Fix Your Shop Front Rust

Fix Your Shop Front Rust

If you’ve navigated here, you are likely seeking the best method of repairing rust that could potentially overrun the front of your shop. When it comes to rust, particularly rust invading a shopfront, there are a few things that you can do to manage and eliminate it, but you have to be specific and intentional. However, what is the best way to remove rust from a shopfront?

The best way to remove rust is to submerge the rusted metal object in white vinegar. Do not dilute the vinegar before submersion. Then, leave the rusted object to soak for at least half an hour to an hour before scrubbing the rust off. This can be done multiple times until all rust is removed.

Rust is a major pain and is incredibly tedious to remove and clean up after, so it’s best to stay on top of the maintenance and cleaning of your storefront early on, before the rust gets really bad. There are simple enough ways to remove rust, but even simpler ways to prevent it from forming in the first place. Keep reading to find out how you can keep your storefront looking like new for years to come.

How Do I Remove Rust From My Shopfront?

Though it’s much preferred to eliminate any chance of rusting before it occurs, chances are that, as a shop owner, you’ll need to take care of a rust situation at some point in the future. Here’s how you should go about it.

What is the Fastest Way to Remove Rust from Metal?

The fastest, and generally most effective, way to remove rust from metal is to submerge and soak the rusted metal in natural white vinegar, or in other words, vinegar that is not diluted. In order to begin to break down the rust, you should leave the rusted material to soak in the vinegar for a minimum of thirty minutes. The longer you leave the vinegar on the better. (Source)

After the thirty minutes are up, you can begin scrubbing away the rust. The idea is that, through soaking the rusted material in the white vinegar, it will have been broken down enough to be scrubbed or scraped off by hand. You can scrub softened rust off of metal using anything coarse or rough. This could be a sponge, rag, toothbrush, dish scraper, steel wool, or anything else you can think of that would work that you have on hand.

Rust is easiest to remove from smaller objects, objects that can be submerged in a bowl or basin. However, if you’re dealing with metal window lining or poles that are rusted over, you’ll need to use much more elbow grease because it will be much harder. If the object you’re trying to remove rust from cannot be taken apart or removed because it is an integral part of the structure and function of your shopfront, you’ll need to get a spray bottle and something tough to scrape at the rust with.

If you are unable to spend the time needed to remove the rust from your shopfront, hiring someone to remove the rust from and clean your shopfront will most likely be the best use of your money and time.

Is There Another Way to Effectively Remove Rust from My Shopfront?

Another way to remove rust from metal is by using baking soda. Vinegar and baking soda work well at removing rust when paired, but you can use baking soda without vinegar. (Source)

To remove rust with baking soda, do the following:

  1. Wash your storefront’s metal with soap and water.
  2. Dry off your storefront completely.
  3. Dust all of the rusted metal with baking soda.
  4. Let the baking soda sit for 1-2 hours.
  5. Scrape the rust off of the metal.

After you remove the rust, you can treat the metal to prevent more rust from developing or leave it alone. How you treat the metal is up to you.

Do I Need to Use Chemicals to Maintain Metal that’s Recently had Rust Removed?

You don’t need to use chemicals to cleanse metal that’s recently been stripped of its rust. The best way to take care of metal after removing rust is to rinse it off with water, and then dry it with a towel. Leave the metal to air-dry afterward, and it will be fine.

You will know if your shopfront’s metal is beyond repair and if you need to replace it by looking at it after you have removed all of the rust. If it is severely damaged, you will need to hire an expert to fix up your shopfront. Although it will be expensive to do so, especially if a lot of work needs to be done, it will improve the exterior appearance of your shopfront, which will help bring in more customers.

What are the Causes of Rust?

If you’ve had to remove rust from large material, or perhaps even your entire shopfront, you’re probably wondering where that annoying rust even came from. Let’s find out.

What’s the Science Behind Rust?

Rust forms through contact between metal and acidic substances. For rust to occur, the element Iron (Fe) found, which is found in many metals, must be exposed to both oxygen and some type of moisture, most commonly being water. So, if enough water, or even just mist, is directly exposed to the metal on a shopfront and doesn’t dry quickly, your metal shopfront will begin to form and collect rust. (Source)

The reason why water and oxygen are prerequisites to the formation of rust is that the iron particles in the metal, when exposed to the moisture and oxygen particles, being to break down and corrode. When they are corroded, you start to see rust.

How Can I Prevent Rust from Forming?

Now that you understand what causes rust to form, let’s talk about how you can use that information to prevent the formation of rust in the first place.

