Episode 3 – Iron Corten

Iron Corten: Durable Rust Patina Facade

What is iron corten? Weathered steel is often referred to as iron corten or corten steel, with the name corten deriving from the genericized 1933 U.S. Steel trademark COR-TEN.

Corten steel is the name for a category of steel alloy that is designed to form a stable layer of rust on the surface in order to protect the layers of steel underneath while also giving the steel a rust patina look that removes the need for paint. The process of weathering the steel usually takes two to four years to reach the desired appearance.

Corten steel is featured on famous sculptures and structures, such as the Chicago Picasso and the Broadcasting Tower in Leeds, making it a popular material in the design of buildings and building facades. However, the material does come with its disadvantages.

Here’s an example of an untreated piece of metal that has been exposed to moisture. As you can see, the material can be affected and stained by moisture or oils.

An untreated piece of metal is damaged and stained by oils.

Another issue with the corten steel is that it can lead to rust staining on other parts of your building that are nearby.

One of the disadvantages of using corten steel as a facade is that rust can bleed into other aspects of your building’s exterior, as seen above.


Ideally, corten steel will develop its outside layer of rust naturally over time, or the rusting process can be accelerated, giving the building the look of being aged. Sometimes, however, the corten steel is so unpredictable and uneven that it makes the building look shabby instead of achieving that intended aged look.

While the ideal look can be exceptional, the risk of corten steel not producing its desired rust patina appearance or staining other parts of your building may be too great for some designers and architects. Thankfully, there are products on the market that can replicate the look of weather steel without the mess and unforeseeable outcome.

Elemex’s Ceramitex sintered ceramic panel facade system includes an Iron Corten pattern that will give your building the rust patina aesthetic with the peace of mind that it will always look exactly the way you want. Ceramitex sintered ceramic cladding is extremely durable with the look of corten steel from Day 1 and the bonus of not fading or changing over time.

As you can see below, real corten steel can be easily damaged while Ceramitex is scratch and impact resistant.

Additionally, Ceramitex sintered ceramic large-format panels are lightweight, climate-defiant and compliant with building codes across North America. The facade system is easy to install and offers limitless design flexibility thanks to Elemex’s proprietary Unity attachment technology, and it’s backed by the 360° Advantage from your project’s conception to completion.

If you would like to see a sample of Ceramitex or learn more about it, visit elemex.com or contact us at info@elemex.com.

Elemex Architectural Facade Systems
530 Admiral Dr,
London, ON
N5V 0B2
+1 844-435-3639

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