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Homesthetics

6 Best Paint Primer For Rusted Metal [2021] [Buyer’s Guide]

Best Paint Primer For Rusted Metal

Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.

Are you looking for the most suitable paint primer to coat heavily rusted metal surfaces?

Well, you’ve come to the right place! This article provides you a comprehensive review of the 6 best paint primers for rusted metal available on the market.

We are well aware of how difficult prepping and priming a heavily rusted metal surface is. The preparation process of clearing rust is not only exhausting but also long and tedious – which we can all do without. And that’s exactly where paint primers come in handy!

They have varied chemical formulations that stick on the rusted metal surface, not only effectively killing the prevailing rust but also prevent it from further corroding. As such, they eliminate the need to physically scrub rust entirely and require minimal to no prep before application.

Now, that we’ve got you hooked, let’s jump right into our recommendations!

Top Paint Primers For Rusted Metal

Document
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Our Top PickOur Top Pickhstcstbl-table__imageCorroseal 82331
  • Water-based rust converter
  • Available in four volumes
  • Converts rust into magnetite
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hstcstbl-table__imageFDC ‎13
  • Volume: 1 gallon
  • Rust converter
  • Dries to touch with a dark finish in 20 minutes
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
hstcstbl-table__imageRust-Oleum 7769830
  • Available in a 12-oz spray bottle and a 32-oz tin can
  • Oil-based primer
  • Has a flat rusty red color
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hstcstbl-table__imageKrylon K06903300
  • Provides a crystal clear satin finish
  • Comes packaged in a spray bottle
  • Dries to touch in 8 minutes and cures in 2 hours
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hstcstbl-table__imageTotalBoat ‎B013F9SM3Y
  • Available in 1-quart and 1-gallon volumes
  • Has a stainless steel color
  • Phosphoric acid-based rust-removing and priming concentrate
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
hstcstbl-table__imageKrylon K06903907
  • White semi-gloss primer
  • Packaged in a 12 oz spray bottle
  • Dries to touch in 8 minutes and cures in 2 hours
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

A low angle shot of a metal red structure under the clear blue sky

  1. Corroseal 82331

First up on our guide, we have the elite Corroseal corrosion inhibitor that comes packaged in a sealed plastic bottle or bucket. It is available in three volumes, namely 1 gallon, 1 quart, and 5 gallons, respectively, and can be used to considerably restore metal surfaces and extend the life of the equipment.

Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter Metal Primer, Rust...
  • Paint, prime and convert rust in one step - water based rust...
  • Restore metal surfaces, extend life of metal equipment by...
  • Non-flammable and non-corrosive, water-based formula cleans...
  • Easy to apply - brush, roll or spray; apply at 8-10 mils wet...

Why Did We Like It?

This primer by Corroseal has the ability to remove rust, prime, and paint any rusted metal surface in one quick and simple step. Initially, this product comes off as white during the application, but it starts turning back as the rust begins converting into a stable substance called magnetite. This innovative chemical conversion process removes the prevalent rust and prevents further rust from developing.

Since this product is a water-based rust converter while being a latex-based primer, it is significantly easier to apply and clean than its counterparts. The formulation of this primer is non-toxic and non-hazardous; hence, it does not require you to take too many precautions during application. 

Furthermore, this is a very effective primer and can be used for automotive, marine, as well as general household, and industrial purposes. One gallon of this product can efficiently cover up to 200-250 sq. ft. It can additionally be applied via brush, roller, or spray – whichever is more convenient for you.

41Hk ddwauL. SL500

What Could’ve Been Better?

It is essential to make sure that you do not apply this primer on freshly blasted steel or other newly galvanized surfaces. Standard surface prep is required before applying this product to the rusted metal surface. If this is not executed correctly and enough coatings of this primer are not applied, the rust may reappear on the metal surface.

Pros
  • Non-hazardous formulation
  • Convenient to apply
  • Easy to clean up with soap and water
  • Provides one-step corrosion control
  • Affordable and time-saving
Cons
  • Rust reappears if not applied properly
  1. FDC ‎13

The FDC Rust Converter Ultra effectively halts pre-existing rust while simultaneously preventing future corrosion by forming a durable and protective layer on the metal surface. This primer comes packaged in a 1-gallon recyclable plastic jar with a built-in handle to pour the liquid out with ease.

