By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
New Delhi, Jan 3: Most of us, at some point or the other, have been bestowed with generationally preserved keepsakes. Whether it be a rustic wooden photo frame, silver plated dinner set, handcrafted cast iron mirror, or metallic showpieces and collectibles; it is hard to let go of certain exclusive elements, especially if they are a part of our home. These are the objects you want to handle with utmost care.
What better time than the holiday season to get these decor items out to prep the house for the festivities? We all know the power these decor pieces hold when it comes to elevating the appearance of any space. But no matter how excellent the quality of the decor item is, it can’t always endure the changing weather conditions and rising levels of indoor pollution. This is especially true with metallic decor pieces and accessories that hold exceptional longevity but often get enveloped with rust and scrapes.
The silver lining is that Palash Agrawal, Founder, and Chief Design Officer of Vedas Exports shares several ways you can maintain and protect your metal art from wearing down so that you can enjoy them for years to come while ensuring they are as close to their original state as possible.
Powder Coat your Metal Figurines
The powder coating technique has efficiently substituted the traditional painting method. This is because powder-coated finishes are thicker, more durable, and more challenging than their conventional counterparts. Powder coating involves layering the metal art with a well-cured dry pigment powder, which is applied with the help of a powder coating gun. Once the product is powder coated, you can expose it to heat to improve its longevity.If you apply a layer of primer first (in a powder-coated form), your metal art will certainly resist corrosion and oxidation in the long run.
Opt for Commercial Cleaners
If your decor items were left in storage, mostly unattended, they have likely formed a thick layer of rust, which will not come off easily. For such stubborn rust stains, a commercial rust cleaner can come to your rescue. These cleaners are found in either liquid or jelly form that can instantly dissolve the rust on your metallic decor items. Irrespective of the nature of the product, it is recommended to take precautionary measures like wearing gloves and a mask when dealing with them since they contain harsh and toxic chemicals.
Apply a Light Application of a Clear Coat
This commonly recommended technique is used to protect artworks, especially pieces exposed to excessive sunlight or moisture. Clear coating is best suited to metal decor objects with a powder coating layer; offering added shielding from acid, UV rays, rain, mildew, and chlorine. The good part is that a clear coat is non-pigmented and transparent and can be easily applied to a metal material and paintwork. However, note that clear coating demands re-application from time to time, without which the artwork is likely to get rusted after a few months.
Try a UV Protection Spray
Most of us thought a UV protection spray was meant to protect our skin and hair, but now you can also use it to preserve your metal decor. Though metal itself remains unaffected by harmful UV rays due to the presence of free electrons that absorb light, the paint covering the object can fade, bleach, and crack. Here is where the UV protectant spray helps and extends the life of the decor product.
Use Sandpaper for Rust Removal
If you do not want to use harsh chemicals on your products, try sanding the surface till the bare metal is visible. You can try sandpaper with fine grit between 24 to 80. If the object still appears rusty, use a coarser grit till the rust is removed, and a smooth surface is attained. If you are uncertain about manual sanding, get a machine sander to fasten the process. If you notice rust chips or flaking paint, remove them with a wire brush before sanding.
With some of these maintenance techniques, you can rustproof your precious metal decor and extend its shelf life beyond just a few years. But remember to repeat one of these processes at least once or twice a year to maintain the look and quality of your decor items for years to come. We assure you those added efforts won’t go in vain!