Rusted Metals

Are rust stains ruining the look of your building?

Rusted metal, including weathered steel and Corten, is a rising trend in architecture and art. Architects all over the world are embracing rust-weathered steel to enhance the patina. Unfortunately, rusted metal can cause stains that drip onto areas under the metal. Everbrite Protective Coating seals rusted metal to prevent further rusting and prevents the rust drip and staining problems.

Do you like the way that rusted metal looks on your sculpture or architectural feature but hate the way that rust stains?

Benefits for Rusted metals

Everbrite™ and ProtectaClear® Coatings provide the following benefits to rusted metal :

  • Eliminates staining of surrounding areas from unsightly runoff and stains. Rusty drips on other substrates can ruin the look of a building.
  • Eliminates transfer of rust to people (hands & clothing).
  • Helps to extend the life of the steel by sealing out moisture that can cause further corrosion.
  • Gives the surface a more finished, purposeful look.
  • Excellent adhesion on naturally or artificially rusted surfaces.
  • Everbrite™ and ProtectaClear® are self annealing and will blend to itself as further coats are applied to create complete protection.
  • Everbrite™ and ProtectaClear® are available in a clear Natural Gloss finish or a Satin finish.
  • Everbrite™ and ProtectaClear® will seal moisture out of rusted metal to help prevent further corrosion and will prevent rust stains. 

Rusted Metal Projects in New Zealand


Rusted Metal Sculpture sealed and protectedshow



Which Coating for rusted metals ? – Everbrite or Protectaclear

Everbrite™ coating is suitable for most rusted metal and mild steel projects. It is thicker and works well with porous metals like naturally rusted metal, corten or other steels. 

For certain rusted metal projects ProtectaClear® is needed for rusted metal countertops, sinks, or any surface that gets a lot of high use or abuse which will require the hardness of ProtectaClear®. ProtectaClear® is thinner, so additional coats will likely be needed.

Which finish – Natural Gloss or Satin?

The clear formula of Everbrite™ or ProtectaClear® can be glossy on rusted or on dark colored metals. Once it is coated, the metal will look like it does when it is wet. The Satin formula can be put on to reduce the shine if the original is too glossy. The Satin finish has a sheen but not a shine. If Natural Gloss has been used but a lower sheen finish is desired, we recommend the Satin finish of Everbrite for the final coat(s).

How to Seal Rusted Metal and Prevent Staining

  • Rusted metal is porous so care must be taken to ensure that the metal is completely clean and dry. Blooming (raised) rust should be knocked down and a solvent used to help remove contaminants like grease or oils. The solvent will also help draw out moisture because coating and sealing moisture in the pores of metal can cause failure of any coating.
  • The metal MUST be completely dry before applying the coating.
  • If an acid based compound has been used to assist with the rusting process then the metal will need to be neutralised and thoroughly rinsed off with clean water and then dried well (bone dry) before solvent wiping. 
  • As raw steel or rusted metals are so porous 3 to 4+ coats are recommended with the first coat requiring extra coating than normal
  • Everbrite™ and ProtectaClear® will seal the metal and it will look great for years and can be maintained indefinitely. 

Link to full instruction sheet – printable copy

Ongoing Cleaning and Maintenance

Do NOT use solvent or citrus based cleaners or abrasives to clean coated metal.
Do NOT use cleaners with petroleum distillates.
Suggested cleaner: Mild soap and water.

Once coated the coating is easy to maintain. Perform a rust transference test after the last coat has dried, and periodically thereafter to check if/when recoating is needed.

See photo at right: Wipe with a damp cloth to remove dirt and residue, dry well, and recoat. Longevity between recoats is dependent on adequate application (coating thickness and number of coats) the environment, and general use and abuse.


