Concrete Repair and Upkeep: Tips for All Seasons

Welcome to my concrete blog. My name is Helen, and I hate stumbling over old and broken concrete. It makes a home, business or even a whole neighborhood look old and unkempt. To make the world a more beautiful place, I have decided to create this blog. In it, I plan to post everything I have learned about concrete over the years. I plan to include everything from maintenance schedules to upkeep tips to simple repairs to financial risks of broken concrete. If you have a patch of concrete anywhere on your property, I hope you enjoy the information in this blog and learn something new from it.

Scaffolding Frames: How Much Rust Is Too Much Rust?


It goes without saying that scaffolding is tough stuff, able to withstand tremendous loads and serious abuse while remaining fit for purpose. However, it is not invincible —  no matter how thoroughly they are treated or galvanised, steel frames and poles will inevitably rust. You'll almost never see a professional scaffolding rig that doesn't, at the very least, have some patches of rust.

Trouble is, there is no solid set of rules to follow when it comes to determining how much corrosion a piece of scaffolding can take before it is no longer safe and legal to use. Safe Work Australia's scaffolding legislation states only that scaffolding should be inspected by a professional before each use to determine whether or not it is still capable of bearing loads safely. Obviously, you don't want to be carting around a load of frames that turn out to be useless when you get to the site, or wasting valuable storage space on scaffolding that will be marked as out of service, so having a fair idea of what is and isn't safe will save you and your company time and money.

Inspecting frame rust

Superficial rust on a scaffolding frame is largely harmless, and it is essentially inevitable. However, once the rust penetrates the surface of the steel and starts to go to town on the internal structure of the tube, you may have problems.

Your main concern here is tube thickness — rust will wear away at the steel of the tube walls, reducing thickness and therefore chipping away at your frame's load-bearing strength. A good way to measure how much thickness has been lost from the wall of a tube you consider suspect is to use a pair of digital calipers. These can measure decreases in thickness accurately down to the millimetre scale, and should be used at both ends of the tube, where corrosion is likely to be most pronounced.

Because of the varying thickness of the walls of different scaffolding frames, it's best to measure thickness decrease by percentage rather than pure measurements. A 5 percent loss in thickness isn't really much of an issue (yet), but once you get into double figures you have cause for concern and should consult a scaffolding inspector.

This is all assuming that the rust on your scaffolding is fairly uniform — if you have isolated patches of rust in key areas, they can be more of an issue. Look out for:

  • Pitting around the half-way point of a tube
  • Rust around a small dent or kink (tubes with large dents or kinks should be discarded out of hand, as their strength has been severely and unpredictably compromised)
  • A rusty weld at a corner or base connection (this usually signifies a shoddy weld — toss the frame, and seriously consider switching manufacturers)
  • Deep rust that has caused a split or hole right through the tube wall (obviously no longer safe)
  • Rusty pins, chains and locks

Contact a company like All Domestic Scaffold & Safety Systems if you have specific questions about scaffolding use and safety.


21 July 2015