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How Do You Keep Metal Garden Art From Rusting?


All metal garden artwork is susceptible to rust or corrosion. The outdoor condition is an excellent accelerant to the development of rust on the metal surface. From the pouring rain that can collect on the metallic surface and penetrate deep into the surface. The harsh sun does result in the chipping and removal of the protective layer of paint if not applied correctly.

To extend the life of your metal artwork, several preventative measures need to be applied to stop the development of rust. Painting the metal surface is an effective means of providing a protective layer from atmospheric moisture. 

What causes metal to rust?

All metals except for precious metals like Platinum, and iridium are susceptible to rusting. The chemical reaction when metals react with oxygen is called oxidation. The major elements that cause oxidation are oxygen and atmospheric moisture. These elements are in abundance outside. 

The most common indicator of corrosion is the red color of iron oxide. This condition is predominant in unprotected metals. The red rust is oxidized iron. The chemical symbol for red rust is Fe3O2. The rusting process leads to fewer iron molecules over time, and with time this leads to the deterioration of the garden art.

How to protect outdoor metal art from rusting.

Here are several tips on preventing your garden art from developing rust on its surfaces.

What paint to use on outdoor metal art.

One of the simplest and cheapest ways of preventing rusting on the surface. The paint provides a protective barrier between the metal surface and the corrosive agents. 

The paint barrier prevents the penetration of moisture to the metal surface. The surface needs to be prepped and primed before the application of the paint. The paint is aesthetically pleasing and brings the art to life.  Below are the paint options that you can purchase to paint your metal art.

1. Oil-based paint: Oil-based paint is considered to be durable and highly resistant to moisture and humidity. Oil-based paint is also referred to as alkyd paint. The paint provides a glossy finish and is resistant to staining, The glossy finish makes the surface easy to clean. 

The paint is typically used for high-traffic areas and surfaces. The paint adheres to metal longer compared to other paints. Moisture from rain and dew does not adhere or penetrate the metal surface.

When applying the paint o the surface, the drying time typically takes 8 to 24 hours to completely dry.

2. Latex Paint: Latex is another option to use to paint your metal surface. However, compared to oil-based paint, latex has a higher chance of chipping. Before applying the paint, the surface needs to be primed to allow for proper adhesion of the paint. 

 Properly prepping the priming of the surface will go a long way in extending the lifetime of   the paint on the surface. Ensure the surface is cleaned and remove any old paint and debris on the surface.  Remove as much of the rust as you can from the surface. 

You can apply rust-resistant primer before applying the latex paint. Typically, the latex takes 15 – 30 minutes to completely dry.    

3. Spray Paint:   Spray paint can be both water and oil-based. The application of the paint is different from your regular paint. The application is easier and needs to be done in a well-ventilated room. I do recommend spray painting your art outside to prevent exposure to toxic fumes that can lead to harmful effects on your respiratory system.

Another benefit of using spray paint is the ability to use it for hard-to-reach and irregularly shaped artwork. 

Prime and prep the surface before applying the spray paint. This can be achieved by scrapping any excess or old paint from the surface, Sand down the surface to the best of your ability to achieve a clean and dirt-free surface.

How to protect outdoor metal art in the winter

Another simple way of preventing the development of rust on metal artwork is by storing your artwork in the winter months and wet seasons. Moisture is an agent that causes rust to develop. By storing the metal artwork, you can limit the exposure of the metal surface from penetrating and reacting with your artwork.

In cold and snowy conditions, the metal art can be covered up with deep snow that can remove the protective coating from the metallic surface. The contraction and expansion of metal can lead to the chipping of paint.

In the winter, consider covering up your statuses and garden art that tend to collect or retain water.  For statues and art pieces that are too heavy or secured in place, the only opinion would be to cover them with a waterproof tarp or cover. 

For statues that can be relocated, move the art pieces to a dry indoor away from the harsh winter weather. The indoor area conditions can be controlled and lessen the possibility of your resin figures being adversely affected.

Be careful during the relocation process from damaging or dropping your concrete art. You don’t want to end up with a bigger problem fixing damages that require extensive repairs. The process of moving your statues needs to be planned out carefully. Pay special attention to intricate and delicate parts that may come off during the movement of the statue.

The right means of protecting your metal artwork depends on the current state of your artwork. Early intervention is recommended in preventing rust from damaging the structural integrity of your artwork.

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Ginny Orenge

Hi, my name is Ginny, home and garden decor ideas is a family business specializing in inspiring you in getting in making your own craft at home. I have also loved creating my own art at home. I hope to share my tips in creating both home and garden decorations that you can be proud off.

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