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RustSeal Directions

RustSeal Information and Instructions

To achieve expert results, please take the time to carefully read and understand the following directions before you begin your restoration project. These directions are meant to be general guidelines only and do not cover every application or environmental situation. If you have remaining questions or concerns, please call us toll-free for technical assistance.

ALWAYS WEAR PROTECTIVE GLOVES AND SAFETY GLASSES. ALWAYS WORK IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA. Please heed all labeled warning and caution notices on all products.


KBS Coatings 3-STEP SYSTEM of RustSeal (a rust preventive coating), AquaKlean (an industrial strength water-based cleaner / degreaser) and RustBlast (a powerful rust remover / metal etch) is the most technologically advanced metal protection system in the world today! RustSeal cures to a rock hard yet flexible watertight seal that won’t crack, blister or peel and endures the harshest weather conditions including moderate resistance to UV rays. Because RustSeal is moisture-cured, this superior coating is made even stronger by continued exposure to moisture. RustSeal is also highly resistant to some of the most aggressive chemicals such as acids, alkalis, salts, abrasive materials, fertilizers, coal dusts, solvents, oils, and other refined petroleum products. RustSeal is the first and only moisture-cured high performance coating offered in the widest range (EIGHT) of rust preventive paint color options. RustSeal is lead-free and VOC compliant.


Despite what others may lead you to believe, it does not matter how good the rust prevention product is if the surface is not prepared properly. Corrosion and organic contamination will block and inhibit any coating from deeply penetrating and permanently adhering to the surface. Even new metals have protective surface oils applied that will interfere with adhesion. Simply put…the cleaner the surface using AquaKlean, the more effective RustBlast will work and the deeper RustSeal will penetrate into the pores and permanently seal and protect the surface.

FOR BEST END RESULTS, apply RustSeal to clean dry bare metals with good porous surface profiles such as tightly rusted, sandblasted, or other abraded surfaces to which RustSeal can "bite" into. Newly sandblasted metal surfaces are the ideal choice for direct RustSeal applications as they require little preparation other than blowing off loose dust. Remember to always wear gloves when handling sandblasted items to avoid contaminating the surface with oily fingerprints. Please note that plastic media, bead or soda-blasted treated surfaces do not provide the adequate amount of abrasion needed for direct RustSeal application and do require Step #2 RustBlast for further metal etching. For all other applications, simply follow the KBS 3-Step System below. Always allow products & surfaces to be painted to adjust to room temperature before beginning.


After removal of any loose flakey rust by sanding using 320 grit sandpaper, wire brushing and/or wire wheeling to achieve a solid surface profile, it is necessary to remove all surface contamination. Slight residues of grease, oil or even fingerprints can ruin any good paint job. Avoid using any solvent based cleaners which leave residues. Begin by diluting the AquaKlean concentrate with water. The warmer the water, the more effective and powerful the cleaning action of AquaKlean will be. Effective dilution rates will vary according to the type and degree of contaminants as well as surface materials. AquaKlean may be used in power washing equipment. For general purpose cleaning, apply liberally and scrub surface for 5-10 minutes. For heavy-duty cleaning, extended soaking times up to 24 hours or more may be necessary. Use a bristle brush or scouring pad to expedite the cleaning of heavily soiled surfaces. Retreat surface as necessary until clean. Do not allow AquaKlean to dry before rinsing thoroughly with water. After rinsing, let dry. NOTE: Metal surfaces cleaned with AquaKlean should always be treated with RustBlast before painting to ensure proper adhesion.

For all alloys and non-ferrous metals, AquaKlean application times and dilution rates should be kept to a minimum due to the wide variations in these materials. For maximum performance, follow with RustBlast to remove surface rust, etch the metal, and leave a zinc phosphate coating (white powder residue) for superior RustSeal adhesion. For all new, smooth or shiny metal surfaces, we recommend a light scuffing with 400 grit sandpaper followed by AquaKlean and RustBlast systems. For previously painted surfaces, remove all paint via chemical stripping followed by AquaKlean and RustBlast systems. If unable to remove any or all paint from metal surfaces, lightly scuff with 400 grit sandpaper followed by AquaKlean. NOTE: If RustSeal is applied over an existing painted coating and not bare metal, it may not permanently seal rust but it will provide a durable, moisture-resistant coating.


Ideal application temp range is 55-82˚F (13-28˚C). FOR BEST END RESULTS, remember that the surface to be treated should be free of dirt, oil, grease and other contaminants as the cleaner the surface, the more effective RustBlast will work. Be sure to have scraped off any loose rust, mill scale, paint, etc. and cleaned the surface with AquaKlean, a water-based cleaner/degreaser, prior to using RustBlast. Liberally apply RustBlast FULL-STRENGTH to a CLEAN DRY SURFACE using a spray bottle, brush, roller, or backpack sprayer for larger applications. Re-apply often to continually keep the surface wet for a minimum of 10 minutes for smooth or lightly rusted surfaces, 20-40 minutes for moderately rusted surfaces and 1-2 hours for heavily rusted or corroded surfaces. Use a scouring pad as needed. Do not allow RustBlast to dry on surface before rinsing. This avoids too heavy of a zinc phosphate buildup which can adversely affect the sealing process. After treatment, rinse thoroughly with water and then allow surface to dry completely. For removal of light corrosion or etching of non-ferrous metals (such as aluminum, brass, copper), prepare surface as above and apply RustBlast for 10-20 minutes then rinse thoroughly with water and then allow surface to dry completely.

