The Best Way to Refinish a Rusty Truck Frame

The Best Way to Refinish a Rusty Truck Frame

If you have a rusty car or truck frame that you want to refinish and restore, you might be wondering what is the best way to go about doing the restoration. Customers contact us all day long with just that question. RustSeal or KBS Rust Converter? They wonder what the difference is between the RustSeal or KBS Rust Converter and which option would be the best way to refinish a rusty truck frame.

What is RustSeal?

RustSeal is a rust preventive coating with a finish quality that is smooth and looks a lot like a ceramic coating. RustSeal is extremely hard and durable yet is flexible to avoid chips, scratches, cracks, and peeling. RustSeal is available in many color options. RustSeal is an incredible permanent solution for rust prevention.

How Does RustSeal Work?

Exposed metal + moisture + oxygen = rust. RustSeal works by separating metal from moisture and oxygen. RustSeal can be applied to bare, rust-free metal or be applied directly to treated rust to encapsulate and stop rust. RustSeal is a coating that is made to grab onto the metal and stay put to form a permanent and non-porous barrier against moisture and oxygen. This strong adhesion combined with RustSeal’s flexibility allows RustSeal to take severe impacts without chipping and cracking, which preserves the barrier against moisture and oxygen. These qualities make RustSeal a great coating to refinish a rusty truck frame that might see hard off-road use.

How Do You Apply RustSeal?

Proper preparation is the key to getting the best adhesion of RustSeal when refinishing a rusty truck frame. KBS Coatings has put together an all-inclusive, three-step system to clean, prep, and seal the metal for the best results.

Step 1: KBS Klean

After removing loose, flaky rust with sandpaper, scotch brite pad, or a wire wheel, the next step in refinishing a rusty truck frame is to use KBS Klean to clean the surface. KBS Klean is mixed with warm water and the surface is washed down with the KBS Klean solution. Using a scrub pad or bristle brush gives the best results. When finished the cleaner is rinsed off with water. KBS Klean is a powerful, concentrated cleaner that works great to remove dirt, grease, and grime. Details for using KBS Klean can be found HERE.

Step 2: RustBlast

Next RustBlast is used to neutralize any remaining rust, and to provide the best adhesion for RustSeal, RustBlast etches the surface and leaves a dusting of zinc phosphate. RustBlast is sprayed directly on room temperature or above metal and kept wet for at least 30 minutes, or longer depending on the extent of existing rust. During this time the surface can be scrubbed with a scrub pad. Keep in mind when refinishing a rusty truck frame that RustSeal can encapsulate treated rust, so it’s not necessary to remove every bit of rust. When done, the metal is rinsed with water and thoroughly dried. Details for using RustBlast can be found HERE.

Step 3: RustSeal

Now that metal is prepped it is time for RustSeal. Keep in mind, RustSeal can be brushed or rolled on, as well as be applied with simple spray equipment. Whatever the method of application, it is important to apply RustSeal in thin covering coats allowing approximately 2-6 hours dry time between each. This is so RustSeal cures properly. RustSeal is moisture cured, meaning moisture in the air helps it cure. The higher the humidity, the quicker it cures. Detail Directions for using RustSeal can be found HERE.

Rust Prevention

What is Rust Converter?

KBS Rust Converter is a convenient aerosol spray compromised of tannic acid that transforms iron oxide (rust) into a bluish-black ferric tannate inert primer layer that is resistant to moisture. KBS Rust Converter kills existing rust and stops new rust from forming.

How Do You Apply Rust Converter?

KBS Rust Converter is designed for use on rust, but not on non-rusty surfaces or surfaces where there is a mix of rusty areas and non-rusty areas.

Surface Preparation for Rust Converter

  • Remove as much loose flaky rust as possible with a wire wheel or sandpaper.
  • If needed, wash the surface with KBS Klean mixed with warm water and the surface is washed down with solution. Using a scrub pad or bristle brush gives the best results.
  • Rinse the surface with water and dry thoroughly.

Rust Converter Application

  • Spray KBS Rust Converter with steady even strokes 8 to 12 inches from the surface.
  • A chemical reaction will cause the rust to turn black.
  • KBS Rust Converter will be dry to the touch in about 10 minutes, and a full cure takes place in about 24 hours. Thick coats may take a little longer.
  • If a second coat needs to be applied, wait 24 hours for the first coat to dry.
  • Details for using KBS Rust Converter can be found HERE.
KBS Rust Converter - Rust Primer - Stops Existing Rust

Top Coating Rust Converter

While KBS Rust Converter can stand alone, KBS Rust Converter also acts as an excellent primer for oil, acrylic, and epoxy-based paints. If our customer chose to use KBS Rust Converter to refinish their rusted truck frame, they can top coat KBS Rust Converter with something like BlackTop for a better appearance.

What’s BlackTop?

BlackTop is a single stage, high performance, moisture cured, one-part UV stable coating with a beautiful black finish. BlackTop is a high-performance protective coating that is ideal for top coating surfaces previously sealed with any paint or primer system. Also, BlackTop can also be applied directly to bare metal without need for primer.

Surface Prep for BlackTop

BlackTop Application

  • BlackTop can be applied with a brush, roller, or simple spray equipment.
  • Apply 1-2 thin coats.
  • Re-coating can be done once the previous coat of BlackTop is dry-to-touch and does not leave a fingerprint and prior to 24 hours. If you go more than 24 hours, it is best to lightly scuff the previous cured coat of BlackTop with 320 grit or a green scotch-brite pad.
  • Full cure for BlackTop is 48 hours.
  • Details for using BlackTop can be found HERE.
BlackTop - Single Stage 1K Coating - Brush Roll or Spray - UV Stable Top Coat

What’s Better: Rust Converter or RustSeal?

Benefits of Using KBS Rust Converter When Refinishing a Rusty Truck Frame

  • Saves labor time since preparation is minimal and application is quick.
  • Transforms rust into a hard and paint-able primer layer.
  • Stops rust.
  • Convenience of Aerosol. (That said, RustSeal can be reduced and sprayed with the Preval Sprayer Kit.)

Benefits of Using RustSeal When Refinishing a Rusty Truck Frame

  • Longer lasting permanent protection than Rust Converter. Designed to last the life of the vehicle.
  • Extremely durable, flexible, and keeps metal sealed.
  • Encapsulates and permanently stops rust.
  • Works on lightly rusted and non-rusty bare surfaces.
  • Can be used for preemptive rust protection.
  • Beautiful smooth finish as compared to Rust Converter’s coarse surface texture. Looks like powder-coating but with ultimate durability and flexibility unlike powder-coating.

So, what is the Best Option for Refinishing a Rusty Truck Frame?

For the ultimate longest lasting rust protection, we always recommend RustSeal and first preparing the surface with KBS Klean and RustBlast. KBS Rust Converter is good for use on completely rusted surfaces and will stop the existing rust, but RustSeal will provide the longest lasting protection when refinishing a rusty truck frame.