What’s eating Golden Gate Bridge?

What’s eating Golden Gate Bridge?

The Golden Gate Bridge is under attack! No, it’s not a mega-shark, aliens or some other Hollywood monster.


Each night, fog creeps in from the ocean to slowly eat away at the famous bridge. The high amount of salt content in sea fog carries elevated corrosive power and because the Golden Gate Bridge is located at the mouth of the San Francisco Bay it’s exposed to more fog than almost any other place in the Bay Area. If it weren’t for the valiant efforts of a small crew, the fog would quickly destroy one of the world’s longest suspension bridges.


So how does the Golden Gate Bridge survive? With a never-ending supply of advanced paint technology, of course.


When weather permits, a few dozen painters apply fresh layers of iconic orange paint to parts of the Golden Gate. Painting is a slow process on a bridge of this size. In fact, the Golden Gate Bridge was only repainted from end-to-end once and it took 30 years (and that didn’t even include the main cable housings)!


Instead of such a time-consuming, full-scale paint job, the bridge now receives a series of daily touch-ups. Before each application, a surface area is sandblasted and power washed to remove corrosion and rust. Then a very heavy layer of zinc-based paint is applied. How heavy? A 3-gallon barrel of primer weights 100 lbs. The paint is 80% metal by weight, so in some ways it’s more like a fine layer of metal coating rather than paint. Altogether the paint adds 500,000 pounds to the bridge! On top of this heavy zinc layer, workers then apply a coat of much lighter acrylic paint for extra protection.


746-foot-tall towers and hard-to-reach nooks and crannies along the bridge’s underbelly make the actual painting process tricky and tedious. Painters use rollers on poles to paint around steel corners, and mirrors to check hard-to-reach work. Braving wind gusts of up to 60 mph, painters secure fall gear and safety harnesses to the ever-deteriorating bridge.


Are you facing a daunting paint job? NPP members receive special pricing from Sherwin-Williams. There’s even top-tier savings for fall gear and safety equipment available from Airgas. Be safe though and let professionals handle jobs that may be dangerous.


If you’re considering building your own Golden Gate Bridge, Sherwin-Williams has an array of eye-catching colors that would fit the bill, including International Orange (the official color of the Golden Gate Bridge), Golden Gate (a little more toned-down) and San Francisco Red (not to be confused with “painting the town red”).


If your business is not already an NPP member, sign up for free today! There’s no obligation to buy. We encourage you to explore our catalog of business discounts. At NPP, we connect businesses coast to coast with useful brands. You could say we focus on building bridges, not burning them.