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topic 13388

Galvanized roofing for shower, bathroom walls & kitchen backsplash

A discussion started in 2002 but continuing through 2020


Q. In an inspired or ignorant moment, I thought it would look cool to use galvanized roofing (both corrugated and V-crimp) as paneling and tub surround in a bathroom. Do I need to put some kind of topcoat on it to keep it from corroding with the constant steam from the shower?


Stewart C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Austin, Texas


A. Unfortunately I think so, Stewart. Galvanized coatings are not considered a decorative finish: the galvanizing will protect the steel, but in indoor use where it is wet and has little opportunity to "breathe" and form tight carbonate complexes with the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the galvanizing itself may corrode with white rust ("wet storage stain"). So you probably should put a lacquer or clearcoat on this, and it will be hard to get good adhesion. You could try scrubbing it down it with trisodium phosphate [affil. link to product info on Amazon], then washing with vinegar before lacquering. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


Q. All the paint experts I've talked to suggest that no kind of varnish/lacquer/urethane would adhere to galvanized. What about some kind of paste wax? Car wax?


Stewart C [returning]
- Austin, Texas

A. Hi Stewart. Latex paint is probably better than other paints. Wax is fine, just not as protective.

Luck & Regards,

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


A. Hey Stewart,

You might want to try using Johnsons Paste Wax for hard wood floors. I had a similar posting for Galvanized counter tops; I got no response so I went looking. Johnsons says you can use this wax for metals. I waxed an area, and then put dabs of ketchup, soy sauce, water, vinegar and I let it sit over night. All of the above wiped clean the next day. Whereas on the unwaxed part it left some residue. Give it a try and see what you think.

Dwayne Hagan
- Pottsboro, Texas


Q. I am installing galvanized roofing tin in my master shower and I was wondering what I would clean it with on a weekly basis to remove soap scum, etc. without damaging the tin?

Linda Tifft
home owner - N Las Vegas, Nevada


A. I don't really think that's a great application for galvanized metal, Linda. I would be afraid that you'll get white rust in a shower application.

But if you are determined, then Dwayne's recommendation sounds like a good one.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

-- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread 2005

Q. I am hoping to install a galvanized counter top in a mud room and would like to know if anyone has answers as to what type of sealant or finish should be used to protect it from stains.

Luke Puckett
homeowner - Scottsdale, Arizona


Q. I'm writing in response to previous posts regarding using galvanized corrugated tin for shower walls. Some of these posts are quite old so I'm hoping that at least one of the attempted projects has been completed by now! Can anyone tell me whether or not you consider your project successful -- and if so, how did you prepare the galvanized tin for use in this water-y environment.


Dianne Graves
- Topeka, Kansas


Q. I have read the postings and I am not certain there was a real response. I am wanting to utilize tin on my outside shower wall and the backsplash in my kitchen. Any response would be helpful!


Billy W. Sumrall
- Monticello, Mississippi

A. Hi, Dianne. I'd like to hear from people who have tried it rather than to continue to extrapolate based on book knowledge too :-)

Billy, there were responses that predicted lack of success for an indoor shower due to: 1). the galvanizing being unable to resist unsightly white rust in this wet but low airflow environment; and 2). the unlikelihood of a durable lacquer or clearcoat being able to fully adhere to the galvanizing.

But an outdoor shower (plenty of air movement) and indoor use in the drier but more airy kitchen environment might be fine. Still, removing kitchen splashes without staining sounds problematic.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

affil. link
Rust-Oleum Crystal Clear

December 1, 2009

A. I saw they used this in a magazine and am thinking of doing it in my bathroom they say to use Rust-Oleum Crystal Clear Enamel =>
before screwing them into place and they suggest using self sealing roofing screws and sealing with metallic caulk. I hope this helps. I have seen the use of the metal in restaurants and it looks really cute in the new modern ones.

Debbie Ingram
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

December 27, 2009

? Wow... do any of you have photos you can post. I am thinking of doing this!

Sec Tee
- San Francisco, California

affil. link
Country Living magazine

October 24, 2010

The article that has a picture and the process along with the materials are in the June 2009 Country Living Magazine.

Dianna Briggance
- Grand Rapids Michigan US

March 8, 2010

thumbsdown I have a friend who did the galvanised in her kitchen. It rusted after about 4 years near the sink. About 1 foot out on either side where folks stacked the dishes.