Sale
FDC Rust Converter Ultra, Highly Effective Professional...
  • CONVERT RUST: Convert rust to an inert coating that seals...
  • SAFE TIME & MONEY: Eliminates the need for sandblasting,...
  • EFFICIENT: 1 Gallon Covers 500 square of smooth, nonporous...
  • ULTIMATE PROTECTION: Convert toughest rust and corrosion...

Why Did We Like It?

This rust converter efficiently converts the existing rust on a surface into an inert coating that alternatively seals out moisture and oxygen to prevent further corrosion. Therefore, investing in this product eliminates the need for you to engage in the tedious process of removing rust via sandblasting, scraping, and grinding the surface. So, overall this primer saves you both time and money.

What’s more, it is incredibly weather-proof. As such, it can protect your metal surfaces from all kinds of variable weather conditions. Other than that, one gallon of this high-quality primer can easily cover up to 500 square feet of smooth, nonporous surfaces.

To top it off, the brand FDC is so confident of this product’s performance that it provides all its customers a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee!

What Could’ve Been Better?

Some users noticed frothy brown lumps forming in the liquid of this product. This usually occurs due to exposure to too much oxygen and moisture; hence, it is essential to store this product in a sealed and dry place. This primer also takes 48 hours to cure completely, which may be an issue for certain users who wish to paint the surface afterward.

Pros
  • Weatherproof formulation
  • High coverage
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Easy to apply and clean
  • Time and energy-saving product
Cons
  • Forms brown lumps in the liquid
  • Long cure time
  1. Rust-Oleum 7769830

As you probably recognize, Rust-Oleum is a popular and esteemed name in the paint and primer manufacturing industry. Their cutting-edge innovation, inspired by their founder, sea captain Robert Fergusson, had led them to create durable and long-lasting rust prevention solutions. This reputation of theirs, therefore, consequently transfers to this primer for rusted surfaces in model 7769830.

Sale
Rust-Oleum 7769830 Stops Rust Spray Paint, 12-Ounce, Flat...
  • Use to prime exterior or interior heavily rusted metal...
  • Oil-based formula provides a durable protective coating with...
  • Dries to the touch in 15-30 minutes and covers between to...
  • Primer provides a base for excellent adhesion and withstands...

Why Did We Like It?

This primer is an ideal product to prepare heavily rusted interior and exterior surfaces for further painting. Its oil-based formula forms a protective and durable coating on any metal surface it is applied to. This coating not only covers the already present rust to form a smooth base but also inhibits the formation of more rust.

So this primer effectively covers all kinds of heavily rusted surfaces to form an even and long-lasting topcoat that easily adheres to all kinds of oil paints. The unmatched adhesion of this primer is especially handy because of its ability to withstand considerably heavy-use and demanding environments.

If that wasn’t enough, this primer takes only about 15-30 minutes to dry to touch and can therefore be reapplied for more coats just a few minutes apart. Equipped with a comfort tip and a wide finger pad, this spray can also considerably reduce finger fatigue due to continuous spraying.

411Lb sK6LL. SL500

What Could’ve Been Better?

One can of this primer spray only covers up to 10-12 square feet of area, which is considerably lesser than its counterparts. This increases the overall expense of application and is therefore not ideal for priming large projects.

Pros
  • Easy to apply
  • Excellent prevention against rust
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Prevents finger fatigue
  • High bonding and adherence
Cons
  • Limited coverage
  1. Krylon K06903300

Krylon is one of the most trusted and highly rated paint and primer brands in the US. Consequently, this company has created a range of rust-preventing primers that double up as paint while providing high-performing rust protection and are available in 34 different shades. This particular model (K06903300) we are reviewing, however, has a unique clear satin finish.

Krylon K06903300 Rust Protector and Preventative Enamels,...
  • Dries in 8 minutes or less
  • Smooth durable rust-fighting finish
  • Gloss semi-gloss satin and flat finishes

Why Did We Like It?

