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Old 10-23-2013, 12:14 PM   #1
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Question re cleaning up rusty metal medicine cabinet


Have a 1931 built-in bathroom medicine cabinet with the original mirrored glass front. The mirror has beautiful etching but needs to be re-silvered, so I've removed the mirror and sent it off for re-silvering. The area the mirror is mounted to has a few areas of rust (see pic); the parts of the mirror directly over those rust areas are stained. So I'm currently removing the rust, down to the bare metal, with a small rotary wire brush.

I'm thinking of using brush-on Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer. My questions are:

1. Is the Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer a good primer for this case?

2. Since the area being primed will never be seen once the mirror is back up, do I actually need to topcoat after priming? Or is a topcoat necessary for full protection?

3. If I only need to prime, how many coats? If I also need to topcoat, what type of paint should I use?

Thanks.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:09 PM   #2
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Question re cleaning up rusty metal medicine cabinet


Yes, the Rusty Metal Primer would be good for that. It will hold rust on its own with no top coat.
I have done barn roofs with the RMP with no top coat, and they have held up for years.

For an interior application you should have no problem just priming it only.

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Old 10-23-2013, 03:17 PM   #3
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Question re cleaning up rusty metal medicine cabinet


If you are cleaning the rust off you could also use rustoleum's clean metal primer. It is for light rust, painted, and freshly cleaned metal. I used it on a truck chassis (cleaned then it got surface rust) with no topcoat (yet) and it has held up great. I was told that the rusty metal primer does not adhere good to clean metal because of some kind of oil used to allow it to adhere to the rust. I have not tried, just was told.
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:27 PM   #4
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Question re cleaning up rusty metal medicine cabinet


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Originally Posted by Centex2011 View Post
If you are cleaning the rust off you could also use rustoleum's clean metal primer. It is for light rust, painted, and freshly cleaned metal. I used it on a truck chassis (cleaned then it got surface rust) with no topcoat (yet) and it has held up great. I was told that the rusty metal primer does not adhere good to clean metal because of some kind of oil used to allow it to adhere to the rust. I have not tried, just was told.
Sigh! I just finished applying the rusty metal primer, after having drill brushed off all the rust. I checked at the Rustoleum web site, and it says:

"Q: Can I use Rusty Metal Primer on clean metal?
A: No. The fish oil that is in the primer needs to penetrate into rust to seal out air and moisture. If there is no rust, the oil will rise to the surface making adhesion of the finish coat difficult."

But since I'm not applying a finish coat, perhaps it will be OK?
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:41 PM   #5
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Question re cleaning up rusty metal medicine cabinet


I just called the Rustoleum product support line, and here's what they said: They changed the formulation for their Rusty Metal Primer in 2010, at which time they stopped using fish oil in it. I read him the code number on the lid of the can, and he said my can was manufactured in 2012, so I definitely have the new formulation. Therefore he said I was OK! He apologized that the web site hasn't been updated with that info yet. I also asked him with the new formulation when would one choose between the clean metal primer and the rusty metal primer, and he said the RMP is still better at dealing with rust, plus it's thicker. Anyway, it looks like I dodged a bullet.
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:46 PM   #6
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Question re cleaning up rusty metal medicine cabinet


That's interesting, I noticed that RMP changed in recent years. It is a slightly different color than it used to be, and it smells different.

For an interior/covered space it should be fine either way.

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