How to Fix Pitting in Metal Before Painting


When left unchecked, rust will form on the surface of unprotected ferrous metals. Overtime, rust will eat through the metal and create pits. Pitting not only ruins a new paint job; it will eventually create rust holes. Repairing metal pitting with the correct material will improve the finish look of a paint job while stopping the weakening of the metal. Although welding or soldering white metal will repair pitting, both processes require specialized equipment, and there's an easier way to solve the problem.

Things You'll Need

  • 80-grit flapper wheel
  • Grinder
  • Wire wheel
  • Degreasing cleaner
  • Rag
  • Body filler
  • Small board
  • Cream hardener
  • Plastic squeegee
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Secure an 80-grit flapper wheel to a grinder. Sand the pitted metal with the flapper wheel until no rust or old paint remains on its surface. Remove the flapper wheel.

  • Attach a wire wheel to the arbor of the grinder. Wire wheel the entire surface of the metal to remove debris from the metal pits.

  • Spray degreasing cleaner on the surface of the metal. Wipe the metal vigorously with a rag. Allow the area to dry for five to 10 minutes.

  • Pour body filler on a clean small board. Read the body filler directions to determine the correct amount of cream hardener needed for the body filler. Add the hardener to the body filler. Mix the two components until they combine to form one solid color.

  • Apply the mixed filler to the surface of the metal with a plastic squeegee. Pull the squeegee across the metal until only a thin layer of filler remains on the metal. Allow the filler to cure for 45 minutes to an hour.

  • Sand the body filler with 400-grit sandpaper until it only remains inside the pits, and the surface of the metal is smooth. Wipe the dust from the metal with a clean rag before painting.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling filler dust while sanding.

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