How to Make Rusty Metal Look New

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Rust is a chemical process that gradually destroys the structural integrity of certain metals. Returning rusty metal to a like-new condition is often easier than you might think. Doing this can save a lot of money, and improve the look and function of the components of your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper or a vibrating sander
  • Naval jelly or rust restorer
  • Spray paint
  • Masking tape

Evaluate the rusted item you are considering for restoration. If the metal is rusted all the way through, then restoring it may not be an option. If the metal item is attached to a wall or other structure of the house consider removing it if this is practical. It is hard to sand or paint an item if it is attached to something else.

Sand off as much of the rust as possible. Decide in advance if fine, medium or coarse sandpaper is more appropriate, depending upon the amount of rust, and how delicate the item is that you are working on. You will not be able to get all of the rust off, but the surface should be smooth to the touch once you are finished.

Apply naval jelly or rust restorer to the metal once it has been thoroughly sanded. Be careful not to get the substance on your skin. These products change the chemical composition of rusted metal, strengthening the metal and preventing the rusting process from continuing. Consult the instructions for how long to let it dry. This time will vary depending upon the amount of rust you are dealing with.

Set the object on newspaper and mask any surfaces that you do not want to paint, using tape.

Spray paint the item with enamel paint of the desired color, and allow to dry. Your item should look brand new and should not be vulnerable to rust for a long time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear work gloves to prevent getting the rust treatment product on you skin.
  • Wear goggles to prevent getting paint in your eyes
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