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How to Seal Rusted Metal to Prevent Stains and Drips

Everbrite Coating will seal rusted metal to prevent drips and staining of adjacent surfaces and is suitable for most rusted metal projects. It is thicker and offers more protection than ProtectaClear and works well with porous metals like naturally rusted metal, corten or other steel.  See Rusted Metal Projects here


For rusted metal projects that get a lot of abuse like countertops, sinks or other high-touch metals use ProtectaClear®.  High-touch rusted metals require the hardness of ProtectaClear®.  CrobialCoat® is recommended for high-touch surfaces where antimicrobial protection is desired. ProtectaClear® and CrobialCoat are thinner, so additional coats will likely be needed when using either on rusted metal.

5 Basic Steps

1. Neutralize Acids (only if acid has been applied) 

2. Smooth (if needed)

3. Dry Completely

4. Solvent Wipe

5. Apply Coating **If chemically rusting, remove any mill scale or oil prior to rusting.


Thorough preparation is very important. If you try to take shortcuts on preparation, you will likely not achieve the intended results and may need to remove the coating and start again. Everbrite Coatings can be removed with solvents like xylene.


If the metal was just artificially rusted with acids, neutralize the acid to stop the rusting process. Use EZ Prep Cleaner & Neutralizer in a solution of 1 part EZ Prep to 4 parts water. As an alternative, use 1 cup baking soda mixed with 1 gallon of water (or a similar ratio). Be careful to cover the entire surface at least once. Wipe, pour or spray the neutralizing solution on the surface being careful to completely neutralize. Rinse twice clean water.   If acids were not used to rust the metal, this step is not necessary and it is best not to wet the surface with water.  The surface must be completely dry to coat. 


Smooth, the rough rusted metal. The thicker the rust, the more coating it will take to seal it. Remove any loose, flaking or blooming rust. Prep Pads or synthetic steel wool pads work well to remove excess rust and to smooth the metal. (Do not use steel wool pads; use synthetic steel wool only.) A soft brush can also be used to remove loose rust.


It is essential that the rusted metal be completely dry before coating. Rusted metal is porous and can hold moisture that can interfere with good adhesion. Even when the metal appears dry, it can still hold moisture. Moisture trapped in the metal can cause spots to appear under the coating.

Warming the metal with heat guns, hairdryers, or extra time in the sun will help trapped moisture evaporate prior to the application of the coating.


Being cautious not to affect your patina, wipe, pour, or spray the metal with denatured alcohol or acetone to remove any traces of residue and to help dry the surface. The solvents dry quickly and help to remove moisture from the metal. This step needs to be done immediately before coating. Do NOT dilute or rinse the solvent. Skipping this step will result in poor adhesion of the coating. (Solvent not included in kits – available at hardware stores)


Satin finishes and CrobialCoat® require shaking before each use to distribute additional properties throughout the coating. Let sit a minute or two before use allowing bubbles to dissipate.  Failure to mix well before you start and frequently throughout the application period may result in a streaky and uneven finish with Satin products and improper distribution of antimicrobial properties in CrobialCoat. (There is NO requirement to shake or mix the clear finish.) Do NOT thin the coatings.

Allow for adequate ventilation. Use eye protection. For personal protection, always wear nitrile or chemical-resistant gloves when applying the coating. If spraying with an HVLP or airless sprayer, a NIOSH respirator is recommended.

Our coatings are solvent-based and will melt rubber and soft plastics. Use nitrile gloves or chemical-resistant gloves as rubber gloves will become sticky. Use glass or metal when pouring coating into another container. Use a natural bristled brush for a brush application (no synthetics).

  1. Pour the coating into clean, dry metal or glass pan.

  2. The first coat should be rolled on: Use a small diameter high-density foam roller or smooth microfiber roller. Rusted metal is very porous, it is important to get a good first coat on the metal using the roller with moderate pressure to ensure full penetration of the coating into the porous surface.

  3. Submerge the applicator completely into the coating. Gently squeeze out just the excess. Applicator should be saturated but not dripping. This is important as dry areas in the applicator can cause streaks.

