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Rust finish for galvanized tin?

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Q. Can anyone tell me if the product that gives a rusty finish to tin would work on galvanized tin?

Brian Ddeleted


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A. Hi, Brian. Please excuse the pedantry, but "Galvanized" means coated with zinc by dipping into molten zinc, and tin is an element whose melting point is much lower than the melting point of zinc -- so tin articles would melt if you attempted to dip them into molten zinc.

But people sometimes use slang and call steel sheet metal "tin" -- I'm quite sure that's what you mean in this case, right?

wikipedia
1. Tin
2. Galvanization

Zinc cannot rust (although it can corrode into a white gummy or powdery corrosion product). So, no, you can't 'rust' galvanized steel sheet metal while it still has the zinc coating on it. But you can remove the zinc coating with muriatic acidamazoninfo, and then the underlying bare steel sheet metal will quickly rust. Remember that muriatic acid is a hazardous material requiring good ventilation (outdoors), the wearing of full personnel protective gear, including protective glovesamazoninfo and gogglesamazoninfo, and careful handling and knowledgable disposal. Good luck.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

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Q. I am interested in learning how to rust tin.

Can anyone tell me the product or method used to rust tin for craft projects?

Dixie Sdeleted
- York Springs, Pennsylvania


A. Hello Dixie. Tin can't rust; only iron and steel can rust. But once again you probably actually mean "steel sheet metal" rather than tin? If so, spritzing with vinegar and salt and leaving it in the sun should quickly rust it if it's not galvanized. Good luck!

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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Q. I have the same question as Dixie and Brian. I have several pieces of galvanized tin (Chicken Wire being one of them) and have tried the vinegar and salt spray to no avail. Have they found a method of rusting tin. Thanks in advance.

Kay R deleted
- Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia


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A. Hi, Kay. Hopefully they'll get back to us, but as I said, you won't get galvanized steel (like chicken wire) to rust as long as it still has the galvanizing on it.

Galvanizing is pretty effective at deterring rust, and I doubt that vinegar and salt could rust it in a reasonable period of time. I think you would need to strip the zinc off with muriatic acid to rust the underlying steel. Good luck, but be very careful if you use muriatic acid.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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Q. Ted, Thanks for answering so promptly in regards to galvanized tin.

What I want to do is get a rust covering on objects like tin cookie cutters, small bells with clappers, and jungle bells. I have a small [mini] watering can that says on bottom "Galvanized Tin- Made in India, not guaranteed for leaks" I have also seen flat tin ornaments like stars, sleds and etc. that are covered with rust. They must have been dipped in some type of acid to remove the galvanized covering. This is what I'm looking for. Something to remove the covering and a method to create the rust. Thanks for any information.

Kay R(returning)
- Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia


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A. Hi, Kay. I'm confident that --
1. cookie cutters would be made made of steel that has been electroplated with tin, because tin plating is "food safe" whereas zinc galvanizing is not.
2. jingle bells would be steel that was nickel plated (or maybe silver plated);
3. the watering can is made of steel sheet metal that has a hot dip galvanized zinc coating (like the chicken wire) despite its label.

Zinc, silver, and tin are all non-magnetic -- does a magnet stick to all of the items, indicating that underneath the coatings they are probably steel?

An issue that probably isn't fully clear to you is that steel, tin, zinc, silver, and nickel are different materials from each other -- not even mentioning that some of the items may have a clear coat paint on them. I apologize that it's quite confusing but, although they make look similar, different metals react very differently to the same chemicals. If a friend asked you how much of "this white powder stuff" they should use to bake a cake, you would have to tell them that until they could identify whether the powder was flour, baking soda, or arsenic, you really can't answer. And I'm unfortunately in a similar position :-)

Although zinc can be removed with muriatic acid, a different procedure is required to strip tin, and you would find it difficult to chemically remove nickel or silver with anything available to a hobbyist. Maybe you can use sandpaper to sand the plating off of the bells and cookie cutters and stuff instead of trying to figure out what acid will do it? Once you are down to the steel base, they will rust with vinegar and salt or any other rusting process you read about.

One final option is to simply paint/patina with a rust solution; =>
since the rust is already in the patina solution, so it should work on anything. Good luck.

Good luck!

