What Is The Best Way To Prevent Rusty Nails On Deck & Porch Floors & Steps From Looking Like Rust Spots?

When going about life each day, certain things are bound to catch your eye more so than others.

One such thing falling within this category in the home improvement world certainly can be the unsightly rust spots that are found bleeding through the finish on deck and porch floors and steps.

These are not only non-cosmetically appealing, but they can also be frustratingly annoying as they are not necessarily the easiest things to get rid of.

I have had many conversations with folks that have reached out over the years about this issue and are often exasperated at their attempts to keep these pesky buggers from bleeding through.

Short of completely obliterating your deck or porch and starting from scratch, there are only a few different options of how to combat these.

Option 1:

Prep the rusted nail heads – i.e. sand them really well, then apply a rust inhibiting primer that is meant to be used on rusted metal to the areas that have rusted.

You may want to hit them with two coats of the primer instead of one.

Of added assistance may be utilizing a ‘rust converter’ at some point prior to applying the primer to aid in getting rid of as much of the rust as possible prior to applying the primer.

After applying the final coat of primer, apply two coats of your finish. Depending on the situation, this may mean applying the first coat just to the problematic nail head areas and then hitting the whole area with a complete finish coat or it may mean applying two finish coats to the whole area right from the very beginning.

Option 2:

Either on its own or as a hybrid option with the steps listed in ‘Option 1’, set the nails.

We are already well aware that the rust associated with these nails is quite persistent.

Setting the nails (taking a nail set or like device and driving the nail with a hammer deeper into the place it is nailed into) and then chasing it with a specialized epoxy from Next Generation Systems (found at https://www.nxtgensys.com/) which can be used on horizontal surfaces may prove fruitful.

A friend of mine from Upstate New York invented these epoxies that are really remarkable.

Serving as a barrier for rust was certainly not the intent when the product was invented.

But with the system’s ability to hold up better on horizontal surfaces than any other epoxy that I am aware of on the market, I believe this angle may be worth the shot, especially if used in combination with the steps in ‘Option 1’ up until the point right before the primer is applied.

Best approach with doing things this way would be to:

– Rid the nail head of rust as best as possible

– Apply the 1st coat of the rust inhibiting primer

– Drive the nail in as deep as you can

– Apply the 2nd coat of rust inhibiting primer as best as possible

– Apply the epoxy system

– Prep the epoxy

– Prime the epoxy

– Apply your finish coat system appropriately

Option 3:

This option requires TONS of elbow grease and can be looked at as a bit of a ‘rip the band-aid off’ approach.

Recently a Client had us do this and although painstaking, is definitely effective.

This option involves, literally, taking up all the existing boards where the rusting is occurring, extracting all of the rusting fasteners, and then refastening the boards with stainless steel screws.

Of the 3 Options, this is the one that involves the biggest surgery as you really have to be in tune, focused, and patient to work your way through things and methodically eliminate all of the potential areas of rust.

Although beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, it is no secret that rusted nail heads popping through on people’s decks and porches are not considered the most attractive thing to look at by pretty much anyone I can think of.

Fortunately, if you have the wherewithal to tolerate a correction process which may require varying degrees of difficulty, the rusted polka dotted appearance of your deck or porch is not something you are forced to live with forever!

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