used correctly, the effectiveness of an inhibitive coating can reduce over time and may need to be topped up.

Barrier coatings

This is a protective layer applied to a material which is not porous. It may require additional coatings or maintenance if the barrier coating is damaged in any way – by chemicals or physical wear – the material underneath will lose its protection. Chemicals can be highly corrosive and cause significant damage to property and to people. For more on why corrosive chemicals need to be handled carefully and the damage they can cause, see this report in The Guardian.

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Sacrificial coatings

This is the third main type of protective coating, and with this type the coating itself is sacrificed and worn down by corrosive substances to protect the layer below. There is a significant difference to barrier coatings, as unlike them, a sacrificial coating being damaged does not render them ineffective. The efficiency of the protection delivered will be related to the type of coating used.

When looking for the right supplier to provide anti-corrosion protection, your surface engineering company will want to ascertain whether they provide all three varieties of protection, and in the quantities necessary for your project. Experience of the staff undertaking the anti-corrosion works should also be taken into account. If you want to locate a surface engineering company for a project, it would be a good idea to conduct research including contacting a reputable firm such as, which can give help and advice.

When looking into anti-corrosive treatments, you will want to find a company that offers sophisticated technical support. Each job is different, and you may need professional advice about which kind of protection is most suited to the project that you are carrying out. The injuries from misuse of corrosive chemicals can be serious, and health and safety considerations must be taken into account at every step.

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