Steel Solutions Center

6.4. Handling and Storage

6.4.1. Should bolts and nuts be cleaned of all grease, wax or other lubricant prior to installation?

No, bolts and nuts should not be cleaned of all grease, wax, or other lubricant prior to installation. Bolts are intentionally lubricated to facilitate installation.

Heavy hex head bolting components for snug-tightened joints that accumulate rust or dirt shall not be incorporated into the work unless they are cleaned and lubricated, if necessary. (RCSC Section 2.10.5)

Bolting components(including some bolting assemblies) may be field lubricated to help with installation as deemed practical or necessary, except that the following matched bolting assemblies shall not be relubricated by anyone other than the Manufacturer:

  1. Spline end twist-off matched bolting assemblies;
  2. Matched bolting assemblies when using the combined method and ASTM F3148 Grade 144 spline end fixed matched bolting assemblies; and
  3. Alternative-design bolting components or matched bolting assemblies(see Section 2.12).(RCSC Section 2.10.4)

6.4.2. What storage requirements apply to highstrength bolts, nuts and washers?

All fastener components must be stored in a manner that affords protection from moisture, heat, and dirt contamination. These precautions are necessary to avoid corrosion, loss of lubricant effectiveness, and dirt contamination that will both alter the required installation torque and increase the corresponding scatter of installed tension.

Once received at the installation site, bolting components and bolting assemblies
shall be kept in protected storage.

RCSC Section 2.10.2: Only as many bolting components and bolting assemblies as are anticipated to be installed during the work shift shall be taken from protected storage.

RCSC Section 2.10.3: Bolting components and bolting assemblies that are not incorporated into the work shall be returned to protected storage at the end of the work shift.

Protected Storage is defined as storage of bolting components or bolting assemblies that provides protection from environmental conditions and contamination that are detrimental to the installation of components and assemblies. At one time RCSC considered requiring a double protection, covered containers and in a shed. While that was not included in the requirements it is a good idea. 

Inadequate storage is a relatively frequent subject of project problem reports. It should be watched and rigorously maintained.