Have you ever wondered what that rusty-looking steel is, often used in planters and other architectural features? It’s called Corten Steel. Maybe now you’re wondering, “What Is Corten Steel?”
In short, Corten Steel was first developed in the 1930s by the United States Steel Corporation. The original purpose of the steel was to eliminate the need for painting weathered steel bridges prone to rust. The steel was designed to form a protective layer on its surface that would resist corrosion while allowing the steel underneath to oxidize and form a patina.
In recent years, Corten Steel has become a popular material for use in outdoor spaces. Its unique rust-like appearance adds character and charm to gardens, patios, and other outdoor areas. Additionally, Corten Steel is extremely durable, making it a low-maintenance option for busy homeowners.
One of the first questions many customers ask us is, “What Is Corten Steel?” Corten Steel is a copper, chromium, and nickel alloy developed to resist weather’s corrosive effects, specifically rain, snow, ice, and fog. The name comes from the two words “corrosion” and “tensile,” which refer to the steel’s corrosion resistance and ability to keep its shape under stress. While architects use Corten for bridges and other structures exposed to the elements, it is also useful for art projects or other architectural features.
A thin layer of rust causes the steel’s distinctive reddish-brown coloration, which forms on the surface of the metal after exposure to oxygen and moisture. Over time, this layer of rust will continue to grow thicker and protect against further corrosion.
When weather affects the surface, the steel forms a protective layer of stable rust called a patina. The patina grows into a fully weathered state, acting as a barrier against oxygen, moisture, and pollutants. Because of its unique appearance, Corten Steel has become a popular material for planters, public art, and architecture.
Just as homeowners elect to purchase more Corten Steel outdoor furniture, they also see the value in investing in raised garden beds made of the same material. The patina on Corten Steel protects it from further corrosion—meaning that once installed, you can enjoy your Corten Steel planter for decades without worrying about maintenance or replacement costs.
Corten Steel planters are also safer than ones made of plastic or wood because they won’t leach harmful chemicals into the soil over time. For example, plastics can release toxins like BPA into the soil, which plants can absorb. This BPA may make it into your food if you grow fruits and vegetables. And while wood may be the preferred material for raised beds, it’s become more expensive over time than Corten Steel because it breaks down more rapidly. You won’t have to replace or maintain a Corten Steel planter nearly as often as wood ones!
Another reason to buy our Corten Steel planters is that they arrive to you fully assembled. The same thing can’t be said for planter kits and custom wood planters. Even if you’re handy with tools, designing and constructing durable planters takes time, resources, and equipment. Instead, when you order from us, your Corten Steel planter will be ready to use on the day of delivery, with no assembly, sawing, nailing, or painting required!
Finally, many homeowners appreciate the unique pattern of corrosion that develops on Corten Steel. Each item weathers slightly differently, so no two Corten Steel planters are alike. This beautiful, rust-colored patina adds character and personality to their outdoor space. There’s no denying that Corten Steel planters are a stylish and durable option for your home landscape.
Corten Steel is a unique material that offers a variety of benefits for both residential and commercial applications. Its long-term durability makes it a perfect choice for planters and climates that need to withstand the elements. At the same time, its natural patina gives it a unique look that can enhance any landscape or architectural design. Here are just a few of the key benefits of Corten Steel:
Corten Steel is extremely durable and can withstand even the harshest weather conditions. Because of this capability, it is the perfect material for planters that will be outside and exposed to rain, ice, and wind. These weather conditions can be troublesome for some people, but Corten Steel benefits from them by generating the unique, rusty color mentioned before. It will also last far longer than any plastic, fiberglass, or ceramic planter you’ll find at a big box store.
The natural patina that develops on Corten Steel over time is unlike any other material and can add an interesting visual element to any landscape or architectural design. The rust-like color creates a natural look, while the bronze and copper hues can enhance a more traditional design. Aside from that, Corten Steel’s increased resistance to atmospheric corrosion makes it a great choice for your property.
Unlike other materials such as wood or plastic, Corten material does not require much maintenance. There is very little material loss over time, so there is no need to worry about rust or fading. They’ll never need repainting like wood planters. And since the protective patina develops over time, there is no need to perform any special treatments or coatings to maintain its appearance.
Corten Steel is less expensive than other sheet metals that do not need to be painted, such as 304 or 316-grade stainless steel with a brushed or grained finish. It is only around 18 to 20% more expensive than those sheet metals that need to be painted, such as galvanized steel. But for anything over a 10-year lifespan expectation, Corten Steel offers the best value-for-money of all metals. This feature makes it an attractive proposition for commercial and residential projects, and its popularity continues to grow.
Corten Steel is renowned for its longevity, with many examples of planters and other garden features made from the metal still in situ after decades of use. The material’s resistance to corrosion makes it a popular choice for outdoor applications. It is often specified for projects in high-traffic areas or locations with severe weather conditions.
When it comes to adding Corten Steel to your garden, there are endless possibilities for what you can create. We offer standard Corten Steel planters in various shapes, from squares and rectangles to corner, round, and tapered ones. You can also choose large and small metal planters or something in between. Or, if you have a unique shape or size that you need to be created, we can also manufacture a custom Corten Steel planter!
Since this material is made to withstand the weathering effects of rain, sun, and wind, you can use it outdoors confidently. There are also many ways to complement your Corten Steel planters with other Corten materials. Some examples include:
We know that Corten Steel is a great material for garden planters thanks to its weather resistance, which is why we specialize in producing these beautiful planter boxes. It has a unique look that can add some sophistication and style to any outdoor space.
Now that you know the answer to your “What is Corten Steel?” question, you’’ find our Corten Steel rectangular planters are perfect for defining an area, making a statement, or creating a focal point. If you’re looking for something special to enhance your outdoor décor, check out our Corten Steel planters to create a unique outdoor space!