Maybe you’re building a home or undertaking renovations. Perhaps you’re looking for something special or a statement piece to set your home or business apart from the rest. Choosing the right material to breathe life into your dreams can keep you up at night. Whatever you do, don’t dismiss wrought iron as a relic of a bygone era, irrelevant to your special project. Opting for steel over wrought iron could be the one mistake you’ll bitterly regret making for years to come. So, what is the difference between wrought iron and steel?
It’s all in the way it’s made
Gates, balustrades, fences, security doors and window grilles and patio furniture. If you’re tossing up between your options, consider this: the way it’s made makes all the difference between wrought iron and steel when it comes to strength, durability, beauty and longevity.
#1 Wrought iron
Wrought means ‘worked iron’. It’s a material whose story is romantically interwoven with blacksmiths, forges, hammers and anvils. If you’re thinking of the glow of hot iron fresh from the fire, the ring of the hammer as it’s pounded and persuaded into place and a highly skilled artisan blacksmith, you’re spot on.
Wrought iron differs from steel in that it’s created as a process whereby liquid iron is mixed with slag in an environment designed to keep its carbon content low. It’s a finely tuned balancing act that takes years of training and dedication to master. Too much carbon and the iron becomes brittle and unmalleable. For example, cast iron has a higher carbon content than wrought iron. It’s ideal for pouring into moulds but can’t be worked, shaped, stretched and curved in the same way that wrought iron can be. That’s why it’s not uncommon for one skilled artisan to complete the whole process of manufacturing something from wrought iron from beginning to end.
If you’re thinking steel, you should have a very different picture in mind: a large, offshore commercial foundry, dozens, if not hundreds, of workers, machines and robots and a rigid, production line process. That’s all very well if you want what everyone else wants: a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter solution.
Steel is the end product of a process that combines iron, carbon and other elements and compounds. Steels fall into four main sub-categories: carbon steel, alloy steel, tool steel and stainless steel. The end result depends on the manufacturing process and the elements added in during that process. Steel was the end result of a search for cheaper, quicker ways to mass-produce building materials to feed the demands of a burgeoning building and construction industry towards the end of the 19th century. Wrought iron has stood the test of time and the process has remained relatively unchanged.
Why wrought iron trumps steel every time: practical, beautiful and timeless
There’s a reason why the process of making things from wrought iron survived the industrial revolution unscathed. No matter the current fads and trends, the built-in obsolescence and throwaway mentality of modern consumerism, there’s always a place for the bespoke, the individual and the beautiful. Here’s why we say you should choose wrought iron over steel every time.
If properly maintained, wrought iron will last for generations. It’s much less susceptible to the type of corrosion that spells the end for inferior steel products. That’s particularly relevant in Queensland where our humid climate and coastal living mean corrosion should be at the forefront of your mind when you’re choosing between steel and wrought iron.
#2 Strength and durability
Cost shouldn’t be the only factor when you’re making a decision between wrought iron and steel. There’s a huge variation in types and qualities of steel products, especially in a market flooded with cheap imports. With wrought iron you get a consistently strong and durable product that’s well-placed to withstand sudden, heavy blows. That makes it ideal for fences, security doors and window grilles. With steel, the first time you know it’s of poor quality is when it fails to deliver on its promises. By then it’s too late.
#3 Greater scope for expressing your individuality with wrought iron
There’s no scope for expressing your individuality with steel. However, the world’s your oyster with wrought iron. It can be worked into intricate designs, from the contemporary to the classical. If you can dream a design in wrought iron we can make it a reality for you. With wrought iron, you’re free to create a statement piece; be it a sweeping balustrade, a jaw-dropping, beautiful piece of furniture, a gate that stops traffic or a fence that adds incredible street-appeal and value to your property.
Want to sleep easy? Choose Dean Wilson Iron to make your wrought iron masterpiece a reality.
If you are still wondering what is the difference between wrought iron and steel, contact us today at Dean Wilson Iron, Brisbane wrought iron specialist on (07) 3814 0076 or click here.