Blackened Steel: 5 Ways To Do It And Why You Need It

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Blackened Steel: 5 Ways To Do It And Why You Need It

Blackened Steel: 5 Ways To Do It And Why You Need It

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If you’ve been looking at using blackened steel on your roof, it’s essential to understand what it is and how to get that beautiful sheen that blackened steel gives. There are many types of blackened steel, and some are better for specific purposes than others.

If you’re using blackened steel for your roof, you’ll need something durable and long-lasting while protecting your home. To ensure that you select suitable blackened steel for your roof, we’ve got five ways you can blacken steel and why you need it for your residential or commercial roofing projects. Let’s get to it.  


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1. Hot Blackening

Hot blackening is the process of turning the steel black by putting it into a hot bath of sodium hydroxide and nitrites. The nitrites then convert the metal surface into magnetite, giving it that black coloring. 

Hot blackened steel is excellent because you can get it in multiple gauges. This means there are more options in terms of metal thickness you can choose. Hot blackened steel also looks more authentic than the painted version. 

The downside of hot blackened steel is that a lot of time and effort is required to get it to look the way you need. Putting the steel into a hot bath creates a hazardous environment for those working on the steel. 

It also requires working with toxic chemicals, which must be disposed of. This, in the long term, isn’t good for the environment, and you may be subject to local regulations on how to dispose of the toxic waste. 


2. Cold Blackening

This process is done at room temperature, and a copper selenium compound is applied to the steel. Due to the steel being coated at room temperature, cold blackening doesn’t have the same issue of a hazardous environment when working with the steel. 

You get the same steel product, which has a strong barrier against humidity and corrosion, but that’s better for the environment. 

The downside with cold blackened steel is that not all the steel is coated uniformly due to the short treatment. Flat or overlapping parts may not be coated properly, and ensuring everything is coated correctly takes more time. 


3. Wax And Oil

The steel is heated to 400°F, then covered with either linseed oil or a mixture of beeswax and oil. The metal is then reheated to set the oil and wax coating

Since this method uses relatively easy-to-access material like oil, it’s a very cost-effective way to blacken your steel. Wax and oil coating can also be done from home without a factory setup. 

The downside to this method is that you may not be able to achieve that dark black color you’re after. The resulting finish is corrosion-resistant and darker in color. It could have a streaky finish and, over time, require upkeep because this method isn’t as long-lasting as hot and cold blackening. 


4. Mid-Temperature Blackening

This method utilizes a two-stage oxidation process called Tru Temp® Mid-Temperature Black Oxide, forming a black magnetite finish on all the steel parts. The result is a protective black finish that resembles hot blackened steel without the need for high temperatures and toxic chemicals. 


5. Painted Steel

As the name suggests, this method is where steel sheets are painted to look like real blackened steel. The steel is painted a black oxide finish instead of going through a chemical process. 

For roofing, painted steel is a good option as the steel is painted repeatedly to give it a durable finish. It’s easy to upkeep because you need to paint it when the time comes instead of going through a whole chemical process. 

The downside to painted steel is that the options are limited. If you need a heavy gauge, you may need to look elsewhere. 


Blackened Steel Alternatives

Here are some options if you’re looking for blackened steel alternatives for your roof. 


1. Standing Seam

This is a popular choice because it looks sleek, which is why many people like blackened steel. It is more pricy than other roofing options, but it does provide long-lasting durability that many alternatives do not. 


2. Roofing Shakes

Also known as wooden shingles, this is a popular roofing material used worldwide. It offers a more traditional style than the sleek modern look of steel. 


3. Tile

Very popular in warmer climates, and now you can get tile-inspired steel, which looks like tile but offers a steel roof’s durability. It’s also one of the most economical roofing options on the market. 


4. Slate Or Natural Stone

This expensive roofing alternative to blackened steel tends to be quite heavy, causing unnecessary weight on the home. You can now get slate-inspired steel, which gives you a classic look without the weight. 


5. Corrugated Iron

This is made from hot-dipped galvanized steel that’s been cold-rolled, which creates the patterns on the panels. This galvanization makes the material stronger, more resistant to rust, and best of all, it looks good. 


6. Zinc

Zinc roofs aren’t very common in the United States, but they’re used widely in Europe. It’s a costly roofing material but can last up to a century. It also doesn’t require much maintenance once it’s been installed. It’s a one-and-done type material that you’ll look at fixing in about 100 years if you’re willing to invest. 


7. Aluminum

Another highly durable roofing option. It is energy-efficient, fire-resistant, and naturally resists rust. This makes it an excellent roofing option in different climates, including those exposed to salt in the air due to being near the coast. 


8. Copper

If you need a long-lasting roof, copper is the roofing option for you. However, get ready to pay for it. At the same price point as zinc, copper roofing can set you back but comes with a long list of benefits. It’s resistant to hail, fire, mildew, and pets and is relatively lightweight, so it’s not putting unnecessary weight on your home. 


Where To Buy Blackened Steel

If you’re looking to buy blackened steel for your roof, reach out to us here at Digital Roofing Innovations. We can help you pick the right steel and help you with your installation. 


What Is Blackened Steel

Blackened steel is metal that has been finished with a specific metal compound. This gives it a darker finish than its original color. We’ve talked about the different ways to blacken steel, such as hot chemicals or oil – and depending on which process was used, the gradient of the color can range from a light gray to a deep black. 

Steel tends to rust, so if you’re using this on your roofs, make sure the material has been sealed after it has been blackened. 


Why Do We Blacken Steel

It’s all for the appearance. Blackened steel gives a sleek and modern finish to your construction project. Using it on your roof will give your home the elegant finish found on the front pages of many architectural magazines. 

Blackened steel offers a couple of other advantages, such as: 

  • heat reflection that keeps the ice and snow from collecting on your roof
  • durability, longevity, and low maintenance 
  • energy efficient
  • easy to install
  • fire-resistant.


Is A Blackened Steel Roof Energy Efficient

As the name suggests, a blackened roof is assumed to absorb heat purely because dark colors absorb heat compared to their light-colored counterparts. However, because the roof is made of steel, black metal roofs naturally reflect heat away from them rather than absorbing them completely. 

This makes blackened steel one of the most energy-efficient roofing types. If you use high-quality blackened steel installed professionally, you can save up to 40% on energy costs thanks to the heat reflection abilities of the metal steel. 

Well, there you have it; all you need to know about blackened steel. You now know about the different types of blackened steel and why it’s used in many roofing projects. Blackened steel creates a modern look to residential and commercial properties, which means it’s the preferred choice for many architects today. 

If you’re thinking about using blackened steel for your roof, try using painted panels, as this is more cost-effective and can give you the look you want without the labor and cost involved. 

Here at Digital Roofing Innovations, we want you to make the best decision for your project. Get in touch with us, and we can talk you through which roofing material is best for your home. 


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