Ways to Prevent Rust

Rust is a big problem. When the telltale orange-brown stains show up on your equipment, vehicles and metal buildings, you’re likely to have to repair or replace the item. Rust eats away at metal, reducing its stability and ability to bear weight. It forms when water, iron and oxygen react, although it can form when acid, salt and chemicals are present as well. As the rust eats away at the metal, it flakes and exposes more iron. Eventually, it will eat through the entire piece of metal.

The best way to deal with rust is to prevent it from forming in the first place. The better you’re able to protect your metal items, the less likely you’ll have to deal with costly and expensive repairs. Here are our best tips for rust prevention:

  • Keep dry: Water is the way most rust forms. Water and iron combine to create iron oxide, the chemical name for rust. If you’re in a humid environment or typically see a lot of moisture around your metal machinery, buildings and tools, it’s important that you keep them as dry as possible. Dehumidifiers in buildings are useful for keeping machinery and smaller objects dry. For larger things like buildings, the other tips in this list might be more helpful.
  • Add a protective coating: Because iron and moisture must be combined to create rust, one of the best ways to avoid it is to make sure that no moisture touches the metal underneath. Protective coatings like powder coating, paint and bluing are all popular ways to keep water off the metal. For small items like tools, there are protective sprays and wipes you can use to keep corrosion at bay.
  • Consider galvanized metal: Metal is galvanized by coating it with liquid zinc. It gives it a protective barrier, which is effective even when scratched—zinc will automatically form zinc oxide over the exposed metal, which prevents it from corroding. Galvanized metal is a good building material.
  • Use stainless steel: Stainless steel is an iron alloy that uses chromium. When the metal is scratched or exposed, chromium is reactive and forms a coating over the metal underneath, ensuring that it’s protected from oxygen. Even though the alloy contains iron, there’s very little chance of it ever corroding.
  • Beware of scratches: Surface damage is what allows rust to form—they trap water and expose new metal, letting rust spread further. Keep objects that could scratch the metal away.
  • Keep up with your maintenance: When you see rust forming, scrape it off and wash with warm water and soap. Then add a protective coating or metal conditioner to keep it from spreading or forming again.

Keeping your structures safe and avoiding rust is easy when you get your buildings painted. Great Western Painting offers commercial and industrial painting, specializing in water towers and other large structures. Protect your investment with a fresh paint job. Reach out to us today to learn more about how to prevent rust and get a quote.

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