Before discussing anything else, we have to mention this spray-on paint primer’s enhanced and fast-drying capability. It dries in a record time of 8 minutes and fully cures in just 2 hours, approximately 15 times faster than other leading rust-removing competitors.

This particular clear-colored primer once applied hardens to a tough yet smooth satin finish that effectively covers all rust on the metal surface it has been sprayed on. Apart from that, the potent formulation of this primer also efficiently prevents any further rust or corrosion from forming on the metal surface. In fact, it has performed considerably better than its counterparts in a variety of sanctioned corrosion tests.

Hence, this rust-removing primer by Krylon not only significantly reduces the time spent priming degraded metal surfaces, but is additionally easy to apply. If that wasn’t enough, the wide range of colors and finishes available in this paint and primer are sure to win your heart!

41yC83broYL. SL500

What Could’ve Been Better?

The spray nozzle built into the spray can of this primer is relatively low quality. For this reason, when the can is shaken before use as per instruction by the brand, the nozzle tends to leak and dribble paint. Consequently, this can tend to overspray and leak when sprayed, making it a rather messy process.

Pros
  • Quickest drying time
  • Easy to apply and recoat
  • Provides a smooth, durable finish
  • Passed a variety of corrosion tests
Cons
  • Faulty/low-quality spray nozzle
  1. TotalBoat ‎B013F9SM3Y

The TotalBoat rust primer by Jamestown Distributions is one of the most effective rust-removing solutions on the market and is popular for professional repairs. The formulation of this solution is water-thin, making it extremely high-coverage and convenient to apply.

TotalBoat Rust Primer Converter (GALLON) | Metal Treatment...
  • STOP RUST IN ITS TRACKS: TotalBoat Rust Primer is a metal...
  • WIDE RANGE OF USES: Phosphoric acid-based rust converter is...
  • SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE: Restore, Preserve, and Protect metal...
  • EASY TO APPLY: Brush or spray on iron, steel, or stainless...

Why Did We Like It?

First and foremost, we would like to highlight that this is a more concentrated and thereby potent rust-removing solution that you can use on both rusted and new metal surfaces. This primer functions by converting the existing rust into an inert substance and thereby inhibiting its growth. Furthermore, it also ensures eliminating all chances of new patches of rust forming on the same metal surface.

This primer is easily one of the most versatile rust-removing solutions in the market and can be applied to an array of stainless, steel, and cast iron surfaces such as automobiles, machinery, metal railings, etc. One gallon of this primer can cover an impressive 500 square feet area which is unmatched by its competitors.

You’re only required to do basic cleaning of the metal surface with a wire brush before applying this product. Once applied, you need to leave this concentrate overnight, and the following day you will notice the rusty metal will turn black. This color change indicates that the rust has been transformed, and your metal surface is ready to be painted!

41psONdQaLL. SL500

What Could’ve Been Better?

Certain customers found that this chemical primer leaves a powdery white residue after application. While this residue is easily brushed off in most cases, some people found it extra hard to remove. This powdery substance is even more challenging to remove when it gets wet, and hence you should ideally keep your metal project indoors and away from water.

Pros
  • Has unmatched coverage
  • Superior rust-removing performance
  • Easy to apply
  • Minimal preparation required
  • Wide range of uses
Cons
  • It leaves a white powdery coating
  1. Krylon K06903907

As we mentioned above, Krylon is one of the most popular paint and primer brands on the market. Its new and innovative range of Rust Protector primers provides superior corrosion prevention and is available in 34 stellar shades. This particular primer we are reviewing, however, provides a white semi-gloss finish that is durable and paint-ready in a matter of minutes.

Krylon K06903907 Rust Protector Primers, White Primer
  • Extra corrosion protection for bare and painted surfaces
  • Smooth durable rust-fighting finish
  • Gloss semi-gloss satin and flat finishes

Why Did We Like It?

Straight off the bat, we’d like to emphasize this primer’s superior fast-drying formula. Much like the previous Krylon primer we reviewed, this too dries to touch in just 8 minutes and can be recoated within 2 hours of application.

