I have a pole home on a hill, and the steel poles keep getting covered with dirt when it rains, so they've started to rust.

I am desperate to do something. I was thinking of embedding the poles in concrete and creating a concrete floor underneath the house. Will this stop the poles from rusting? Or will the poles rust under the concrete?

The house was built around 1984.

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    Are they painted? If not, I'd start there...sand/grind, prime, paint. – DA01 Apr 9 '12 at 13:18

Oil-based enamels "key" well to metal (better than latex) and are the go-to for protecting metal from oxidation. You will first need to remove all oxidation using some wet-dry sandpaper (or in extreme cases an angle grinder). There are products that will turn rust into primer; these can SOMETIMES help but really they're usually just a "quick fix", and in all cases you'll want something more than the layer these will give you.

As far as a more permanent fix, consider replacing these steel poles with galvanized metal. The galvanizing basically forms a protective layer of oxidation that is physically tough, and shields the metal from further destructive oxidation. Anything you'd use as a structural member exposed to the elements should have SOME form of protective coating already on it (or be made of an alloy that resists oxidation; stainless steel however is uncommon for major structural members).

In an oceanside climate, you can protect exposed metal by building a weather-tight box around the exposed part. This will prevent rain and saltwater mist from contacting the metal directly. You still will want to put a protective finish on the metal itself as a final barrier.


Caveat: I have no idea what a "pole house" is. Google came up with a lot of Hawaiian construction that doesn't appear to be iron poles.

However, they make paint designed to prevent rust -- Rustoleum is one brand, but there are others. In New York City, it is common for landlords to paint iron fire escapes to prevent rust. That's where I'd start.


Steel poles can be prevented by galvanizing,because steel is a metal and metals are being galvanized when they have been rusted.

  • 4
    However, galvanization is a manufacturing process; it won't help the OP with steel poles that are already supporting their house. – Niall C. May 14 '14 at 18:30

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