A nice idea for all those who have to deal with rusty surfaces: Instead of painstakingly mechanically working the metal to rid it of all corrosion products, it is simply painted or sprayed with a rust converter.
This agent converts the porous, rusty areas into a stable surface such as an iron (III) compound. After that, the material can be painted over without any problems.
It does not flake off and no rust can eat through the new coating.
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What is a rust converter – and how does it work?
The rust converter transforms rust in such a way that a stable chemical compound is formed. In most cases, the resulting layer is a solid iron (III) compound that is virtually immune to further corrosion. This means, therefore, that the “rusting” of an iron object is stopped by the rust converter by forming a solid protective layer.
Without a rust converter, rust on iron surfaces would always have to be removed without residue in order to protect an object. Simply painting a coating onto a rusted surface would not be a sensible solution, because it would continue to “seethe” underneath. The result: the paint eventually flakes off, moisture and air penetrate, and corrosion continues.
Rust converters save the craftsman a lot of work. He no longer has to mechanically attack the rusting iron with all his strength and care before he can finally paint it. Nevertheless, all loose rust should disappear before treatment. Only the corrosion products that have firmly grown together with the iron surface should remain, otherwise, the surface that has just been restored will soon begin to deteriorate.
When should you use a rust converter?
If an iron part has already rusted through and lost its consistency or stability, no rust remover, rust solvent, or rust converter will be of any use. In that case, the object, unfortunately, belongs in the trash. A chemical rust converter is intended solely for superficial treatment. Its use makes sense when a layer of corrosion has formed on iron that is only a few millimeters thick. The core of the metal should still be intact.
Most products penetrate layers up to half a centimeter, because rust is very porous, and rust converter, as a rule, has a high creep capacity. Beyond that, it becomes difficult. If untreated rust is preserved in deeper layers, which usually also contain a little water, the surface will not remain stable in the long run. So only use your rust converter if it can penetrate the entire surface layer of rust. Remove all loose corrosion products, dirt and paint residue beforehand. Be sure to include a solid iron core that will reliably support and maintain your object.
The age of your rust layer does not matter, you can use a rust converter on fresh corrosion as well as on ancient rust. The chemical process is and remains the same.
Requirements for the use of the rust converter
- Best rust converterOnly on rusty iron.
- Not completely rusted through iron.
- Stable iron core must be included.
- Rust layer no more than 5 millimeters thick.
- Loose corrosion products removed.
- No dirt or paint residues.
- No grease on the surface.
- Rust may also be older.
Painting over the treated surface – the advantages and disadvantages
- Improved rust protection.
- More protection against moisture penetration.
- With filling and painting real “new” effect.
- Coloring according to personal taste possible.
- No special paint required, regular products are enough.
- The unpainted surface may not look nice.
- More costs due to increased material requirements.
- Several time-consuming work steps.
- Uneven surfaces have to be filled additionally.
- The metal surface disappears completely.
- Corrosion protection is already given by the rust converter alone.
- The unpainted surface may be more pleasing.
These types of rust converters are available
Let us now turn to the concrete application, this is done in different ways with rust converters. Accordingly, the products can be divided into different types, which are also suitable for various purposes:
- The rust converter spray is mainly suitable for processing larger surfaces. It can be applied quickly and easily, but always produces a spray mist that is not entirely non-toxic. Overhead work is difficult to perform with a spray, and spot spraying always involves a certain amount of scattering. Rust converter spray is available for purchase in convenient spray cans. However, you can also purchase liquid products, which you must first transfer to a spray gun.
- The rust converter pen is considered a true expert for small rust spots that require precise spot treatment. It contains only a few milliliters of material, but that is usually absolutely enough for this purpose. It is very difficult to treat large areas with this tool, but overhead work is extremely easy. This type of rust converter is often used for cars. However, other objects with mini-rust spots are also suitable for treatment with the pen.
- The liquid rust converter can be used in a variety of ways; it is usually suitable for spraying. However, you can also apply it with a brush or use a roller to create as much surface area as possible in a short time. The liquid creeps to all corners and, if all goes well, soaks the entire rust layer. With a fine brush, on the other hand, you can work very selectively and catch every little spot of rust. Choose the tool that best suits your needs.
Liquids can drip and splash. They like to form runners and then possibly damage adjacent surfaces. They may reach your skin or, in the worst case, your eyes or respiratory system. Protect yourself accordingly with gloves, respiratory protection, and safety goggles, and carefully tape off adjacent areas of the surface to be treated.
The rust converter gel is a viscous paste that sticks to the substrate after application. The substance has little tendency to drip, making it particularly suitable for use on vertical surfaces or even overhead. Usually, it is applied with a spatula and then spread with the help of a brush. The gel is suitable for neutralizing larger surfaces but also for selective use. However, it is difficult to treat corners and cavities that are difficult to reach with this agent.
Some rust converters have to be washed off after use, while others do not. Pay very close attention to the respective instructions for use and adhere to every single point. Substances that also serve as a primer for a subsequent coating must, of course, remain in place after exposure. They prove to be particularly practical.