One of the biggest challenges when protecting your tools over the long run is keeping them free from rust, and that’s easier said than done. Rust is the sworn enemy of good tools, and even damp air alone can wreak havoc on them. This article covers how to avoid rust on your tools. Storing tools in a garage might seem like a wise way to keep them rust-free and out of the elements – and it is – but even in this environment, rust can form and potentially ruin your best tools. With the advice below, hopefully, you can avoid that and keep your equipment in good condition.
And remember, if you don’t own a garage yet where your tools can live and be used, turn to Carport Kingdom for help with that project. We offer affordable and durable metal structures that you can customize for nearly any situation. Try our Build & Price tool to see what’s possible, and contact us if you have any questions along the way.
The Basics of Rust
While rust might seem mysterious and complicated, it’s really a simple chemical reaction. Without letting this article turn into science class, it’s important to go over the basics of what rust is and why it might form on your tools. That knowledge can go a long way in making decisions that will avoid a rusty future.
To start with, you need the right kind of metal for rust even to be an issue. The two vulnerable metals are iron and steel – of course, most of your tools are likely made from steel, which is why they are at risk. You might also have something like a cast iron top on a table saw that could be vulnerable to rust problems.
In a vacuum, steel and iron would be unaffected by rust permanently because they won’t rust all on their own. For rust to become present, you need water and oxygen. Since water and oxygen are everywhere, those conditions aren’t hard to come by, and rust is an ongoing problem that requires attention to fight off successfully.
Start with a Great Structure
At this point, the mission is clear: Keep moisture away from your tools. You probably won’t store your tools in vacuum bags, so cutting down moisture and humidity will be enough to prevent rust from becoming a big problem. The first step towards maintaining a dry garage is having a solid structure that keeps rain on the outside where it belongs. If you opt for a cheap garage, or if your current garage is decades old, you might find small drips and leaks coming in from the outside. Those leaks don’t have to land on your tools to cause problems. Even if the leak is over in a corner away from where you keep the tools, it will add to the humidity in the garage, and you could be facing rust soon enough.
Buying a quality garage from Carport Kingdom will be a big help when trying to keep water out of your space. As long as you keep the carport in good condition and treat it properly, you won’t be dealing with water coming into the room anytime soon. To show how serious we are about keeping moisture out and fighting off rust, we offer a 20-year rust-free guarantee on our 12-gauge products.
Care for Your Tools
Another important step toward a rust-free future in your garage is properly caring for your tools. You should already be doing this for plenty of other reasons, like making sure your tools continue to do their job as they should, but a well-maintained tool is far less likely to rust than one that was neglected.
Getting into the simple habit of wiping down your tools will help avoid rust and promote longevity for your tools. As a starting point, always clean off your tools after you use them. Even if you leave a little bit of dirt or grime on the tool, those dirty spots can become damaged on the surface – and that microscopic damage will open up an opportunity for moisture to get in and start the rusting process.
Along those same lines, proper storage is another critical piece of this puzzle. When you finish with your tools for the day, where do they go? If you have been leaving them down on the ground, it’s time to find a better solution. They shouldn’t be on the ground, and they shouldn’t be anywhere that they could accidentally become damaged. Placing your tools gently inside cabinets or toolboxes will keep them safe and out of the way. You’ll also find that your garage is a more enjoyable place to work when everything is kept tidy.
Include Ventilation in the Design
We said earlier that it is essential to have a garage that is up to the task of protecting your tools from the elements outside. That is still true, but occasionally, you might want to invite those elements inside to freshen up the air and lower the humidity in your garage. Over time, if the doors always stay closed, humidity is likely to increase, and your rust risk will go up along with it.
Adding a few windows and opening them on nice days will do wonders; this is an easy addition to make when you shop with Carport Kingdom, as we make all of our building designs customizable to help match the needs of each customer.
Hello, fresh spring days, summer sunshine, and autumn breezes! Simply choose a location for a window or two and then open those windows up on nice days to let the airflow through your space. Tools aren’t the only ones that will benefit from this added feature – you’ll also find the garage far more comfortable and welcoming with windows.
Protection from Below
One of the most significant sources of moisture in garages comes from the ground. If you build a garage on an unfinished foundation, moisture will always be present in the ground, sweating into the air inside. During certain times of the year, this can create an incredibly humid environment that will be tough to combat any rust-proofing measures.
The answer is to have a quality concrete pad poured before you build your garage. Some moisture can come up through the concrete and into the space, but it should be minimal. The air will stay drier with this arrangement, and you’ll also have a nice sturdy, flat surface to work on your projects. Yes, the upfront cost of your garage project will be higher if you need to have a concrete pad poured, but that’s an investment you will be glad you made when looking back a few years down the line.
Add an After-Market Product
In humid climates, like the Southeastern and Northeastern coasts of the United States, the fight against rust will always be an uphill battle. Even if you do your best to reduce moisture in the air, Mother Nature is a mighty opponent. For this reason, many products on the market are made with a coating that keeps tools from rusting.
You can find these products at auto stores and various tool suppliers, as well as online. You’ll want to pick one that is easy to apply, doesn’t leave an unwelcoming coating or film on the tool, and doesn’t have to be reapplied repeatedly. Suppose your local climate features a humid season and a drier season. In that case, you may only need to use the rust protection product when the air is exceptionally moist – it might not be necessary throughout the rest of the year. (Humidity tip: Black oxide coating works wonders against rust in humid environments.)
Pay Attention to the Surrounding Area
Another sneaky way to add humidity to your garage is to have too many plants outside near the building. If you plant a bunch of bushes and flowers to surround your garage, it will look pretty – but you’ll be inviting moisture into the area, which will likely make the surrounding air more humid. Going with a minimalist design and landscaping around the garage is the better way to go, and it will save you some maintenance work at the same time. Succulents and cacti are great landscaping choices if you love plants but don’t want moisture. Additionally, if you live in a particularly dry area, succulents and cacti are also good candidates for fire-resistant borders because they contain water, which makes them less flammable.)
Regulate Temperature Changes
You certainly want to avoid condensation landing on any tools in your garage, and condensation is likely to occur when large temperature swings happen between day and night. For example, if it is relatively warm during the day, but the temperatures then plummet on a clear night, it’s almost certain that condensation will be a result. That condensation will make rust far more likely to impact your collection of tools – especially the large ones that can’t be put away in a box.
One of the best ways to reduce temperature swings is to add insulation to your building. With good insulation in place – as you can get from Carport Kingdom when you select this option for your new metal structure – the variation in temperature between day and night inside your carport will be significantly less.
Carport Kingdom Has You Covered
Paying attention to the basics we have outlined above will go a long way toward avoiding problems with rust on your tools. It might take a bit of work to manage these variables and prevent the conditions that make rust possible, but that work will be worth it when you get a long useful life out of your tools and don’t have to spend money on expensive replacements. If you want to add a garage to your property as a new home for your set of tools, reach out to Carport Kingdom today to get started. Remember to check out our free Build & Price tool, and contact us if you have any questions along the way.