Classic car owners and off-road enthusiasts fear rust like nothing else. However, there’s no need to give in to fear as long as you’re informed and ready to take action.
With minor surface rust or scratches where rust is beginning to penetrate, repairing the blemish can be as simple as sanding, priming and painting. More severe corrosion damage such as body cancer holes in sheet metal or structural problems around openings like doors and windshield can also be repaired fairly simply by replacing sheet metal.
A little cutting and welding can do wonders in these cases. However, badly rusted items like trim pieces, rare or obsolete fasteners and hinges always present serious challenges.
Remember, It Never Sleeps
It’s often said by repair techs that “rust never sleeps.” With that in mind, it has to be a priority to consistently inspect and take decisive action whenever you find rust. Modern science and practical experience provide answers for every imaginable rust problem.
Rust removers like Evapo-Rust help by dissolving rust into particles that can be rinsed away. Rust encapsulators like POR-15 fix rusted areas that don’t totally cover a part by sealing the rusted area off from oxygen. However, these products don’t work on pieces that are completely covered with heavy rust.
When parts are very heavily rusted like this, there’s only one thing that’s really able to help. Rust converters, as the name implies, chemically change rust into another material that protects the part underneath. A rust converter like Corroseal is hands down the best solution when a part is badly rusted.
Experience a Conversion
It may seem incredible that something in a can could solve such a serious problem. Rust converters aren’t magic, although at times the results can seem miraculous. This kind of rust treatment is reserved for the most corroded parts and won’t work at all if the part or panel isn’t rusted enough.
Almost all rust converters, including Corroseal, use an acid in mild strengths to form a covalent bond with rust at the molecular level. This stabilizes ferrous oxide into an inert, gray-black substance called magnetite, preventing further corrosion. Magnetite is stable and won’t decay through corrosion. The other component is a transforming copolymer, a plastic substance applied in liquid form that transforms into a hard coating when exposed to the air. The polymer finish can be sanded, prepped and painted the same as if it were bare metal.
There are many different rust converters, including Corroseal and others like RCx427 and OSPHO, each having different formulations (here is more info about the best rust converters). What this means to you is varying levels of toxicity and the required protection to use each product. The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) recently studied several different rust converters.
Don’t Squeal, Corroseal
The NCPTT found that Skybryte’s OSPHO rust converter was “by far the most acidic rust converter of those tested” with a pH level of 0.08. Considering that a pH of 7.0 is considered neutral, anything with a pH of less than 1 certainly deserves a great deal of respect from the perspective of handling and protection. Instead of the usual polymer conversion, OSPHO uses dichromate primer as the carrier, which can be hazardous if welding on or near the treated areas. The NCPTT also found that OSPHO got significantly thinner over time through weathering.
For a less acidic converter, RCx427 from Enviro-Safe uses oxalic acid. The NCPTT notes that it was the least acidic converter in its study with a pH of 3.11. However, it’s thinned with ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is essentially antifreeze, meaning it’s quite hazardous for the environment when spilled. One last concern is that with such a low acidity, it may not perform quite as thorough a job.
Corroseal employs gallic acid, found freely in nature as a plant compound. The primary source for gallic acid is sumac bark. The polymer component in Corroseal is a latex compound, which is water based, making it much safer to handle and remove from your skin. It’s also much less harsh to the environment in case of spills, and much easier to clean up.
The NCPTT study found Corroseal to be one of the better performers in the course of its project. The surface coating remained essentially the same thickness through the course of the study, meaning good durability even when left unpainted. The high solid content of the latex polymer fills well on rough surfaces, meaning easy preparation for painting. Satisfied users report good results and easy application.
Rust Converting the Corroseal Way
To apply Corroseal:
Prepare the surface to be painted using a wire brush to remove loose rust, paint, flakes of rust and anything else that’s not rust. Wash completely with detergent or non-solvent degreaser and rinse thoroughly.
Use the product in a well-ventilated area and wear goggles while applying to avoid eye contact with splatters. Gloves aren’t necessary, but make cleaning up easier.
Now You’ve Done It
Corroseal not only changes your rust problem into a beautiful surface, eliminating corrosion, it also primes the surface so it can be painted as soon as it’s dry.
This rust converter is highly recommended by many user reports and the NCPTT.
I also highly recommend it myself, based on its ease of use, safety for the environment and easy cleanup. Corroseal isn’t the only product that converts rust to a usable surface, but it does an effective job in a common sense manner, with common sense ingredients and a minimum of fuss. You can’t go wrong with Corroseal.
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