I want to paint unpainted rusty and stained steel storm shutters for my Florida home. They are solid but not very attractive.They appear to have some type of chemical reaction on them as they are turning powdery and crusty in places. Any advice on how to go about repainting them. Thanks for your help.
Jim B. ~ Naples, Florida
Knowing that Naples, Florida fronts on some wonderful beaches which overlook the ocean, I wouldn't be surprised if the powdery residue on your storm shutters is salt corrosion. If the storm shutters went unpainted for a long time, the constant exposure to the salty ocean air would definitely effect the raw steel. Repainting you storm shutters should make them look great and add years of useful life to them.
The first thing you need to do is strip off the rust and corrosive residue. There are many rust and paint stripping products available, and most should be able to do the job. Keep in mind that some stripping products are toxic, and you should wear gloves, goggles, and a respirator when using them. If chemical strippers are not something you want to work with, you may consider "soda-blasting" the storm shutters. Soda-blasting is a process similar to sand-blasting, but baking soda is used instead of sand, so the resulting blast is less harsh and can be used on more delicate metal objects.
Once the metal has been stripped clean, you should apply a coat or two of paint primer, and preferably a primer that has a rust inhibiter mixed in it. Two coats of exterior paint should then be applied over the primer coat. If you have access to a paint sprayer, using it may help the painting job go quicker and the finished coat look smoother. Good luck with project and I hope that you get your storm shutters painted and installed before this summer's hurricane season!