Understanding The Difference Between Corrosion And Rusting

When you own a boat, a vehicle or a machine that is frequently exposed to wet and salty environments, then it is likely that rust and corrosion is something that concerns you. As you’re probably aware both of these common types of damage can frequently lead to essential parts needing to be repaired or replaced, and if you don’t protect against corrosion and rusting, then you’re almost guaranteed to experience issues with it.

Often, when talking about rust and corrosion, there is some confusion as to what they actually are and whilst they’re often used interchangeably, they are actually different types of damage. Of course, understanding the differences between corrosion and rusting can help to ensure that you’re adequately protecting against them both. So, if you’re wondering what corrosion and rusting are, what causes them and how to ensure boat corrosion protection, keep reading today.

What is corrosion?

Rusting and Corrosion

Simply put, corrosion is the process where both metals and non-metals break down as a result of oxidation. Corrosion can affect a wide range of different products and objects, and this destruction and un-intentional degradation will cause the useful properties of materials to deteriorate, including strength and permeability, for example.


Due to the fact that corrosion occurs when a surface is exposed to oxygen in the air, the environment something is kept or used in will directly impact how much a material is affected by corrosion. However, it is worth pointing out that some materials are more prone to corrosion than others.

What is rusting?

Rusting is a type of corrosion and it only occurs on products and objects that are made of iron or iron alloys, like steel. Rusting happens when a surface is exposed to both oxygen and water or moisture, and the iron undergoes a chemical reaction that forms iron oxide.

When iron or steel, or other alloys, start to rust in one place, it often spreads and the whole metal surface will eventually disintegrate and be unusable. Unlike corrosion that can be different colours depending on the material it is affecting, rust is always a reddish-orange-brown colour and it is fairly easy to spot.

How do you prevent corrosion and rusting?

Lanoguard Under Chassis

Thankfully, whilst there are clear differences between corrosion and rusting, they can both be prevented. One of the most common ways to effectively protect against these deteriorations of materials is to coat the surface and create a physical barrier, stopping it from being exposed to air and moisture. There are different coats available that can be used to prevent corrosion and rusting, such as powders, paints, plastics and waxes, all of which are very affordable.

Using something like an outdoor grease or an outdoor spray that is specifically designed to hermetically seal the surface so oxidation can’t occur is one of the easiest ways to ensure boat corrosion protection. They can be incredibly effective and reduce the likelihood of repairs and replacements being required.

Of course, it is essential to ensure that the grease or spray that you use is non-evaporative and non-perishing as well as salt, acid, alkaline, petroleum, heat and jet wash resistant to ensure that it won’t be displaced and it will keep providing the protection that you need.

Protecting against both corrosion and rusting

corrosion and rusting difference

Hopefully, if you were looking to find out more about the differences between corrosion and rusting, the information above will be beneficial. Now that you know what both rust and corrosion really are and what causes these common types of damage, you can ensure that you’re protecting your boat, vehicle or machinery from them. Once you have ensured boat corrosion protection, you can have peace of mind that you won’t have any costly or timely repairs and replacements to deal with.

When searching for products that can help you with boat corrosion protection, be sure to visit the Lanoguard website. We are a small British family business that specialises in manufacturing marine productsautomotive products and blends of sprays and grease for both domestic and commercial markets to provide an alternative solution to those which are hazardous. We have spent decades innovating and perfecting our products, so you can always purchase from us in confidence whenever you’re looking for products to protect against corrosion and rusting.