Rust and then some...
July 13, 2012 2:17 PM   Subscribe

What glue should I use to glue laminated fabric to rusty steel?

I asked a question here a bit back about a rusty refrigerator. Most of the suggestions involved scraping and painting, which does not work. We get rid of the rust and it comes back. Covering it in sheet metal is not practical.

It is really rusty. Not little spots, lots of rust. I live in a very tropical climate (80 F degrees most of the time with 80% or more humidity, no air conditioning, open windows all the time) and it is a cheap fridge. My landlord will not replace it unless it fails (even then I have my doubts!) SOOOO...

I have decided to cover it in oil cloth or a vinyl laminated cloth. What glue should I use? I would pretty much have to cover the entire unit. As I said, the doors are very rusty and the rust cannot be removed or there would be no door. I think a permanent spray adhesive would work, but I am not sure. Is there a glue that comes in a pail I can paint on?
posted by fifilaru to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
I think you may need to do something to seal the rust first to make a smooth surface. Otherwise, any glue you put on is just going to peel off the flaky rust layers bit by bit and drive you bonkers.

What this magical substance would be, I don't know. Good luck!
posted by phunniemee at 2:24 PM on July 13, 2012 gives advice about gluing things together. It recommends spray adhesive.

If it were me I would absolutely try painting the front with some sort of primer or sealant first to seal in the rust as much as possible. Otherwise I'm pretty sure the rust will seep through and stain the fabric brown pretty quickly. I'd go to the hardware store (or possibly to a marine repair place) for advice about what sealant to use. After sealing it, wait for it to cure *completely* and then adhere the fabric.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 2:46 PM on July 13, 2012

You want Rust Reformer to curtail and seal the rust, or else this is an exercise in futility. Then I'd just paint it but it would also form a surface you could theoretically adhere to. Plastic to metal requires epoxy.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:37 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

It doesn't sound like you need this to be reversible, but if you do, I would try rubber cement, or just stick the oil cloth to the fridge with magnets, maybe miter the corners and put them along the top and sides.
posted by mgar at 3:55 PM on July 13, 2012

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