Can You Paint Over Rust?

Can You Paint Over Rust? The short answer is yes! Rust is a common problem for many homeowners.

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Rust is formed when iron is exposed to oxygen and moisture, causing it to break down and form a reddish-brown oxide. Though it may seem counterintuitive, you can actually paint over rust. By using the right type of paint and primer, you can prevent the rust from coming back.

What is Rust?

Rust is an oxide film that forms on iron and steel when they are exposed to oxygen and moisture. The film is reddish brown and consists of hydrated iron oxide. Rust can occur very rapidly, especially in warm, humid environments or when the metal is in contact with other rusting metals. Left unchecked, rust will eventually destroy the metal

The Different Types of Rust

There are three different types of rust: surface rust, scale rust, and penetrating rust.

-Surface Rust: This is the most common type of rust. It’s usually found on the surface of iron or steel objects that have been exposed to oxygen and moisture. The result is a red, orange, or brown flaky powder on the surface of the metal.
-Scale Rust: This type of rust is usually found on galvanized steel or iron. It’s a type of corrosion that happens when the zinc coating on the metal begins to break down. The result is a dark brown or black flaky powder on the surface of the metal.
-Penetrating Rust: This is the most serious type of rust. It occurs when oxygen and moisture penetrate through cracks in the metal, causing the iron or steel to corrode from the inside out. The result is a deep orange or red flaky powder on the surface of the metal.

How to Remove Rust

Before you can paint over rust, you need to remove as much of it as possible. This will require some elbow grease and possibly a wire brush, sandpaper, or a chemical rust remover. Once the rust is gone, you need to make sure the area is clean and free of any dirt or debris. You can then apply a primer and paint designed for use on metal.

How to Paint Over Rust

Rust is iron oxide, a naturally occurring compound that forms when iron or steel is exposed to oxygen and moisture. Because it contains iron, rust is attracted to magnets. It is usually red, but it can also be orange, yellow, brown, or black.

Rust is unsightly, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. You can paint over rust. Here’s how:

-Before you begin, remove as much of the rust as possible with a wire brush or sandpaper. If the rust is deep, you may need to use a chemical Rust Remover.
-Once the rust is removed, clean the surface with soapy water and a scrub brush to remove any dirt, grease, or other contaminants.
-Rinse the surface with clean water and allow it to dry completely.
-If necessary, repair any cracks or holes in the surface with an all-purpose filler or spackle.
-After the filler has dried completely, sand the surface until it is smooth.
-Wipe the surface with a tack cloth to remove any dust from sanding.
-You’re now ready to paint!


Based on the type of paint, the level of prep work required, and other factors, you can usually paint over rust. If the rust is extensive, however, you may need to sand or chemically strip the paint before you repaint.