How To Fix Nail Head Rusting In Paint

Covering unsightly rust with paint

How To Fix Nail Head Rusting In Paint

How To Fix Nail Head Rusting In Paint

How To Fix Nail Head Rusting In Paint

A rusting nail that is still doing its job is harmless, right? Well, that very nail may actually be detracting from the overall appearance of an exterior wall, fence or other outdoor painted structure. The rusting nails can stain the painted surface. Replacing nails may be quite the ordeal, but if you follow these guidelines, you can cover them to improve the appearance of the surface.

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What is It?

How To Fix Nail Head Rusting In Paint

Nail Head Rusting

What is It?

A building’s beautiful outward appearance is what gives it curb appeal. Nail head rusting can ruin the overall impression.

  • If the nails are not made of galvanized metal, they are more likely to exhibit signs of rust. 

  • Over time, moisture conditions can cause rust stains to bleed to the top coat from rusty nail heads. 

  • The appearance of rusty nails makes the paint appear cracked, discolored and dull.


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How to Fix It

How To Fix Nail Head Rusting In Paint

Nail Head Rusting

How to Fix It

To remove nail head rusting from surfaces:

  • Sand* the nail heads.

  • Caulk the nail heads with acrylic caulk.

  • Apply a rust-inhibitive or stain-blocking primer to the nail heads and surrounding area.

  • Apply multiple primer coats to the nail heads.

  • Re-paint the surface.


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*WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust or fumes. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST OR FUMES CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a properly fitted NIOSH-approved respirator and prevent skin contact to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting the USEPA National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to www.epa.gov/lead.

How to Prevent It

How To Fix Nail Head Rusting In Paint

Nail Head Rusting

How to Prevent It

If no preventive steps are taken when painting a surface with nails for the first time, nail head rust will eventually rise to the top and cause rust stain.

This is especially the case when the nail heads have been sanded, with no other pre-painting preparation.

Caulking and priming the exposed nails prior to painting greatly reduces the risk of future nail head rusting problems.

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