Alternatives to Abrasive blasting

Sandblasting, water blasting, and labor-intensive grinding are common methods of restoration and surface prep for rusty metal parts or structures prior to coating application.

However, these methods are sometimes prohibited or simply do not meet your unique surface prep needs for a variety of reasons. If this is the case, what are other options for surface prep as an alternative to abrasive blasting?

Is abrasive blasting right for you?

Abrasive blasting can be a useful tool in your surface prep arsenal yet can be time consuming and come with a high cost to the environment and workers in addition. It requires special equipment, special personal protective equipment (PPE), scaffolding set-up, tarpaulins, etc. Waste from sandblasting is normally classified as hazardous waste – further increasing costs.

In highly sensitive equipment areas, process facilities onboard, these methods are sometimes prohibited or are more harmful to the surroundings than desired, increasing the risk of equipment downtime in operation at a later stage. If this is the case, what are other options for surface prep as an alternative to abrasive blasting?

Simplify surface prep with a VpCI® rust converting primer

In many cases, surface prep can be simplified with the use of a VpCI® rust converting primer. These primers can be used almost anywhere a tight layer of surface rust is present.

Rather than requiring special equipment or labor-intensive abrasion to remove the corrosion, users simply need to brush off loose rust before priming right over the surface.

Once the surface is primed and passivated, it can be top-coated with either a water-based or solvent-based paint (urethanes, epoxies, acrylics, and alkyds) for further protection and aesthetics.


Advantages to using an environmentally friendly VpCI® rust converting primer for surface prep

Traditional coatings rely on sacrificial metals (zinc, chromates, aluminum) for inhibition. Due to the large particle size of these inhibitors, gaps exist which allow corrosion to start and eventually expand, causing coating failure. Cortec® Nano VpCI™ coatings use patented VpCI® technology to protect the metal substrate with a tight bonding molecular structure. This system eliminates the gaps which occur with traditional inhibitors and prevents corrosion from starting.

To address the need for surface prep with a VpCI® rust converting primer, Cortec® offers an easy-to-use but effective surface prep alternative to abrasive blasting or grinding called CorrVerter® Rust Converter Primer. Users simply need to brush off loose rust before priming right over the surface.

CorrVerter® is a fast-drying, water-based one-component primer for rusty surfaces. It contains a unique formulation of chelating agents combined with a high solids waterborne latex that has extremely low water vapor permeability. The combination of these materials converts surface rust into a hydrophobic passive layer, creating a specialty primer with excellent protection against re-rusting of metal surfaces.

In addition to simplifying surface prep, CorrVerter® has several other advantages. Namely:

  • As a water-based, single-component system coating, CorrVerter® is a more environmentally responsible option and easy to clean up.
  • Can be top coated with water- and solvent-based topcoats vs. tannic or phosphoric acid-based coatings, which can only be top coated with solvent-based topcoats.
  • Provides excellent protection against re-rusting (better than tannic or phosphoric acid-based converters)

Other benefits:

  • Extremely low VOC of 12 g/L. (0.1 lbs./gal)
  • Environmentally friendly, non-toxic
  • Non-flammable, non-combustible
  • Works in HCl, H2S, SO2, & CO2 vapor environments

CorrVerter® Rust Converter Primer Applications

CorrVerter® has numerous applications and has been used around the world for:

  • Extending the life of rental equipment
  • Restoration of corrosion on agricultural equipment
  • Restoration of corroded electrical piers
  • Priming of sunflower oil reservoirs where blasting was prohibited
  • Preservation of steel that would have been damaged by the force of mechanical rust removal
  • Passivation of rusty equipment and structural surfaces in oil and gas layup projects
  • Surface prep of rusty rebar for concrete repairs
  • Restoration/preservation of rusty downhole casing joint pipe exteriors
  • Touch up in ballast tanks, high salination tanks

Using a VpCI® rust converting primer as an alternative to abrasive blasting

CorrVerter® Rust Converter Primer is an excellent coating to have on hand for easy passivation and surface prep of corroded metals. Maintenance teams, painters, and concrete contractors will find that CorrVerter® opens up the exciting prospect of making life easier in the face of corrosion.

Interested in learning more about our preservation and corrosion protection products and services? Contact Presserv at or for more information.

Click below to learn more about the removable and permanent coatings we offer.

John Vareberg Holgersen, Preservation Lead Projects

John Vareberg Holgersen, Preservation Lead Projects