Does Colorbond Fencing Rust: How to Stop It, and Cure It

Visually impressive and reliable, Colorbond fencing is one of the best value-for-money options as far as fencing materials. It’s stronger and more durable than both timber and aluminium and has a number of other advantages too. One common question we get is “does colorbond fencing rust?” so that’s what we’ll be going through in this article.

It’s hard to go wrong by choosing Colorbond for the perimeter of your home or business. Still, it’s important to be aware of the potential mistakes and shortcomings.

By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what causes Colorbond to rust and how to prevent corrosion so you can avoid maintenance costs down the line.

Before we go into detail, let’s begin with a high-level overview.

Colorbond is made to be resistant to corrosion. But continuous exposure to moisture such as soil build-up or rainwater pooling will cause Colorbond fencing to rust over weeks or months. Small scratches are best left alone, while seriously damaged panels should be replaced.

What is Colorbond anyway?

Colorbond is a brand of pre-painted steel fencing favoured around Perth, and across Australia for its strength and durability, among other benefits.

Colorbond fencing is made the same way as Zincalume, which is a kind of galvanised steel made from aluminium and zinc. The colour coating is then pre-painted (or bonded) in such a way that it’s more resistant to corrosion than regular painted steel.

Compared to other popular fencing materials like aluminium and timber, Colorbond is incredibly reliable and low maintenance. It comes in a range of grey and earthy colours to complement your home or business property.

We wrote a more in depth article about Colorbond fencing and how it compares to other fence building materials in our article What is Colorbond Fencing? 

How long Colorbond fencing will last

The answer to this of course depends on a plethora of contributing variables, but in the absence of significant structural or surface damages caused by impacts, corrosion, dirt, debris, etc., you can expect a properly installed and well maintained Colorbond fence to last 20 years or more.

The kind of warranty you can get with your Colorbond fencing varies by manufacturer, so it’s best to ask them directly for that information.

That said, it’s not uncommon to see warranties of 10+ years for Colorbond fencing and components.

What makes Colorbond fencing so popular is that it’s incredibly low maintenance compared to the other options. But that doesn’t mean zero maintenance!

To get the most life out of your Colorbond fencing, there are a few easy and infrequent measures you can take which we’ll outline in this article.

What causes Colorbond fences to rust

The most common cause of rusting in Colorbond fences is direct contact with garden soil over a long period of time, on the scale of weeks or months. If the fence is built such that ground soil is constantly in contact with the lower parts of the fence, then that part of the fence will inevitably become rusted given enough time.

The reason this happens is that there is moisture retained in the soil. Regular rainfall and splashes of water striking the surface are not an issue because it drains off very quickly, whereas prolonged continuous exposure to moisture is what actually causes metals to corrode or rust.

Even soil that looks dry still has some moisture, so it really is best to keep your fence panels away from garden soil in all cases.

For the same reasons, rainfall pooling at the bottom of your Colorbond fence will expose the steel continuously to water and therefore cause corrosion.

How to keep Colorbond from rusting

As building professionals and DIY enthusiasts, it’s crucial to assess the environment in which you will be building and take measures to prevent disaster in the future. With that in mind, let’s now look at the steps you can take to future-proof your fence.

Check the ground level. When putting the bottom rail in place, check the ground level all the way along to avoid damage from wet soil. Don’t forget to check the neighbour’s side as well!

Direct contact with metals other than aluminium, galvanised steel, Zincalume steel or zinc can cause corrosion in Zincalume and Colorbond steel.

Prior to installation, make sure there won’t be any copper pipes or lead flashing too close to the fence – or at least that the copper or lead is painted over. Even water flowing from copper or lead surfaces onto the Colorbond steel can cause corrosion.

While Colorbond fencing is known for its low maintenance demand, there are still a few simple things you can do from time to time after installation to ensure it stays in good condition.

For areas not washed automatically by rainwater, it’s best to manually clean the Colorbond surface at least once every 6 months.

Check the ground level on both sides every now and then with a quick visual assessment and deal with any soil build-up before it has a chance to cause corrosion.

Deal with the accumulation of rainfall before it becomes a problem. Continuous exposure to moisture is the principal cause of corrosion to Colorbond steel. Therefore having a pool of rainwater at the base of your fence is a serious problem. Check that your bottom rail has drain holes and that there is adequate rainfall drainage surrounding the fence.

Avoid piling up garden materials and debris by the fence. The space beside your Colorbond fence is not the right place for a compost heap! The moisture retained in grass cuttings, leaves, soil, mulch and sand – if it is in direct contact with Colorbond steel – will eventually cause significant corrosion.

How to fix rust on a Colorbond fence

Fortunately, minor scratches will not threaten the lifespan of Colorbond steel and are hardly visible to the casual observer. Therefore it’s usually best just to leave them be.

For larger, less tolerable surface damage, the official advice is simply to replace the entire sheet which is affected.

Can’t I just cover scratches with a touch of paint?

Yes, but you will want to paint either all or none of it. And here’s why…

While it’s tempting to touch up your Colorbond fence with a little paint here and there to cover up scratches, there is an issue with that.

Due to the way the paint in Colorbond fencing is oven-dried, the surface will weather at a different rate compared to regular air-dry or overspray paint.

So while it might look alright at first, the Colorbond and painted surfaces will eventually diverge in colour, leaving a comically obvious off-colour blob where you painted over it.

If you’re prepared to paint the whole fence, though, that’s a perfectly fine solution. With the same kind of paint all along the surface of the fence, you will not have this diversion of weathering effects.

Of course, regular paint won’t have the same appearance and weather-resistant properties unique to Colorbond steel, but there’s nothing to stop you from painting it if that’s what you’d like to do.

Where Can I Get Colorbond fencing?

If you’ve decided that Colorbond fencing is the right choice for your home or business (as is so often the case!) then you’ll need to find a supplier.

Here at Mackson, we supply a wide range of Colorbond fencing panels, colorbond gate kits, & patios in Perth and WA for any kind of fencing project and at some of the most competitive pricing in the area.

They are available in a range of widths and heights which can be mixed and matched as desired to create the perfect design for the perimeter of your home or business.

Not sure what size you need? We can help you determine the right dimensions for your fencing project. Request a quote, contact us for a chat to learn more or stop by our workshop in Maddington.

Request a Quote

Fill out the form below, and we will be in touch shortly.