  4. Applicator should roll smoothly. When it starts showing resistance, dip the applicator again. If you get drips, simply smooth them out before the coating starts to dry.

    Observe the coating while applying: if the coating separates or does not look completely smooth, STOP and re-clean the surface. Other chemicals present on the surface can cause separation and need to be removed completely. Once removed, complete Steps 2 (Solvent Wipe) and 3 (Completely Dry) again. Repeat “Application” steps.

    Let dry one hour or until it is completely dry before applying the next coat.

  5. Second and Subsequent Coats: Use a recommended roller, natural-bristled paintbrush or paint sprayer with a fine-finish tip. Apply subsequent coats to the surface using light pressure, letting the applicator “glide” across the surface. The applicator should glide smoothly.

  6. Let the coating dry completely. It will self-level as it dries. Everbrite Coatings are self-annealing; meaning the second coat will become part of the first coat. Wait at least one hour between coats or until the previous coat is completely dry.

  7. Due to the porous nature of rusted metal and the varying degree of rust, three (3) or more
    coats will be required for most rusted metals. Very smooth Corten could be sealed with two good coats.  After the third coat is completely dry, run a clean dry white cloth over the coated surface, if any rust transfer is present on the cloth, additional coating is needed. Apply additional coats, testing with a clean dry white cloth after each coat is dry, until there is no transference of rust onto the cloth.


DRY & CURE TIME: The coating will be dry in an hour (several coats may take longer). Dry coating is still delicate until cured. Heat and air circulation help speed curing. Under normal circumstances & with good ventilation, the coating is generally cured after 4-5 days. Wait until cured before prolonged contact with other surfaces or packaging. Allow a minimum of two weeks cure time before letting water sit/pool on the coated surface, immersing in water or filling sinks/fountains, etc. In most cases, dew or rain does not hurt the coating once it is dry for 3-4 hours. You can shorten cure time by gently heating the coating AFTER it is dry to the touch. Dry, coated items placed in a low-temperature oven (140°F -180°F) for 1 hour will be cured when cooled. Larger items can be placed in direct sunlight to speed curing.


AFTER CARE: Do NOT use solvent or citrus-based cleaners or abrasives to clean coated metal. Do not use cleaners with “petroleum distillates”. Suggested cleaners: Windex, mild dish soap and water or similar mild cleaners.


MAINTENANCE & LONGEVITY: Once coated, the coating is easy to maintain. Perform a rust transference test periodically to check if recoating is needed. Wipe with a damp cloth to remove dirt and residue, dry well, and recoat. The coating longevity is dependent on the proper application of the coating, its environment, and general use and abuse. See Maintenance Instructions on our website.


SHELF LIFE OF COATING: Coating has an indefinite shelf life when stored in the closed, original container. Keep any extra coating for touch-ups. We recommend cleaning the threads of the container before reattaching the lid to avoid sticking.


COATING REMOVAL: The coatings can be removed from rusted metals with solvents like Xylene or a Xylene substitute or they can be removed mechanically by sanding for larger areas. Small items can be soaked in solvent. Wear personal protection. Wet a cloth or paper towels with the solvent completely. Move the wet cloth over the coated metal with light pressure. Rubbing hard is not advised. When the coating begins to “melt”, wipe it up and off of the surface. Repeat until the coating is gone.  This will be difficult on rough, rusted metal but can be removed on smooth rusted metal. 


If a specific patina design is not to be disturbed, dab the coating on the surface first with an applicator cloth. Let the dabbed coating dry completely. Then apply the rolled coat. (Step 2)


Everbrite Coatings are best applied in temperatures from 55-85 degrees and without humidity. (40-100degrees F outside temperature is a workable range.) The temperature of the metal is more important than the air temperature. The metal is too hot if you cannot place the back of your hand on it for 10-15 seconds. If it is too cold, warm the metal with a heat gun, hairdryer, or work in the sun or shade appropriately. Do not apply if the temperature is within 10 degrees of the dew point. You can access dew point information for your area on

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