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How Do You Keep Metal Garden Art From Rusting?

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How Do You Keep Metal Garden Art From Rusting?

How to Prevent Metal Art from Rusting Outdoors

Metal's biggest enemy is rust. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent your metal art from rusting. Here are some strategies for preserving metal art and sculptures outdoors.

1. Choose the metal best suited for outdoor sculptures

One of the best strategies to avoid rust on your outdoor art is to choose materials that are suitable for the environment. Choosing the right metal for your outdoor metal art is the best investment you can make to ensure it truly lasts.

2. Powder Coat Your Metal Outdoor Art

A properly cured powder coat finish is tougher, thicker and more durable than traditional paint. However, it works differently than standard liquid paint, which is delivered via a binder and evaporating solvent.

As long as you prime it first (you can also powder coat it), your powder-coated metal will effectively resist oxidation and corrosion long-term.

3. Cover and protect from rain

Cycles of rain and sunlight can cause rust. Water droplets can penetrate into unprotected and unprimed areas, causing oxidation. You can solve this problem by installing a roof over your metal art or placing it under a roofed area. Doing so will protect your piece from rain or strong sunlight. If this is impractical, you can cover the art with a canvas tarp when it rains, although this is not a convenient solution.


4. Use grease to prevent metal art from rusting

Another simple way to prevent water seepage is to apply grease, especially on fine parts on mobile or mechs, if your artwork has them. Grease is oil-based, and since oil repels water, a thin layer of grease should be enough to protect your art. Of course, grease lubricates moving parts and protects them from water damage.

5. Apply wax paste to the metal artwork

You can protect your metal art with paste wax, which has been used to protect outdoor metal from the weather for centuries. However, it lacks the durability of modern polyurethane or paint-based products.

6. Use UV Protective Spray on Outdoor Metal Art

Prevent paint from deteriorating by using a UV protective spray on your metal art. This substance works by absorbing most of the UV rays. Through UV absorption, your paint will last longer.

Metals themselves are not affected by the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays because metals have free electrons to absorb the light without being affected by bond dissociation or energy conversion. However, the paint covering the surface may be affected by UV rays. Over time, paint can fade and bleach, making your metal art less vivid and dull.

7. Apply a clear coat to protect the metal

Clear coating your art is often recommended to protect outdoor sculptures, but it does have pros and cons and isn't suitable for all materials. Clear coat is best suited to metal surfaces that have already been powder coated, providing an extra layer of protection from the elements.

Varnish is a clear, pigment-free paint coating that is applied to your actual paint and the metal material underneath it. Clearcoat acts as armor, protecting your metal from UV rays, mold, acid, rain, and chlorine. Clear coats can be solvent-based or water-based.

However, clear-coating mild steel art is not enough to prevent it from rusting. Steel will continue to rust underneath the polyurethane coating since the sun's rays are not only the cause of moisture exposure, but also the cause of rust. This causes the clear coat to bubble over time, and reapplying is time-consuming and messy.


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