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Structural Steel Protection Below Grade

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This is a challenging one.
Two thoughts:
    1.  I recommend that outdoor steel posts always have a 6" high concrete curb above the surrounding surface encasing the base of the posts.  With concrete flush with the surface (Code compliant), rust accumulates at a very fast pace at the top of a flush concrete surface around a steel column.
    2.  You have the choice of recommendations for a 'repair'.  One might be an epoxy coating on the steel column from the finished surface up 6".  I would not recommend a paint or galvaizing repair.  Another might be to dowel-in a concrete curb over a coating of epoxy bonder to bring the top of concrete up.
With Joy and Hope,
Integrated Design Services, Inc.
Bob Freeman, Architect
Structural Designer
(714) 368-5080