Mild Steel

Mild Steel Garden Sculpture

Corten Steel or Mild Steel?

David Harber uses both Mild and Corten Steel. From a visual point of view, it is difficult to tell the two apart. They are both an attractive natural looking rusty colour with an appealing textured surface that makes the metal look almost like a living material. Visually, both rusty steels react strongly to outside conditions, changing colour in the rain, and looking vibrant and colourful when the sun comes out. Both rusty steels are easy to work with.


One of the key difference between mild and Corten steel is how well the different metals stand up to difficult outside conditions. Corten is a modern invention which develops a protective coating in response to the oxidizing weathering process. This makes Corten very long lived and suitable even for critical structures like bridges. Mild Steel is less robust. It is not hardy enough for garden sculptures located near the sea, for example.

David Harber uses only the thickest 3mm mild steel which is not as vulnerable to average pollution, although it may need to be treated after some years. “Mild steel in the right environment should last for centuries; Corten steel will last for centuries” explains David Harber.

Unique Sculptures

The oxidization process – which takes place once a sculpture is exposed to the open air – also means that each piece of Corten garden art develops its own unique patina.


The other main difference between the two rusty steels is their price. Making Corten is a more involved process so it is more expensive than mild steel. Corten garden sculptures are as a result more expensive than pieces made from Mild Steel.

So which is best, mild or Corten steel?

Well, that depends – on your environment, on your budget and whether you want your garden art to last for ever. David Harber will always talk you through the options to ensure that you make the best choice for you.


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