How to protect bare metal from rust before painting

This blog post will answer the question, “How to rustproof bare metal before painting?” and covers topics like how to treat bare metal before painting, different ways of removing rust from bare metal, and frequently asked questions.

How to protect bare metal from rust before painting?

To protect bare metal from rust before painting, follow the steps given below:

  • Using a 50/50 mixture of phosphoric acid and filtered water, spray them. 
  • This keeps rust-free for years if stored indoors. 
  • Then apply epoxy primer.
  • Before epoxy priming, wipe off the powdery residue.

How to treat bare metal before painting?

In order to maintain the accuracy and lifespan of metal coatings, proper surface maintenance is needed. Even some of the most advanced metal coating techniques will fail if they are not properly prepared. 

Consider the next five stages to prepare metal for paint if you want to make your first metal painting project a triumph.

  • Make sure the area is clean
  • Eliminate any flaking or broken paint
  • Remove rust
  • Small dings and fractures should be repaired
  • The area should be primed

I will now elaborate on the guidance given above.

Make sure the area is clean:

Steps of cleaning metal:

  • Clean excess oil with natural solvents and prime new metal parts with a corrosion-inhibitive primer before painting. 
  • Remove the dirt with a dry, clean rag, de-gloss the area with moderate sandpaper, and wash with natural solvents to guarantee good adherence for painted surfaces in excellent condition. 
  • Rinse areas with a gentle cleanser solution or a commercially available product designed for washing painted surfaces to eliminate stubborn grime.
Materials Needed
Clean Rag
Rust-inhibitive primer

Here’s a highly recommended cleaner:

Clorox Commercial Solutions Formula 409 Cleaner

Why you should buy this cleaner?

  • This disinfecting cleanser cuts away grime and sanitizes metal surfaces.
  • This cleanser from Clorox Commercial Solutions is perfect for professional kitchens, institutions, workplace meeting rooms, and educational establishments.

Eliminate any flaking or broken paint: 

Steps of eliminating flaking paint:

  • You can eliminate the previous paint by manually wire scrubbing, sanding, or scratching if it’s in bad shape. 
  • Because these procedures are time-consuming and frequently fail to produce the desired results, many professionals prefer power equipment cleanup, which can swiftly and efficiently erase broken paint. 
  • Tools, on the other hand, have the ability to smooth metal parts, potentially producing paint adherence issues.
Material Needed
Bristle brush
Scrubbing pads

Remove Rust:

When prepping metal for painting, it’s critical to inspect for corrosion to ensure that the paint adheres correctly to the metal. 

Steps of removing rust:

  • Clean up scattered rust with a brush, scrape the area, then use a high-quality corrosion-inhibitive primer to recover lightly damaged metal parts to their previous state (e.g. Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer). 
  • Rust-inhibitive primers, also termed rust converters, could be used to repair corroded places and transform them into non-rusting surfaces.
Materials Needed
Wire Brush
Rust Converter

Here’s a top recommended Rust Converter:

Corroseal-82320 Water-Based Rust Converter

Why you should buy this Rust Converter?

  • Repair metal parts and preserve metal apparatus from corroding to prolong its life.
  • All maritime, automobile, ordinary domestic, and industrial uses can benefit from this product.

Small dings and fractures should be repaired:

Steps of filling dings and cracks:

  • Scratch the area until it becomes bare metal, then clean it off with a degreaser combined with natural solvents to fix cracks and dings. 
  • Infuse a suitable epoxy-based compound straight into the opening or ding for minor gaps and dings. 
  • Add epoxy filler to the hole’s border, cut a piece of fiberglass mesh 1 inch wider than the opening, and push it into the filler for larger gaps. 
  • Then, moving from the border toward the center of the opening, seal the mesh with adhesive.
Materials NeededTools Needed
Epoxy FillerScrubbing Pad 
DegreaserBristle brush

Here’s a top recommended degreaser:

Oil Eater AOD1G35437 Original 1 Gallon Cleaner/Degreaser

Benefits of this degreaser:

Safely eliminates grime and oils on almost any surface; it has no acids, abrasives, or hydrocarbon solvents, and is water-based and recyclable, making it suitable for all applications, including sewage systems.

The area should be primed:

Priming is an essential process in prepping metal for painting, particularly if it’ll be exposed to water. The kind of metal to be covered, as well as the intended aesthetic, performance criteria, and ecological factors, should all be taken into account when choosing the correct primer. 

For starters, water-based (rubbers) primers should not be used on metallic surfaces since dampness can soak through it and lead paint to degrade in days or weeks. Rust converters and galvanized metal primers are the two forms of metallic primers recommended by experts.

While a corrosion converter is great for stopping corrosion and making a corroded surface smoother to paint, a galvanized priming is suitable for metals (such as aluminum) that resist paint adhesion. Metal oxide and zinc chromate primers are also available, which could be used on a variety of metal substrates, including indoor and outdoor iron.

It’s critical to prime the surface right after washing it to avoid grit or debris gathering and quick corrosion (rust that develops in a matter of hours).

Here’s a top recommended rust-inhibitive primer:

Rust Converter and Primer

Benefits of Rust Converter and Primer:

  • The most effective approach to remove corrosion from metal.
  • Rust is chemically converted and transformed into a paintable condition in only a single step.
  • Automobile maintenance, commercial, agricultural, maritime, construction, and domestic applications all benefit from this product.

