How to Prevent Light Fixtures from Rusting

How to Prevent Light Fixtures from Rusting

terracast Blog

A rusted lighting fixture doesn’t look good and creates an unappealing eyesore. Luckily, there are a couple things you can do to prevent light fixtures from rusting, regardless if they are on a residential or commercial property.

Why Do Lighting Fixtures Rust?

Unless you invest in lighting fixtures that are resistant to rust, it can be rather difficult to prevent it from occurring. After all, rust is a natural electrochemical process that occurs when metals return to their unrefined state. For rust to occur, all it takes is a combination of iron, oxygen, and moisture—all of which are naturally found indoors and outdoors. The addition of natural minerals, chemicals, and fluctuations in temperature only cause rust to occur faster. Iron and oxygen are oppositely charged, which means they innately want to combine. Yet, when they come together iron loses electrons in exchange for oxygen atoms—a process known as oxidization. When oxidization occurs, a chemical reaction leads to Ferric Oxide, aka rust.

The #1 Way to Prevent Light Fixtures from Rusting

The easiest solution to prevent light fixtures from rusting is to buy rust-resistant fixtures. A fixture that is specially designed to resist rust regardless of exposure to moisture or salinity is your best bet for long lasting lighting fixtures.

It’s harder to find truly rust-resistant lighting fixtures than you may think. Many metal fixtures are topped with a powder coat or baked enamel that is intended to protect it against corrosion. This works to provide some rust-resistance, but only for a short period of time. All it takes is a couple chips in the outer exterior of the fixture and moisture can get inside, allowing rust and corrosion to take shape.

TerraCast lighting fixtures are made from a truly rust resistant resin that is durable and maintenance free. There’s no need to paint it, polish it, or sand it… ever! Since it is made from Linear Low-Density Polyethylene resin, it is non-porous and non-hydroscopic, which means moisture doesn’t stand a chance at getting in.

How to Remove Rust Stains

Let’s say you’ve already purchased a lighting fixture that has rusted… now what? There are a few things you can do to try and remove rust stains. In some cases, it is literally impossible to remove rust stains without damaging the surface or finish of the fixture.

Here are some things you can do to see if rust stains are removeable:

  • Wipe down the fixture with a clean cloth to remove any dust, debris, etc.
  • Soak a towel in vinegar and then use it to rub the stain. The acidic content of the vinegar will help break down mild stains, but it may take a few attempts and some serious arm power to do the trick. 
  • Create a mixture of baking soda and a little bit of water so that you get a paste-like consistency. Coat the stained surface areas with the baking soda paste and let it sit for around 30 minutes. Then, using a clean rag, rub at the surface and remove all traces of paste. You may need to repeat this process several times.
  • Another similar technique you can try involves mixing lemon juice and cream of tartar to create a paste. Apply to the surface and then use a plastic scrub pad to work at the area. The acid in the lemon can help break down mild rust stains.
  • Try to scrub at rust stains with toothpaste and a clean rag. Common toothpastes offer a mildly abrasive cleaner that may help if the above methods do not work.

What if Existing Light Poles Are Rusting?

The most common place you’ll spot rust on a light pole is near the bottom. That’s because the bottom tends to get the most wear and tear—this is where dogs lift their legs to pee, weed whackers take a stab at the exterior, and sprinklers regularly spray their mist. Thankfully, you don’t have to replace the entire light pole just because it has begun to corrode at the bottom. As we like to say: why replace when you can rebase?

Our Light Post Base allows you to add a new base to the bottom of any standard 3 or 5-inch diameter pole. There are two different options, a Clamshell and Drop-Over. The Clamshell wraps around the pole, while the drop-over slips over the top and fits around the bottom. By changing the base of a light pole, you upgrade the entire look while helping to prevent further deterioration, thus extending the lifeline of the pole. Learn more about our Light Pole Bases.

In addition, we offer a unique Post Cover that fits over most standard sized lighting poles. It easily slips over the pole, providing a more appealing and refreshed look. Additionally, it provides protection from additional damages, helping lighting fixtures last longer so you save money. Learn more about our unique Light Post Covers