How to Prevent Rust on Steel Pipes

Steel pipes are used in many homes and buildings as railings, guardrails, to ventilate, carry gas or as conduits for electricity.

Steel pipe is used for all sorts of applications and painting it protects it.Steel pipe is used for all sorts of applications and painting it protects it.
These pipes, like all steel, rust after exposure to moisture. To preserve their integrity and extend the life cycle of your pipes, protect them from rust by painting the surface with an exterior paint that seals out moisture. This is the most effective step to protecting any type of steel pipe from the inevitable rust and corrosion that occurs outside.

Clean the pipe thoroughly to remove grease, dirt, grime and salt deposits. Use a heavy-duty cleaner and rags to clean the pipe. Then clean it again with mineral spirits and a rag. This removes remaining grease left on the pipe or residue from the cleaner.

Rough sand the steel pipe if it has a sheeny surface that may decrease adhesion. This is true of stainless steel or chrome steel pipe. Lightly rough the surface with metal abrasive sandpaper -- 200 grit or less. Wipe away all residue from sanding with a clean towel.

Apply a primer to the steel pipe. Use metal-grade primer or automotive paint. Spray the primer onto the pipe and allow it to dry as directed in the instructions. Take care that if you are using a metal spray-paint system designed specifically for steel, you may not need a primer. Consult your paint application instructions for further information.

Apply the final coat of paint to the steel pipes as directed by the manufacturer instructions. Usually, this involves spraying the steel pipes with a coat of paint and then layering on a second coat before the paint of the first coat completely dries. That is called a wet application.

Things You Will Need

  • Cleaner
  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits
  • Primer
  • Rustproof exterior paint
  • 200-grit sandpaper

About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.