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How to Protect Metal From Salt Air

Kent Page McGroarty

The smell of salt air can be intoxicating. Those who choose to live in coastal climates for most or all of the year, though, may find salt corrosion on assorted metal objects, such as stainless steel barbecue grills, vehicles, air conditioners, metal doors and bathroom fixtures. It is the chloride component of salt that breaks through the natural microscopic layer, or "oxide," that most metals feature on their surface to protect against erosion. Prevent salt erosion through use of protective sealants that keep salt air and other elements from damaging metal surfaces.

Enjoy the salt air while protecting your metal investments.

Step 1

Purchase a specialized coating to metal objects designed to protect metals against salt corrosion, such as ProtectaClear from EverBrite Coatings, KG Stock Kote from KG Industries, or Sprayon Welder's Stainless Steel Protective Coating from Krylon Industrial, all of which feature websites for ordering such products. Look for a protectant that is non-flammable, water-based and has been tested in a salt spray chamber for at least 2,000 hours, though 4,000 hours is preferable.

Step 2

Pour your selected coating into a pan and saturate an applicator pad in the liquid. If you are working with stainless steel, apply xylene to the object's surface before applying the coating to remove all fingerprints and residue. Xylene also goes by the commercial name Xylol; purchase it through online stores such as The Nelson Paint Company, under the name Nelson Enamel Thinner. Klean-Strip is another brand of xylene; look for it at stores such as Lowe's, Sears and Big Paint Store, an online store, or try Painter's Pride brand of xylene, which can be purchased through online stores Eris Automotive Tools and Fox Run Tools.

Step 3

Wipe the pad over the surface of the metal object in quick, straight lines. Use as many coats as needed depending on the type of metal you are working with. Refer to the coating manufacturer's instructions for best results. The coating should last for months if not years, depending on the brand you use.