How To Prevent Burn Through When Welding

Are you perplexed as to why those huge, ugly burn-through holes appear on every metal you try to weld? I guess you are which is why I am here to address the matter. I know it can be very frustrating how you try so hard to be good at your job and still somehow manage to screw it up. But believe me, it is a problem faced by many and everybody is looking for some secret ways to prevent a burn through when welding.

But before you proceed, you have to understand why this happens before you can rectify the situation. Every metal is different and behaves in a different way to the high voltage electricity and high amperage heat produced. Some are more resistant and some are not. So I have prepared a list of reasons and remedies that can help you prevent having a burn through when welding. Let us move to the details without wasting any more time. Also, read how long does the flash burn lasts.

How To Prevent Burn Through When Welding

1. Clean The Metal Thoroughly

Before getting started on the welding part, you need to clean the metal surfaces thoroughly. The presence of impurities affects the melting point of the metals and also the neatness of the end result. For this purpose, you can use a metal grinder or any other tool available to scratch away all the dirt. These impurities can be in the form of grease, paint, or any other gunk stuck on the surface. Cleaning it up will enable you to better gauge the thickness of the metal and the amperage that will be required to weld it.

2. Tidy Up The Workplace Before Getting Started

Welding is a specialized process that creates high voltage sparks that efficiently combust volatile compounds in the environment. So make sure that you clean up your workplace before you start welding. There should be no combustible compounds in the surroundings. For example, if you are welding an exhaust pipe of your vehicle, make sure that you take the pipe out and far away from the car because there is a chance that the flammable chemicals in the car, such as petrol, may catch fire.

How To Prevent Burn Through When Welding

3. Avoiding Long Arc And Short Arc

Another thing that you need to take care of is the distance between the electrode and the base metal. If you hold the electrode too close to the metal, a long arc will occur, and the heat intensity on the metal will increase. It will make it very difficult for you to control the direction of the weld and the intensity of the heat. Thus, leading to a large, ugly burn-through in the metal piece.

However, if you hold the electrode too close to the metal piece, then short arcing occurs. When this happens, you run at the risk of the electrode sticking to the base metal. Besides, the very intense focus of heat on a single spot leads to a gaping hole in the metal. Thus, you must maintain an ideal distance between the electrode and the metal to achieve the desired results.

4. Adjust The Pace With Which You Move

Adjusting the pace is an integral part of welding. You can be doing everything right and still get a burn-through in the metal piece you are working on. This happens because you have not adjusted to an optimum speed. The speed adjustments depend upon the thermal conductivity of the metal. The lower the conductivity, the slower you need to move along the metal surface whereas, the higher the conductivity, the faster you need to move the electrode.

5. Double-check The Equipment

You need to be extra careful with the welding equipment as well because they should be clean and ready to go before you start welding. The welding machine creates an intense voltage of electricity, and if the machine malfunctions, you are in big trouble. Besides, the stick holder and the electrodes must be clean and well kept when not in use. You can also clean the stick holder with a wired brush.

How To Prevent Burn Through When Welding

6. Adjusting The Amperage

One of the biggest reasons why a burn-through appears on the metal piece is because you are unable to adjust the amperage correctly. As I have already told you, that different metals have different thermal conductivity and varying thicknesses. It is just a simple formula; the thinner the metal piece, the lower the amperage, and the thicker the metal piece, the higher the amperage.

Safety Measures

The extremely high amperage heat and sparks created while welding is very damaging to the human body. Just imagine what the same heat that causes metals to melt can do to your body. Cringy right? So, you must always follow full precautionary measures before getting started on the welding process. I have prepared a list of some of the essential measures that everybody must follow at all times.

  1. Wear a face shield to cover the delicate skin of your face and eyes from burning out.
  2. You must wear eye goggles under the shield to add extra protection to the retina.
  3. Wear thick gloves and overalls.
  4. Better wear earmuffs to prevent sparks from entering your ears.
  5. Flame-resistant boots will go a long way in protecting your feet from getting viciously burned.
  6. Clear away all the combustible materials from the surrounding before you begin welding.
  7. Clean the metal surface thoroughly.
  8. Starch your clothes.


What happens to metal during welding?

Welding is a phenomenal process through which two separate pieces of metals can be joined together. It functions on the property of the metal as a thermal conductive. In this process, you use high heat to melt the metals, after which it is set to cool down. As the metal cools down, the melted metals fuse, thus joining both the pieces. Although it may sound very easy, high levels of focus and practice are required to prevent any mishaps. You are advised to seek professional training before getting things welded on your own.

What is burn through welding?

A burn through welding is a hole created in the metal body because of subjecting it to an excessive amount of heat. Every metal has different thermal conductivity; some are more conductive than others. Besides, the heat that metal can take also depends upon its thickness. So, as a professionally skilled welder, you will have to consider all these things before getting started. Otherwise, the improper amperage will result in the melting of the metal and causing an ugly unwanted hole in the metal body.

How do you prevent burn through in welding?

There are a number of ways that can help you prevent a burn-through in welding. It starts with your experience and the technique you use while welding. The more exposure you have, the lower the chances are that you will cause a burn-through in welding. Besides that, you have to gauge the type and thickness of the metal to apply an appropriate level of heat. Plus, before you get started, you need to clean the metal and the environment to prevent any hazards that burn through the metal.

Why do I keep burning through when welding?

The reason why you continuously keep burning through the metal when welding is maybe because you haven’t cleaned the metal properly before getting started, or maybe because you are using higher heat on that particular piece of metal than recommended. Different metals have different conductivity and varying thicknesses. You will have to be very careful with the amperage you use on a specific metal. For example, you must use a lower amperage on a thin piece of metal and a higher amperage on a thick piece.

How do you fix a welding burn?

Fixing a welding burn is easy but takes a lot of time. You will have to be careful in following the required steps as you go about fixing the mess you created in the first place. First, take a grinder and clean away all the mess created from the burn. Second, take a very thin strip of clean aluminum. It will act as a base metal. Third, place it below the burn and use clamps to hold the two metal pieces together. Then proceed to fill the burn through the weld. Go easy and use a lower amperage to minimize discoloration and any further damage.


So by now, you know all the reasons why a burn-through hole is created in the metal surface while welding and how to prevent it; it is time to start implementing them. Remember, a job doesn’t just need to be done; it needs to be done well. Hence, you must take all the preventative measures to ensure that you achieve an excellent end result while also keeping the risks of possible hazards at bay. Practice is a key to perfection. So the more you practice, the less likely you are to get a burn through when welding.

About Dave Walker

Dave Walker, a professional welder who has been welding from an early age. Now aims to help others by making them learning skills and finding them new opportunities. He has written for many welding blogs and helped many pursue their welding goals by helping them in choosing the best welding tools of the time.

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