One of the best ways to prevent rust from forming is through a process called galvanizing. Galvanizing is when you coat iron or any metal with a protective layer of zinc. (Source)

The reason that zinc protects metal from corrosion and rust is that the zinc itself has to corrode before the metal starts to corrode. As zinc ‘sacrifices’ itself for steel is called an oxidation-reduction reaction, or a redox reaction. (Source)

Another very common way to prevent rust from forming is by coating the metal (steel) with paint. Though the paint layer is thin and not extremely protective, it still protects the metal against elements like water. If you’re going to paint the metal portions of your shopfront, make sure that you use a thick layer of paint. Avoid using cheap paint that will chip or peel because this will result in rust forming that will just be even harder to scrape off.

One last way to prevent rust from forming is by coating all of the metal on your shopfront that could possibly be exposed to both oxygen and moisture with a rust-resistant powder, which you can buy specifically to prevent rust from forming. This powder is essentially a substance similar to the baking soda technique discussed earlier, it simply contains additional chemicals to help further protect the iron particles from corroding. (Source)

How Do I Prevent Rust From Spreading?

If your shopfront has already begun to develop rust, remember that rust can only occur when there is moisture. If you soak up all the moisture from the metal on your shopfront, the breaking down of the iron particles will stop, or at least slow significantly. (Source)

What Can I Do to Maintain my Shopfront Besides Managing Potential Rusting?

In addition to rust forming on the metal parts of your shopfront, there are other detrimental wear and tear aspects of cosmetic appearance that a shop owner, or cleaner, should be aware of. Below we will explore a few common bad habits that shop owners look past in the area of their shop’s street appearance, and how you can be sure to avoid falling prey to the same mistakes.

How Do I Best Keep My Shopfront Clean?

The best way to keep your shopfront clean is to hire a professional shop cleaner that cleans your shopfront weekly. For example, an owner could clean their shop windows on their own, or they can hire a professional to do it quicker and deliver a product that is much more professional looking.

If you want to save money, clean your storefront yourself. A good time to do so is in the morning or a few minutes before close when there are fewer customers in your shop.

The video below is an example of a good way to clean your shopfront windows if you’re looking to save money on hiring a cleaner. Like with window cleaning, you should make sure that every aspect of your storefront is cleaned extremely well.

What are the Hardest Parts of a Shopfront to Maintain?

The hardest part of a shopfront to maintain and keep decently clean is the public area right outside of it, meaning the sidewalk, outer windows, railings, and stairs. The reason that these parts of a shopfront are hardest to maintain is that they are public property and tend to collect trash abundantly in windy areas, especially because the wall of your storefront provides a stopper for the city trash flow that is moved by wind.

The best way to maintain the public area outside of a storefront is to have a worker whose job is specifically cleaning the outside storefront. Most shops pay such workers minimum wage, and it doesn’t hurt their profit at all. If anything, it helps their profits increase.

How Do I Make My Shop Look Newer and Modern?

If you’re looking to spiff up your shopfront’s look, you may not know it, but you’re looking to make it look newer. Let’s go through some of the best and most affordable ways to make your shopfront look newer and put together.

Update Your Sign

The very best way you can make your shop look newer and nicer is by getting a new sign, or by repainting and detailing the one you already have. Locals can tell just by the look of a sign how well maintained a shop is. Take care of your sign, replace it when necessary, and keep your shopfront looking fresh.

Repaint Your Shop’s Exterior

Another way to update and renew the look of your shopfront that’s just as good as updating your sign is repainting the exterior of your shop, or in other words, repainting your shopfront. For repainting your shopfront, I highly suggest hiring a professional painter, the main reason being that if you’re not accustomed to painting large surfaces and structures, the paint job will likely be uneven or splotchy.

It’s easier to hide splotchy paint during the day when it is light outside, so if you live in a bright area and serve people mostly during the day, you can attempt to paint it yourself. However, remember that while you’re painting, you will have to temporarily close your shop, and you may lose more money by painting it yourself rather than if you hire someone to do it for you.

This is because it will likely take much longer for you to finish painting your storefront than it would take for a professional painter to do so. You will have to close your shop for multiple days due to painting, which will make you lose money.

Rust and Keeping Your Shopfront Up to Par

Because you now know how rust forms, you can do things to prevent rust from forming so you never have to scrape the rust off of your storefront again.

Keeping your shopfront free of rust is integral to the upkeep of your shop’s exterior, so make sure you follow the instructions included above so you can keep your shopfront looking beautiful for years to come. If you start to see rust forming, do what you can to prevent it from spreading.