Should you weld up or down?

As a welder, you rarely weld in the same position. One moment you could weld flat; the next, you could do a vertical down. It’s these vertical welds that can get a bit tricky if you don’t do them right.

So should you weld up or down with a vertical weld? A vertical up weld will penetrate better, while a vertical down weld may look more aesthetically pleasing. Both of these welds take practice but can be very useful when used in certain situations.

There are different ways to make a vertical weld. You can weld from below, working toward the top of the joint. You can also start at the top and work your way down the joint with your solder.

Learning the technique is quite difficult, and there are many differences, so let’s take a look at the 2 types of vertical welding.

Should You Weld Up or Down?

Most of the time, the answer to whether to weld vertically up or down will be to weld up. Upward vertical welds are stronger than downward vertical welds because of the penetration you see. They perform very well on stress tests. On the other hand, vertical downward welds are great for sealing things.

If you have thin metal and need to fill a hole, the descent is very quick and easy, and you are unlikely to burn things.

Difference Between Vertical Up and Vertical Down Welding

Starting from the top of the joint, I speak of manual descending or vertical descending welding. Starting from the bottom of the joint is called vertical welding upward. These techniques are very different.

Vertical up welding is very strong and almost as efficient as a flat weld. Vertical down, on the other hand, is cosmetic. It’s easier and looks good, but it won’t be useful for structural welds because the weld isn’t strong. If you are wondering if you should weld up or down, then we can help you with that determination.

Is it better to weld up or down?

Both welds are useful. It just depends on what you’re trying to do with them. Upward vertical welds are very secure. They are structurally sound and perform very well under pressure tests. On the other hand, manual downward welds are useful for quick welds. While not strong enough to handle stress testing, they are quick and effective with holes and create tight seals.

Even the thinnest metals are more receptive to downward welds. They don’t need as much penetration for proper articulation.

Vertical Up Welding

This is a very strong and efficient welding method. Indeed, by welding in this way, effective flat welds can be obtained. This technique is one of the most difficult to learn. Typically you will want to use a triangular weld for this method. You will weld a shelf to the bottom of your joint using a triangular weave.

Reinforce it, going up 1 layer at a time. Do not remove the electrode from the molten vat, and never use a stirring method. You will need your electrode to point slightly upward so that you can control your puddle through the force of your arc.

You will need to weld slowly. Vertical upward welding is not a race. The shelf cannot be turned over, so take your time to maintain the shelf carefully. The lower range of your currents will work well for this task. Make sure you choose the correct electrode for the job. The biggest challenge when it comes to vertical welding is that it fights against gravity.

Your weld will want to fall and slip, and you need to avoid that.

Vertical Down Welding

This is a cosmetic weld. It looks very nice, but you don’t want to use it for structural reinforcement.

These work great for seals and rails. The handrails are already very strong, so using manual welding can quickly join them. They are also useful for oil tanks and stoves that need to be sealed.

However, this form of welding has some advantages. The wire feed can be controlled, as well as the travel speed and tension. Vertical down welding typically occurs with GMAW due to the additional control it receives.

The thing to keep in mind to successfully weld in the vertical down position is that a small drag angle is required.

Between 10 and 15 degrees. When you do, it will be easier to keep the bow on the leading edge of the puddle.

Care must be taken when starting this type of welding. Otherwise, you will end up with insufficient filler on the face of the weld.

You should hold your barrel at about 60-70 degrees and aim straight up. Make sure you go fast, but never whip or pause. Using a quick freeze rod can help prevent dripping and slag.

If you are using a welding stick this way, you will need to make sure you keep an eye on your puddle. Whatever happens, you need to stay out of your flow. Work fast so you won’t get burned.

Another thing downhill welding is useful for is a few different preliminary things. You can perform root pass, fill pass, and hot pass using the descent before moving on to the ascent.

One of the benefits of downward welding is that metal is much less likely to burn out. Speed prevents this from being a factor.


When it really comes down to it, practice makes perfect. Improving your skills with vertical up or down welding happens with time and practice of the technique. Once you have mastered both techniques, they will prove to be incredibly useful for your welding skill set.

Vertical up welds are just as strong and reliable as flat welds, thanks to stacks of layers that are waxed together.

They are useful in a wide variety of situations where it is not possible to work with the flat technique. The downhill method is perfect for sealing holes and preventing metal burning.



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