How to Stop Rust and Prevent Rust
Rust can quickly damage metal if not stopped right away. It has ruined countless automobiles over the years. Back in the day, I experienced the rusty death of my 1973 Camaro due to road salt. That was a hard lesson and made me realize rust is the enemy. It damages so many things made of ferrous metal like fasteners, wrought iron fences, storage tanks, and construction equipment just to name a few. But the enemy can be defeated. Let’s talk about how to stop rust.
Stop Rust from Forming
The best way to stop rust is to keep it from developing in the first place. That means keeping the metal separated from air, moisture, and corrosives like the previously mentioned evil road salt. With a little attention rust can often be avoided.
- Keep the metal coated with paint, oil, or rust preventative coatings that will keep air, moisture, and corrosives from reaching it.
- Keep surfaces clean. Wash off dirt, debris, road salt, and other contaminants. Be sure moisture holding debris is removed from where it can build up like nooks, recesses, and inside rocker panels. Be sure drain holes, designed to keep water from collecting in cavities and recesses, are not plugged.
- Touch up chips and scratches in the paint or protective coating right away before rust can take hold.
Can You Stop Rust Once It Starts?
A common question is “will rust stop if kept dry?”. In real world conditions keeping metal dry will slow down rust, but it won’t completely stop it. Think of those old, abandoned cars sitting exposed in the desert. They’re bone dry most all the time, but they do rust albeit very slowly. As previously mentioned, rust forms due to a chemical reaction between metal, oxygen, and water. Unless ALL water vapor in the air is removed, there will still be moisture to react with oxygen and the metal, causing rust.
“Can you stop rust from spreading?”
Once rust sets in it can be hard to stop. There are stopgap measures to slow it down a bit, like spraying on a rust penetrant like WD-40 to dissolve the rust down to bare metal. But it needs to be resprayed often to prevent further rust, as it can quickly wear off leaving the metal exposed to further rusting.
Immediately and properly using touch-up paint to fix chips and scratches which have begun to rust is important to keep it from spreading. Since rust starts forming as soon as metal is exposed, care must be taken to ensure any rust within the chip or scratch is removed before using touch-up paint. For the most effective results the repair should be made as soon as the damage is noticed.
The traditional way to stop rust on metal that has not been weakened or perforated is to sand, sandblast, or use rust remover to eliminate rust down to bare metal, and then follow up with an application of primer and top coat. However, there are those who seek other options to stop rust without sanding and refinishing, as it can be a labor intensive and skill intensive process especially if the area to be repaired is large.
A measure to stop rust once it has started, without sanding and refinishing the metal, is to use rust converter which is a chemical solution that can be directly applied to the rusted metal surface. KBS Rust Converter is formulated with phosphoric acid to convert rust into a ferric phosphate inert layer. Tannic acid in the converter then produces a protective bluish-black ferric tannate inert primer layer. The result is a tough coating that prevents further rusting. It can stand alone to protect against exterior weather conditions or be painted over for a better appearance.
Another simple way to stop rust while also getting an excellent finish is to use the KBS 3-Step Rust Prevention System. A major benefit is that rust does not have to be completely eliminated for the system to completely stop further rusting. The 3-Step System includes KBS Klean to thoroughly remove dirt, grease, grime, and other contaminants. Only loose, flaky rust needs to be removed before washing with KBS Klean. Removal can be done with sandpaper or a wire wheel or brush.
Next the surface is scrubbed down with RustBlast which effectively dissolves rust and corrosion from most metal surfaces. RustBlast also etches the metal for best adhesion of RustSeal rust preventative coating, which is the third step. It should also be noted RustBlast leaves a zinc phosphate coating that stops new rust from forming for up to 7 days, depending on environmental conditions. So, within that time period flash rusting won’t happen and the surface remains properly prepared for RustSeal.
RustSeal is impervious to road salts and most every chemical. It flows out to a beautiful, smooth, rock-hard, and tough ceramic-like coating that is hard to chip or scratch and will not crack or peel. What stops rust is that RustSeal seals the metal from moisture and oxygen, and without those present metal can’t rust.
How you choose to stop rust depends on how effectively you want to stop the rust in the long-term, the amount of labor you want to put into the project, and the quality of the final finish you want to achieve. The KBS 3-Step Rust Prevention System stops rust, is easy to use, and provides a beautiful final finish.