Caring for Corten Steel

Caring for Corten Steel

When you receive your artwork from The Rusty Garden it will generally be a dull grey metal colour. This is how we receive the metal prior to cutting. It will leave some residue on you hands and this is normal to as there is sometimes WD40 used during cutting to clean splatter from the laser. We cannot send all of our products out prerusty as we quite often sell out of different items and have to make new ones quickly. 

The rusting process can take some time, so we recommend patience. It can be completely dependant on the moisture in the air. Someone close to the beach will obviously have an item become rusty faster than someone from Central west NSW. 

To commence the rusting process, we recommend that you throw some soapy water on your artwork to begin the rusting process. This can be used dishwater.  This will help to cut through the oily residue on the steel. The rusting process occurs as the item is wet and dry. So the more often this occurs the faster it will rust. So spritzing with water regularly will make it happen faster. 

We recommend keeping your sign or house numbers in a discreet place whilst they are rusting. If you install them they may bleed rust onto walls, pavers, concrete or tiles and create discolouration which can be hard to remove.

If you have multiple items such as a couple of house numbers please separate them. Don’t leave them stacked on top of each other as they rust they may leave funny marks on each other. We have discovered this from events and having rain get in our tubs leaving rooster tail marks on wombats etc.  Whilst this will eventually rust over it can take a little time. 

If you item has some light scratches prior to rusting do not be alarmed these will rust over. If it is one of our larger items it may arrive with an large circular mark or writing from the manufacturer, this is simply from the crane magnets used to lift the sheets and will rust over. If your item is heavily scratched once rusty it can take a while to rust over again. In saying that we have whipper snipped and had multiple indignities from our dog on to our corten pots and they still look great. 

It will go through multiple colours of rust from bright orange to dull chocolate brown. 


People ask about the longevity of corten steel this can be anywhere from 25 to 120 years depending on the thickness of material. So your 3mm artwork should generally last at minimum of 10 – 25 years. This can be extended with the use of Pentrol (available from Hardware stores) Once rusty it will look fantastic for years to come!

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