Why Architects use Cor-ten as their Material of Choice | Kloeckner Metals UK


Cor-ten® Steel is a material of choice for architects due to its weathering resistance and elegant look. Its high strength, and weldable characteristics make it an excellent weathering-resistant steel for a variety of projects.  Its characteristic orange-brown rusted look adds to the tasteful appearance of the structural steel. With mechanical properties similar to conventional steels, Cor-ten® can be used to construct lighter structures using well-established design practices but with the addition and advantage of improved weathering properties.

The steel gets its weathering resistance from the formation of a protective oxide coating which seals the surface against further corrosion. Every time the coating is damaged or chips away, Cor-ten® Steel repairs itself to give continuity of protection and appearance. This self-repairing feature of Cor-ten® Steel makes it perfect for projects where maintenance is difficult. It also means low maintenance and repair costs saves the time and costs of painting as the steel creates a protective layer that effectively slows the rate of corrosion. Cor-ten® also gives additional protection from corrosion to unpainted areas, which have been damaged, as well as a reduction in under-paint corrosion known as ‘creep’.

Corten’s Versatility & its applications

Corten Steel can be used across various sectors. Here are some industries that use Corten Steel effectively:

Modern Architecture

Cor-ten® Steel is used in modern architecture to create strong, durable and beautiful structures. Its orange-brown rusted finish gives an elegant and modern look, and its high-strength, low alloy, weldability and weathering resistance makes it the perfect choice for modern structures. One such example of Cor-ten® Steel being used in a modern building is that of Barrow House, located in the Lincolnshire Wolds. The family that owns it wanted to live and work there while being able to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

The architects used Corten Steel for the exterior of this modern structure on account of its characteristics and durable nature. Seeing that it would be exposed to a range of weathering conditions, Cor-ten was the perfect choice because of its weathering resistance. It was also the best choice to ensure low maintenance costs over the years.


Cor-ten Steel is increasingly being used in landscaping and gardening due to its resistance to weathering, extended lifespan, and extraordinary strength. The warm industrial feel of the orange-brown finish of Corten Steel is very on-trend at the moment. Corten Steel also is perfect for making a big impact in a limited space. It was used widely in the award-winning gardens at the last Chelsea Flower Show.


Cor-ten® is used in the construction of bridges and rail electrification. The Ordsall Chord bridge in Manchester uses Corten for its iconic look. It was chosen for its architectural and industrial finish and for its low maintenance requirements in a challenging location.

The bridge is built in the city centre and needed high architectural quality along with practical installation and maintenance solutions in a railway, river and road environment. The architects created the appearance of a single ribbon of weathering steel to deliver a striking and low maintenance finish, creating the first asymmetric network arch in the world.

The finished structure has won 16 Awards including a RIBA National Award and Royal Academy of Engineering’s Major Project Award and the structure provides improved rail connectivity between Northern towns while contributing to the urban cityscape in its own iconic way.

Similarly, Corten Steel is used in the railway electrification environment to drive improved sustainability and reduce the carbon impact of transportation. It makes a perfect substitute for the traditional method of galvanising the steel electrification structures, that account for about 20% of the final cost of the mast. Using Corten Steel instead has proved to reduce both financial and carbon costs and increase the longevity of the structure.


Many artists have fallen in love with the material on account of its sturdy yet malleable nature, not to mention it’s idiosyncratic visual appeal. Cor-ten’s distressed antique appearance and its ability to blend perfectly into the environment continues to be a popular choice among sculptors to create striking and appealing works of art, that will gracefully withstand the test of time.

At Kloeckner Metals UK we are one of the leading Cor-ten® material suppliers in the UK. Renowned for supplying many customers across various industries part of our offering also includes extensive in-house processing solutions. We offer de-coiling, flat laser and water jet cutting, hi-def plasma cutting as well as bending / folding of Cor-ten.

If you are thinking on using Cor-ten® Steel on your next project, get in touch with our team for more details.

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