How Can You Stop Rust?

Written by debbie tolle
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How Can You Stop Rust?
Stopping rust (rust image by sasha from Fotolia.com)

Iron oxide is the technical term for rust that forms as a result of water and iron coming in contact for prolonged periods of time. The oxygen atoms in water absorb electrons from the iron forming the chemical compound iron oxide, which is known as oxidation, or rust. Rust is like a disease; if it is not treated it will just keep on spreading. Fortunately, there is a way to stop rust, which is to stop the process of oxidation from occurring.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wire brush
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Auto body filler
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Plastic spreaders
  • All purpose 2 1/2-inch paintbrush
  • Airless paint sprayer
  • Rust converter

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Wire brush the entire surface of the rusted item to remove all loose and flaking pieces of rust. Sand with 150-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface. You do not have to sand all the way through the rust to bare metal. Use a dry paintbrush or rag to brush or wipe away the dust. When finished with sanding, fill holes with an auto body filler.

  2. 2

    Scoop a golf-ball sized amount of auto body filler onto a scrap piece of cardboard. Squeeze a nickel sized amount of cream hardener onto the filler. Mix thoroughly until the hardener and the filler become one solid colour. Spread the filler over small holes and allow the filler to dry. Apply a strip or strips of fibreglass mesh tape over larger holes and spread a light coat of filler over the tape. Allow the filler to dry and apply a second coat. Auto body filler will harden within 15 to 20 minutes, and can be sanded within 2 hours. Sand the filler with the 150-grit sandpaper.

  3. 3

    Apply a solid coat of rust converter with a paintbrush or roller. You can also spray it on large areas with an airless paint sprayer. Do not allow any rust to show through the converter. Allow the rust converter to dry according to the manufacturer's recommendations and apply a second coat if necessary. During the drying process, the rust will convert into black magnetite, which will no longer be affected by the oxidation process that creates rust. Use any topcoat of paint you desire, or just leave it black.

Tips and warnings

  • You can rent airless paint sprayers at some home remodelling centres and tool rental stores.

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