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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A. I've built a beautiful "rustic" bedroom with corrugated sheet metal for the inside ceiling. I was able to get a "rust" paint from a local hardware store. You paint a thin layer of paint and it oxidizes the metal. It may create the look that you are trying to achieve. It worked for me.

Wanda L. Chapman
- Ansted, West Virginia

Instant Rust


November 7, 2011

A. I have found a product at the craft store called Sophisticated Finishes [linked by editor to product info]; it's a rust antiquing solution. It works great.

James Rogers
- Crosbyton Texas USA

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A. Hey, why don't you simply try rubbing it with coarse sandpaper? If you are successful in getting the finish off, you could get the part wet with salt water and let it sit around.

Tim Neveau
Rochester Hills, Michigan

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A. I just came across this question while searching thru Google about rusting metals. I did find one lady rusts her metals with a solution of 1 cup of bleach to 1 cup of vinegar. This is very fumey, do it outside. Stay away from the fumes. This is supposed to work fast. How fast I don't know......yet! :O)

Cheryl M deleted
- Pennsylvania


Cheryl, the bleach bottle has a warning not to mix it with other chemicals. Bleach is simply chlorine gas dissolved in water that is so alkaline that the chlorine will stay there. Neutralize the alkalinity with an acid like vinegar, and the chlorine gas comes roaring out. Many people have died from it. If you are going to do it anyway, yes, only do it outside ... and stay upwind of it! Good luck.

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



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Q. I'm searching for a way to rust tin items, or brass items for crafts. I have a friend that watched a show "Trading Spaces" a while back, and said that they used a torch on a brass hinge, then put it in a bucket with water and "some kind of powder" substance, and instant rust. Can't seem to find out what the "powder" is. Any ideas from anyone here? Thanks~

Diane Bdeleted
hobbyist - Gaffney, South Carolina



Making tin ceiling tiles rust

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Q. Any new news on this? I have just purchased 60 pieces of tin for a tin ceiling and would love to rust it.

Cindy B deleted
- Sacramento, California


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Q. Cindy, were you able to find anything on rusting your tin for the ceiling. We are trying to rust some tin for a ceiling as well but it is galvanized and the muriatic acid did not work.

Thanks,

Vicki Hillert
- College Station, Texas


A. Hi, Vicki. Maybe your ceiling tile is painted a metallic color rather than being galvanized? Although I am not sure exactly what the problem or misunderstanding is, rest assured that muriatic acid violently removes galvanized zinc coating almost instantly. Remember that muriatic acid is very dangerous though.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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A. Muriatic acid will strip all zinc from your tin. If you are having problems try rubbing the surface with a scotch brite pad. Some of today's zinc alternatives are acrylume, zincalume and galvalume; these don't react as well as straight galvanized but with a little roughing up they strip very fast.


Be very careful, though, the gas produced from the reaction of the zinc and the muriatic acid is hydrogen cyanide, they use it in the gas chamber and it is listed as a chemical warfare agent. 300 parts per million will kill you in mins. Use chemical respirators and protective clothing and eye protection.

We rust roughly 1000 sq. ft. of galvanized a year everything from welded wire to seamless gutters.. hope this helps

wikipedia
Hydrogen Cyanide

Brian White
seamless gutters - Belgrade, Montana


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I certainly agree with your precautions regarding protective equipment when you strip zinc with hydrochloric acid, Brian! Thanks. Yes, it evolves poisonous chlorine-based gas, not too different from old chemical warfare gases. But a minor point regarding the science, I don't think it can actually evolve hydrogen cyanide. Hydrogen cyanide is H+CN- and I don't think you can create CN from muriatic acid (HCl) and zinc (Zn).

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


February 13, 2012

Q. I am looking to oxidize (not rust) some tin ceiling panels I just purchased. Any suggestions?

Chris Bennett
- Costa Mesa, California, USA


February 14, 2012

A. Hi Chris.

Are they brand new or recycled stuff from a retro architecture store? Painted or galvanized? Thanks.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


February 16, 2012

Q. The panels I purchased are brand new "tin coated steel". Trying to get them to oxidize but not rust. Just looking for a dulled finish

Chris Bennett
- Costa Mesa, California, USA



A. Hi. I'd try vinegar on a sample Chris. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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Q. We are installing a tin roof that is not going to be exposed to the elements. We would like to make this look like the tin is old and rustic. Does anyone have any ideas. Bleach and vinegar do not appear to be working.