Different ways to protect bare metal from rusting before painting?

There are several common methods for protecting bare metal from rusting:

  • Topping with powder
  • Electroplating
  • Galvanizing
  • Bluing
  • Cover the surface with a dry coat

I will now elaborate on the guidance given above:

Topping with powder:

Powder coating metal surfaces can help prevent them from rusting.

However, while powder-coating offers long-term durability, it is not impervious to the effects of the weather. As a result, while powder-coated metal does not rust, it can deteriorate if the powder coating dissolves.

Benefits of powder coating:

  • The powder coating produces a layer that prevents rust and other sorts of deterioration. Powder coating creates a strong barrier that prevents the metal from rusting.
  • Powder coating on practically any sort of metal provides customers, organizations, and corporations with one of the most cost-effective and long-lasting finishes available. 
  • Powder finishes are more resistant to cracking, peeling, and discoloration.


Electroplating is the method of applying a metal coating to surfaces electrically. By adding a fine, extremely durable coating to a surface, electroplating acts as a protective barrier that reduces friction and prevents corrosion while also preserving it from damage.

Why Use Electroplating in the First Place?

  • Electroplating makes your element more immune to fading and rusting by covering it in a less conductive material. 
  • If the base metal is brittle, it can also boost heat resistance and make the component stronger against impacts and tremors.
  • By coating them with nickel, you can make your elements move more readily across neighboring surfaces without warming or scratching.
  • Electroplating is sometimes utilized as a transition between both the core material and the outer layer. This aids the outer coating’s adhesion to the substrate.
Materials Needed
Two different metals
An electrolytic solution


The procedure of putting a protective zinc layer to metal to avoid corrosion is known as galvanizing). The most popular procedure is hot-dip galvanizing, which involves immersing steel parts in liquid zinc metal. 

Galvanizing prevents rusting in several ways:

  • It serves as a deterrent, preventing corrosive chemicals from penetrating the steel or iron beneath.
  • The zinc acts as an anode material, meaning that if the covering is damaged, the bare metal is still shielded by the zinc that remains.
  • Because zinc corrodes earlier iron, it preserves its base metal.
  • The exterior of the zinc interacts with the environment to generate a dense, adhering varnish that is impermeable in rainwater. 
Materials required for Galvanizing
Molten Zinc
Bare Metal


How bluing controls rust?

  • Bluing metals result in the formation of a new covering that is comparable to rust but far less harmful. 
  • Blueing forms a thin layer of magnetite, commonly known as black iron oxide, on metals, giving them a dark-colored look.

Extreme temps and a salt solution are frequently used to blue anything. This method is often used to preserve guns against rusting at a low cost. Blueing is most effective when the metal is also lubricated on a regular basis. 

Cover the surface with a dry coat:

Some chemicals are designed to keep corrosion away. A corrosion prevention dry coating is perfect for steel elements that need to keep clean or provide a good grip. Dry coating corrosion preventatives, such as ARMOR’s Dry Coat Rust Preventative, can be applied in a variety of ways, including spraying, dipping, and washing.

The passive layer will be in place after they have dried. Because the material will not change in appearance and its applications will not change.

Here is some top-recommended dry coating:

T-9 Rust Inhibitor

Benefits of T-9 Rust Inhibitor:

  • Expels humidity, pushes out dust and obsolete oils, and permeates moving components.
  • It dries to a fine, sticky coating that lasts months on the metal surface.

303 Marine Corrosion Coat

Benefits of 303 Marine Corrosion Coat:

  • Resistant To Moisture And Saltwater
  • Light, dry consistency
  • Corrosion is stopped and prevented when it comes into contact with it

Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs), “ How to rustproof bare metal before painting?”

How do you treat the rust before painting?

A smooth towel soaked with a homemade rust remover solution—four tablespoons liquid detergent dissolved in one liter of heated water by a “wash” with a liquid towel is all that’s required. Allow the metal to thoroughly dry before applying the primer.

How do you seal metal rust?

You can seal metal rust by following the steps given below:

  • After a moderate brushing and cleaning, use a brush to apply a corrosion inhibitor or a corrosion neutralizer spray from a can. 
  • It will fix the corrosion and generate a durable polymer coating that is primed and prepared to paint. 
  • Since the corrosion neutralizer sets in about 20 minutes, you can get to work immediately.

Can you paint over rust without sanding?

Paint on the metallic surfaces can blister, fracture, and flake as a result of humidity, warmth, and environmental exposure. You can paint on corrosion to prevent recurrence without having to remove all of the corrosion from the metallic surface.

Does primer prevent rust?

Priming is essential for avoiding corrosion in metal coatings. These will not only stop corrosion from growing but will also remove any rust that has already been found on the surface. 

Many of our primers have anti-rust qualities. They will either prevent corrosion from clinging to the metal or kill it.

How do you prepare rusted metal for painting?

Eliminate oil with natural solvents and prime new metal areas with a corrosion-inhibitive primer before painting. Remove the dirt with a dry, clean rag, de-gloss the area with moderate sandpaper, and clean with natural solvents to guarantee good adherence for painted surfaces in excellent condition.

Will polyurethane prevent rust on metal?

Although polyurethane clear coatings are effective at avoiding corrosion, the outside decoration can be subjected to accidents that harm the surface and reveal metal to the environment. Clean your object and put a protective covering of polyurethane after you’ve brought it back to the original metal.


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