I do not recommend it on a wet counter.

If you had a dry food prep area that would be different. Over by her microwave and over where she kept her toaster and coffee maker it still looks good.

Carol Vance
- Austin, Texas

thumbs up sign Thanks for the feedback, Carol!

Luck & Regards,

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

May 25, 2010

Q. We are having issues with our bathroom and our ceiling has mold spots on it. We currently have drywall. We are in the process of replacing and rerouting our ceiling exhaust fan and will be replacing the entire ceiling. I like rustic decor and am considering getting galvanized tin for the ceiling. Will this be OK? We already have ceramic tile surrounding our shower stall, so the tin won't be directly over the shower.

Jill Sinn
working mom - Sparta, Illinois, United States

May 28, 2010

A. Semantics, but you can not galvanize tin as it melts at a higher temp than tin. "Tin cans" used to be steel with a thin tin coating and are not tin. That coating has virtually been replaced by organic coatings.

With the amount of moisture from baths or showers, that area is guaranteed to rust --some day-- if you put up galvanized steel. This could be days, weeks or years, depending on the quality and the environment.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

June 1, 2010

A. Yes, it is semantics. People use the slang word "tin" to refer to steel sheet metal, and it can be a bit confusing. Galvanized roofing will last many years or several decades outdoors, however:

1). It is not considered failure or rusting if the coating turns brown, due to its zinc-iron nature, whereas you might consider it unacceptable indoors.

2.) Plenty of air (carbon dioxide) is required for galvanizing to work well. Voluminous white rust (wet storage stain) results if it can't breathe and I'm not sure if the ceiling will breathe well enough. But I have read stories in handyman magazines of it being used successfully.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

March 20, 2011 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Can galvanized sheetmetal be installed on the walls in a kitchen or dining room as a wall covering / decoration where it can be touched by humans. will a/c or heating conditions affect the oxidation process? For instance condensation.

carl moore
homeowner - kerrville texas usa

June 29, 2016

I have an answer and a question...

A. I did have a galvanized metal countertop, manufactured and installed in my kitchen in 1995. It looked great. Not near the sink or any other moisture. The issue I found was that acidic foods would not just stain it, it also exudes a poison called antimony. Not good around food! I solved the problem by covering the counter with clear contact paper. I know it sounds weird but it totally disappeared and looked great! Of course I had to be careful with hot pans and always using a cutting board but I was very happy! I had a very cool kitchen island!

Q. My question is about the shower area as I am about to use corrugated metal for the walls of that. I need to know if anyone tried prepping and sealing theirs and did it work? Were you happy with it? I know that it's a rustic look that is not for everyone. I may try coating it with the window film that is used for Windows. Has anyone tried that? Thanks, in advance!

Bamma Kline
- Jonestown, Texas U.S.A.

June 30, 2016

! I just looked back on this thread. Every single one of the questions originates in US.
Can anyone explain the American obsession with using totally inappropriate materials and then endlessly worrying about them?
The rest of the world does not seem to have this problem.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

thumbs up signAs Tommy Lee Jones tells us, Geoff, it's No Country for Old Men :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

January 16, 2017

Q. My husband and I installed galvanized roofing as a shower surround. My question is, what are some ideas as to finishing the seams where the panels overlap so there are no hidden sharp edges?

Shelley Sweat
- Glen Saint Mary, Florida, USA

January 2017

A. Hi Shelley. Sorry that this advice is probably more applicable to a future reader than to you, but the best approach is probably rolled edges =>


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

February 24, 2018

A. I did the shower surround and a wash tub sink. Tub surround has held up well. I believe the best thing I did was to put a rainfall type shower head on a extender in shower. Minor amounts of water hit the walls. The wash tub sink bottom began to rust within a month. I currently am trying to repair by spraying with new galvanized paint, then used marine clear acrylic paint over that. Then decided to go a complete different direction and tiled the bottom on the tub. I made the sink slope so water will drain better. Time will tell if this will work.

Shirley fulton
- missoula, Montana

September 18, 2020

Q. Looking for some information regarding installation of corrugated metal around the inside of a bathroom window that is located in the shower. Need to be able to have a tight water around the frame where the metal meets the window but not sure how to go about framing it or how to seal it. Has anyone done this before or have any advice?
Thank you!

Courtney Sierra
- Louisville, Kentucky

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