NOTE: It is not necessary to remove every last bit of rust before applying RustSeal. RustSeal is very capable of bonding to & permanently sealing any remaining flash rust or corrosion. After treatment with RustBlast, a slight white powder residue may appear. This is a zinc phosphate coating advantageous for RustSeal adhesion. Items treated with RustBlast can remain uncoated for up to 30 days depending on environmental conditions.


Ideal RustSeal application temp range is 55º-82ºF (13º-28ºC). RustSeal is moisture-cured therefore use only in moderate to dry atmospheric conditions. AVOID applying RustSeal in rainy or humid conditions when it is difficult to keep the surface dry. Damp surfaces may produce bubbling causing improper adhesion. Humid conditions will shorten cure time and low humidity will lengthen it. Always work in a well ventilated area. Wear protective eyewear. Wear gloves to avoid skin contact and temporary staining. Remember RustSeal must be cleaned up before it dries as it cannot be removed by any solvent once cured.

Proper stirring of RustSeal is very important for the best uniform sheen & finish. Stir paint thoroughly for several minutes to obtain an even mixture. Effective stirring includes repeatedly touching bottom of can & lifting to disperse any settled pigments and/or matting agents. Placing paint can upside down for a short time before opening & stirring will aid with proper mixing. An upside down can also be gently shaken prior to stirring. Avoid violent or excessive shaking motions which produce air bubbles that will adversely affect seal & finish. Do not substitute shaking for stirring. For the best end results, continue to stir often during the course of painting. Thinning may be required for spray applications. Reduce 5%-10% if needed using only KBS #1 Thinner which is a slow evaporating solvent. Do not reduce with lacquer thinner.

DO NOT PAINT OUT OF CAN! It is recommended to use quality brushes but at disposable prices as cleaning them afterwards is difficult. After a good stir, dispense a working amount of RustSeal into a separate container (steel or glass is best) and seal original can immediately. Unused paint should NEVER be put back into the can as it will shorten its shelf life and cause pressure build-up possibly popping the lid. Keep can groove free of paint by using a scoop or KBS Paint Spout. Use heavy plastic wrap between the lid and the top of the can to stop metal to metal contact as RustSeal can permanently seal the lid. If there is any trouble resealing the can lid tightly, transfer and store RustSeal in another proportionally sized can or glass jar. Always store paint in a cool dry place. RustSeal may be refrigerated for storage but you must allow paint to reach room temperature before re-use.

Apply RustSeal to clean, dry & prepped surfaces using a bristle brush, foam brush, roller, or spray equipment. RustSeal has superior self-leveling. Brush marks will flow out. FOLLOW ALL CAUTION & WARNING NOTICES WHEN SPRAYING. ALWAYS WEAR AN AIR SUPPLIED RESPIRATOR: NIOSH/MSHA approved organic vapor particulate respirator. Spray pressure of 35-45 psi (250-330kpa) for siphon/pot guns and 25-35psi (170-250kpa) for gravity/top container guns. Thinning is not generally required but if needed 5%-10% is normally adequate. Use KBS #1 Thinner only which is a slow evaporating solvent. Do not reduce RustSeal with lacquer thinner. Also remember to clean your spray gun immediately after using RustSeal. You can find more information on Spraying RustSeal in our Spraying Guidelines.

Always apply a MINIMUM of 2 thin covering coats (2 mils each) for general applications. For marine or industrial applications, apply a MINIMUM of 3 thin covering coats (2 mils each). Use a KBS Pre-Valve Sprayer for any hard to reach areas. Re-coating can be done once the first or consecutive coat is dry-to-touch and does not leave a fingerprint. Multiple thin coats allow complete and thorough curing. FOR BEST END RESULTS, always apply coats consecutively within 6 hours of each coat curing. Average cure times are 2-4 hours, depending on humidity levels. NOTE: Do not apply RustSeal in rainy or humid conditions. Do not apply RustSeal in thick or heavy coats. Do not apply additional coats before prior coat has dried to the touch and does not leave a fingerprint. These application errors can cause the occurrence of surface bubbling as the top layer of RustSeal skins over like pudding and traps solvent gas underneath.


Please note that RustSeal is not intended for use as a final finish. Repeated or prolonged exposure to direct UV light will cause cosmetic alteration to its color and sheen. RustSeal’s guaranteed rust protective properties, however, will not degrade. In areas not exposed to direct UV light, like the underside of a car, RustSeal will seal as well as serve as a great looking final finish. To protect against unwanted cosmetic changes, topcoat RustSeal with any opaque paint system. Please note that a clear topcoat cannot provide the needed UV protection. Choose the closest color associated RustSeal primer to compliment your topcoat and protect against potential visible surface chips. KBS BlackTop is a high performance protective coating like RustSeal and is an ideal topcoat for all UV exposed chassis parts. When BlackTop is used as a topcoat over black RustSeal, it produces an incredibly tough and professional looking finish. To topcoat freshly coated RustSeal surfaces (less than 4 days old) using KBS BlackTop, apply a single coat of BlackTop to a clean surface as no other prep is required. For BlackTop applications older than 4 days or when using other topcoat brands, lightly sand the surface using 320 grit sandpaper and spray with KBS Fusion Self-Etching Primer to ensure good adhesion between the two coatings.


Use KBS #1 Thinner or lacquer thinner for immediate clean up including your spray gun. IMPORTANT: Remember RustSeal must be cleaned up before it dries. It cannot be removed by any solvent once cured. Always wear protective gloves to avoid skin contact and temporary staining. If skin contact accidentally occurs, immediately remove with #1 Thinner or lacquer thinner followed by soap and water. If RustSeal should stain your skin, only the course of time will remove it.

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