Rusty Fire Pit? Here’s How to Restore it to its Former Glory

You’re sitting next to your fire pit enjoying golden hour with a warm brew when all of a sudden…something reddish-brown catches your eye.

Is it? It can’t be. Say it ain’t so!

You’ve spotted rust on your fire pit. It’s an eyesore that you try to ignore, but it continues to grow and sour the ambiance of your meticulously designed outdoor living area.

Rust can be a pain to deal with, but luckily, there are plenty of solutions to get rid of it and prevent further degradation.

What is rust?

Iron oxide, or rust, occurs when iron and other alloys are exposed to moisture. Over time, this causes corrosion. For your fire pit, if you catch it early enough you can treat the light spots. If left unchecked, your fire pit can rust completely.

What do I need to treat rust?

You can salvage your fire pit and prevent rust from becoming a nuisance in the future. Start by gathering the right supplies for the job. You’ll need high-temperature metal paint and sealant. Look for products that can withstand 2,000 degrees.

Anything else? Here’s a handy checklist to keep in your pocket.

  • Steel wool
  • Rotary sander or sanding block
  • Sandpaper
  • Chemical rust dissolver

Step 1: Dissolve and scrub

Next, it’s time to use that elbow grease and sand down the rust spot(s). Start by spraying the chemical rust dissolver on the area and then use the steel wool to scrub it down until all of the rust is gone.

Step 2: Remove the paint

Next, use your sanding tool to remove the paint on your entire fire pit. You’ll want to sand every part of the pit until all of the paint is gone and the metal base is bare. Go over the pit a second time, but switch to finer sandpaper. The goal is to smooth out the metal surface so there are no pits or scratches.

Step 3: Seal and paint

Now’s the time to add a protective base of high-temperature metal sealant to prevent moisture from reaching the metal. Hold the can at least 2 feet from the fire pit and spray an even layer taking care not to layer too thickly, as this can result in bubbling.

After you have applied the first coat of sealant, apply a coat of the high-temperature metal paint, using the same technique as with the sealant spray. Wait a few minutes, then apply a second coat of paint.

Finish up with a final layer of sealant, then let your fire pit dry under shelter. 

More ways to protect your fire pit from rust

Now that your fire pit is refreshed and rust-free, it’s time to take proactive steps to keep it that way. The trick is to keep it from getting wet, so if you live in a coastal town or a humid, rainy region, these tips will come in handy.

  • Purchase a waterproof fire pit cover for when you’re not using your pit.
  • Store your fire pit in a shed, garage, or undercover.
  • Check the weather forecast before using your fire pit.
  • Make sure your pit has proper drainage so water does not pool inside.
  • Keep your pit lifted by placing pavers or blocks under the feet.
  • Clean your fire pit regularly to clear away dust, dirt, and debris.

What tips and tricks do you use to keep your fire pit in excellent shape? Tell us in the comments!


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