Thanks,

Doug Adams
- Springfield, Missouri


A. First test it with a magnet to make sure the underlying metal is steel, Doug, because only steel (and iron) can rust. Then sand off the coating; then try the bleach OR vinegar & salt.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



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Q. Hello, I am stripping an old trailer of its outside tin. The outer portion is many times painted and what not, but the inside looks brand new and shiny. Wondering if I can put it on the outside of my new cabin and it will retain its shiny new metal look? I would like it to retain this metal look, thanks. Danijel

Danijel Peeler
architect - Memphis, Tennessee



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Q. Hi, my name is Laura. I have built a water feature which is made of rippled steel sheeting which the water runs over. It looks great, Possibly too great and shiny and new. I was wondering how to rust the sheeting so that the lovely rust colors would come through and give it a more rustic outback look which we Aussies all love. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Laura Dash
hobbyist - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia



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Q. If tin does not rust, what will happen to it? Does it deteriorate in any way? Can it withstand long periods of time outdoors, in contact with soil and precipitation?

Nancy Jo Flynn
- Port Orange, Florida


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A. After all these postings, Nancy Jo, I don't know whether you actually mean tin metal or you mean steel sheet :-)

All metals except gold and the other precious metals eventually corrode away. That's why gold can be mined as a metal but other metals must be smelted from ore. I think solid tin metal would be okay outside for a while, but sorry, I can't think of any typical applications to refer you to.

Sheet metal will of course eventually corrode away, but galvanizing it will prolong its life, and you will not get the brown powdery iron oxide corrosion product that we call "rust" on it until the zinc coating has worn/dissolved away. Good luck.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



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Q. I have some cheap, new reproduction tin signs. I want to give the edges an aged patina look. What should I use? From the responses above it looks as though I should sand or scotchbrite the area and then use a little muriatic acid? After that, leave them outside?

Thanks.

Lee M. Gavazzi
- Lakewood, Colorado


October 21, 2009appended

Q. We are building barnwood gates and are using rusted hinges but the screws sent with the hinges are too short. These are common zinc wood screws from Home Depot. How can I get them to look a rusty orange? Please list the times needed for any treatment. Help please!

Judi Klapperich
hobbyist - Redmond, Oregon



January 19, 2010appended

Q. I need to build a cabinet to match an existing cabinet which has heavily rusted hardware on it. What can I use to get a quick heavily rusted patina on it. Also most of the hardware I can find is zinc plated, i.e. strap hinges, etc. Will it work on that?

Steven Rauch
cabinetmaker - Colorado Springs, Colorado



March 8, 2011

Q. I am planning a fence that is made from rusted sheet metal riveted to posts. A neighbor has this same fence in his yard and it looks great, but the previous owner did it and he's long gone. I can only find galvanized sheet metal. Can I use muriatic acid to remove the galvanized finish and create the rusted finish? I will have sheet metal 12-16" wide and approx. 10' long, so a bucket won't work. to remove the galvanized should I plan on immersing the sheet metal in muriatic acid (what concentration?) vs. spraying on with a spray bottle? I'd like to avoid creating a hazardous work site if possible. Thanks for your advice.

Joe Abraham
- Tucson, Arizona

March 8, 2011

Hi, Joe.

A steel warehouse like Ryerson will have steel sheet in all thicknesses and widths without galvanizing. I would dilute the acid as much as possible because it's dangerous to work with. Wear gogglesamazoninfo and protective glovesamazoninfo. Cut some short sample pieces and spritz them with varying strengths until you have a process down. As consumers we are almost never given enough data by the manufacturer to be able to work from theory. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



Clearcoating galvanized sheet metal

March 14, 2012

Q. We covered our kitchen walls with galvanized steel sheet metal. The guys at the sheet metal dealer said I should put a clear coat on it to keep it from rusting. What, if anything, should we use for a protective coating that will not change the appearance of the metal? What is the best way to clean galvanized steel?

Jamie Pastor
- New Orleans, Louisiana, USA


October 2013

A. Hi. The site's supporting advertiser, Everbrite, offers a simple one-part clear coat. Apply to a small area to make sure it suits you as "will not change the appearance" is a tall order and it's very hard to promise that you can coat anything with anything without affecting the sheen in some way. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

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