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How to Keep Metal From Rusting at the Beach

Metal items inside and outside a home at the beach rust much faster than metal items in homes farther inland. 

Fixing rusted items is a constant maintenance chore for beach houses. 

Here are a few ways to keep metal items from rusting at your home on the beach, or at least reduce the rust.

 

Avoiding rust in beach housesphoto courtesy of Thomas Ricker flickr.com/photos/trixer/2596939875/Stainless Steel
When using metal items while constructing your beach house (nails, screws, hinges, etc), use stainless steel instead of cheaper metal building supplies. 

Stainless steel might rust over time, but not nearly as quickly as cheaper metal. 

Some stainless steel is stronger while other stainless steel is more resistant to rust. 

The stainless steel most resistant to rust is 18-8 (about 18% chromium and 8% nickel). 

 

Paint
Painting metal items slows the rust process. 

If the metal item is already rusty, it should be sanded prior to priming and painting. 

Start the painting process by using a good quality primer that is made for metal (you might want to use several coats). 

After the primer is dry, use several coats of a good quality paint. 

 

Cover
If your patio furniture, bicycle, garden tools, car, or other outdoor items tend to get rusty, consider covering them when not in use. 

You can put them in a shed or protective building, use specialty covers made especially for your items, or use a simple tarp as a cover in order to slow down the rusting process.

 

Dehumidifier
Increased humidity at the beach can cause things to rust faster. 

Consider using a dehumidifier on the inside of your home to keep the humidity down.

 

Vent Fan
Another way to reduce humidity at the beach is to use a vent fan in your kitchen and bathrooms. 

Kitchen vent fans should be used every time you cook on your stove. 

Bathroom vent fans should be turned on before turning on your shower's water and kept running for at least 20 minutes after you turn off the water.

 

Rust Inhibitor
Several companies sell rust inhibitors that are applied to metal to keep it from rusting. 

Some coatings work better than others, so make sure to research them well before purchasing. 

Rust inhibitor can be used on garden tools, sports equipment, patio furniture, shower curtain rods & hooks, and more (make sure to follow the specific manufacturer's recommendations).

 

Rust Shield
There are several different types of rust shields available. 

Rust shields are not applied to metal, but they are placed near metal to keep it from rusting. 

They typically last between 3 months and 1 year. 

Rust shields can be used in gun safes, fishing tackle boxes, and tool boxes.

 

Keep it Dry
Avoid putting damp items on metal. 

Condensation dripping from a beverage can cause metal to stay wet and rust faster. 

A damp dish towel placed on a refrigerator or dishwasher handle can cause rust over time.

 

Use Materials Other Than Metal
If you have a constant problem with metal items rusting, consider using materials other than metal. 

You can use a wood or fiberglass front door instead of a metal front door. 

You can use plastic patio furniture instead of metal patio furniture. 

Select appliances that match your cabinets instead of stainless steel ones (newer stainless steel appliances have less nickel and chromium, making them less rust resistant than older stainless steel appliances. Typically if the stainless steel is magnetic, then it is more prone to rust). 

The aesthetics of a non-metal item may not be as desirable to you, but a non-rusted item always looks better than a rusted item.

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