How to Prevent Coating Failures in Rust & Corrosion Paint Applications

Preventing Rust Paint Failures

Rust and corrosion paints are the result of a complex process of combining raw materials and additives.  To perform to their optimum potential, these substances require proper mixing, application to prepared substrate, and then left to dry for an appropriate period. When done right, it’s expected that the application will shield the substrate against rusting, corrosion, harmful effects of UV rays, and the general vagaries of mother nature.

But that doesn’t always happen! Here’s what you need to know about rust paint failures, and how you can overcome that problem.

Cause and effects

Understanding how rust paint failures manifest themselves is key to preventing that from occurring in the first place. Trained engineers and veteran maintenance crew can immediately tell when a rust and corrosion paint application fails. The signs usually appear through the lifecycle of coating application:

  • Prior to the application: In the form of skinning and/or settlement
  • During the coating phase: As sags and runs
  • Immediately after application: In the form of peel or solvent popping
  • While servicing the substrate: As rust spots and/or blisters

Typically, failure of rust paint and corrosion coatings are the effects of the problem. The cause of the problem lies in a series of failures preceding the actual application of the coating. To avoid future failures, it is imperative that engineering staff investigate the root cause of the issue and understand how to avoid such problems from occurring.

Following manufacture guidelines

Usually, rust and corrosion paint container labels spell out specific guidelines for best possible outcomes. For instance:

  • Most rust paint failures occur as a result of poor product choice – using a paint or rust coating that is not meant to do what the painter wants. Choose paints and coatings appropriate to the intended application. Where abrasion might be a cause for concern, for example, then an abrasion-resistant coating is more appropriate
  • When preparing for the application, make sure you store the paints and coatings per manufacturer guidelines, and allow them to acclimatize to the environment where the application will take place
  • Preparation guidelines often include advice to stir canisters and cans well before use. Stirring content in tins and buckets prevents settlement and skinning
  • Manufacturers also often advise on proper practices for storing opened and un-used containers. For instance, even though it might be just an hour or two in-between coatings, make sure you protect in-use product appropriately. Left exposed and open in the outdoors, sun, blowing sand, falling autumn leaves, debris from nearby construction tasks, snow and rain, can contaminate product to the extent that it leads to failure during application


Remember: rust and corrosion paint and coating failures don’t always occur as a result of poor application technique. A series of failures, prior, during and following the application can also contribute to such failures.

Most manufacturers, such as Rust Bullet, also provide extensive resources, on how to prevent rust paint failures, on their websites. Before proceeding with any application, it is best practice to consult such resources and make decisions in line with the information contained therein.