This primer is formulated to provide extra protection against rust and corrosion on both bare and painted surfaces. Hence, it is the perfect preventive measure for metal surfaces that require high-performing protection against rust.

The final hardened film this white primer forms on metal surfaces is exceptionally durable by nature and has the ability to last a lifetime. In addition to that, this primer, much like the last Krylon primer we reviewed, also passed various corrosion tests with flying colors. Hence, this too performs its functions better than most of its competitors.

410Me+AaWML. SL500

What Could’ve Been Better?

Since this paint primer has a more preventive function, it does not work on already rusted and actively spreading metal surfaces. Therefore, this is only ideal for priming new metal objects and project surfaces or reinforcing rust protection on an already painted surface.

Pros
  • A very fast-drying formula
  • Easy to apply
  • Provides durable, long-lasting protection
  • Ideal for bare and painted surfaces
Cons
  • Does not get rid of active rust

Rusty grunge metal background or texture with scratches and cracks

Rusted Metal Primer Buyer’s Guide

Now that we’ve come to the end of our top 6 paint primer reviews, we wanted to highlight a few pointers to help you make your decision. We have, therefore, attached this buyer’s guide to briefly mention some of the essential factors you must consider while choosing a primer for rusted metal. So without any more fuss, let’s get right to it!

  1. Types Of Primers For Rust

There are mainly 3 types of primers that deal with rust, namely rust converter, rust remover, and rust stopping primers. Each of these primers, thereby, has varied and unique formulations that function in different ways.

The rust converter for starters does away with the rust by converting it into an alternate inert substance upon application. This inert compound usually stops the process of oxidation from occurring and further protects the surface from future rust.

Rust removers, on the other hand, are usually formulated with concentrated acids which effectively strip away the rust from the metal surface.

Finally, we have the rust-stopping primer that simply coats a metal surface and cuts off the oxygen supply in order to prevent rust or corrosion from developing on it. Hence, you will need to decide on which kind of primer to buy depending on what you intend to achieve with it.

  1. Quantity/Coverage

The quantity of primer depends completely on the size of the metal surface you plan to coat. The coverage, alternatively, decides on the quantity of primer you need to purchase. This is because certain primers have high coverage and hence require low quantity to cover large areas.

On the other hand, there are other low coverage primers that will require more quantity to cover the same area. Hence, you must always take a close look at the quantity and coverage provided by a primer to check if it suits your project needs.

  1. Effectivity

Different types and brands of primers have varied rates of effectivity. While some only require a single coat to remove or prevent rust from developing effectively, others might need multiple coats for a similar result. A primer that requires multiple coats will, therefore, be required in a much larger quantity to effectively cover the same surface area.

You can determine the effectiveness of a prime by taking a thorough look at the user reviews. Hence, depending on these reviews and your budget, you can choose a primer that most suits the project’s needs.

  1. Preparation Required

A vital factor to consider while purchasing primers is the amount of prep a surface requires before. While some primers on the market will need you to have a perfectly prepped and smooth texture, others can be applied on entirely unprepped surfaces.

Since, we know how long, tedious, and exhausting sanding metal for prep can be, no-prep primers are usually the go-to product. However, it’s worth noting that most primers on the market recommend a minimal amount of prep that includes scratching out the most chunky bits of rust for optimal performance.

The process of painting rusty peeling rods on the fence. Man paints a brush with a fence, hand closeup. Spring work or repair

Verdict

There are many different factors and types of paint primers available to consider before purchasing one for yourself. Consequently, to help you out, we’ve attempted to narrow the list down as much as possible. 

But before we sign off, we wanted to take a moment to mention a couple of our favorite primers from this guide. In case you are looking for a quick fix rust-stopping primer, we would recommend using the Krylon K06903907 primer/paint spray.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an effective rust converter, then the FDC ‎13 is a very good option to consider. And lastly, if you’re searching for a more potent solution that can completely dissolve the rust with minimal effort, then the TotalBoat B013F9SM3Y is hands down your best bet.

With that, we come to the end of this article. We sincerely hope this helped you make your decision just a little bit easier.

See you next time, until then stay safe!

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