How can I rust metal on purpose?  Some people recommend rusting metal with dangerous chemicals like muratic acid, sulphuric acid or combinations of chemicals. This is not only dangerous to your health but can damage other items as well. One inexpensive way to rust metal on purpose is to spray vinegar and hydrogen peroxide separately on the metal. (any kind will do – the cheaper the better). First, make sure the metal is clean, remove all millscale and any oil or dirt. You can sandblast the metal or use Scotchbrite pads to clean the surface. Spray the vinegar on the clean metal. Using a separate sprayer, apply hydrogen peroxide over the vinegar right away. Do this several times a day and your metal will get rusty. Make sure to neutralize the acid from the surface and rinse well. Then, let the metal dry completely, solvent wipe and apply Everbrite.

How many coats do I need to apply? Rusted metal is very porous. The amount of Everbrite necessary to encapsulate the rust will depend on the depth of the rust. Using a Prep Pad or other slightly abrasive pad can remove raised rust or thick rust and this will help to smooth out the metal but will still look rusted. Enough coatings must be applied on the rusted metal to encapsulate the rust. Normally, 3 to 4 coats of Everbrite are applied but if the rust is thick, it will take additional coats. Test to see if enough coating is applied by wiping with a clean cloth after the coating is completely dry. If rust comes off on the cloth, additional Everbrite should be applied.

How do I clean and prep the metal for the coating? Everbrite is easy to apply. Clean the surface and apply Everbrite. It is best NOT to use any water while cleaning. Use solvent like denatured alcohol (meths or acetone) to clean the surface. This will also help to draw out any moisture in the porous metal. The rusted metal MUST be completely clean and DRY. Everbrite can be painted on with a brush, sprayed on or rolled on with a microfibre roller. Three to four plus (4+) coats are recommended on rusted metal because the metal is very porous and will absorb the coating. The first coat must be applied with a brush or roller to ensure that the coating is worked well into the pores of the metal. Subsequent coats can be sprayed.

What if I am not sure which sheen I want? If you are unsure, we would recommend purchasing a small container of both the Natural Gloss finish and the Satin finish of Everbrite. Clean the metal and apply 2 coats of the clear formulation first. Let it dry and see if you like the finish. If so, add another coat of the clear finish. If it is too shiny, you can then apply the Satin finish over the top of the Everbrite that has already been applied. If you do not open the Satin finish can, you can return it for a refund or a credit to more Everbrite to finish your project.(meths or acetone)

Trouble shooting

What will happen if you do not adhere to the instructions?
Failure to adhere to the instructions will result in having to remove the coating and start again.


Shows what will happen when instructions are not adhered to. 

Shows the surface after removing with wire brush ready for recoating.

  • Common causes when the coating lifts and/or where there is water ingress and an ‘oil slick’ appearance occurs
  • Too much rust bloom – the raised rust and ‘pimples’needed to be knocked back for a smoother surface. 
  • The metal is not completely dry – Climatic conditions can affect how dry the metal is. Recent rain, humidity and cold weather can all cause the metal to retain moisture. When the fixtures are outside it is strongly recommended that the surface it dried with a heat gun prior to the solvent wipe. Ensure the metal cools down afterwards before the solvent wipe.
  • Failed to solvent wipe – A solvent wipe is required with meths, xylene or acetone (nothing else) immediately before the first coat is applied. This helps with the adherence of the coating and draws out any hidden moisture sitting in the pores in the metal.
  • Not enough coats were applied – At least 3 to 4 thick coats are required for rusted metal items when located outside in all weather conditions. Failure to completely seal the rust will allow water ingress. Some rusted metal surfaces can take more than the srandard 3 or 4 coat coverage.
  • Each of the coats were not thickly enough applied – The first coat should be brushed or rolled on to ensure that the coating adheres well into the pores of the metal. Ensure that subsequent coats are rolled on lightly with a thick coating, without pulling off the previous coat. 

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How to rectify. 

You need to remove the coating that has trapped moisture under it, which has not adhered properly.
There are three ways you can remove the coating:

  1. Remove the coating with Xylene solvent; or
  2. Clean off the coating with a wire brush; or
  3. Sand off or Sandblast off

Just before reapplication of the first coat ensure to solvent wipe with xylene, meths or acetone.
Apply adequate number of coats and do a rust transference test to determine if further coats are required. 
Undertake a rust transference test periodically to see when a maintenance coat is required.