Repaired areas where the metal was completely broken through. JB Weld and Homax Porcelain Chip Fix were used. (Ignore the baked on grease around pilot lights that won’t come off!)
I Wanted to Repair My Stove Surfaces
I love my stove. OK, my stove is 40 years old, but I don’t care, I’m old too. I don’t care for many of the features of modern stoves, and I want this one to last till I’m done cooking for good. I managed to coerce the repairman into to trying harder a few years ago to find a needed part, and he succeeded. So far, so good.
But, there were some issues. It’s not just that the enamel was chipped. The areas beside the burners that were probably intended to keep spills from running down the sides had been damaged by those 40 years of being overheated. Not only was the enamel gone, the metal had corroded through. There were long slots open to the area beneath the burners, and the edges of the metal were brittle and crumbling. I had to find some way to stop the damage from increasing.
I used two different products to complete the job, at a total cost of about $10. This is never going to look like a new stove again, but I stopped the structural damage, and improved the look a whole lot. This was my goal, and I’m pleased. If you need your appliance to look like new, you’d need to do a more careful job than I did. Or maybe, get a new appliance. Repairs never look like the original.
Fixing Holes in Appliances
The largest hole after repair with JB Weld. Stable and strong, but dark gray in color.
To fix the holes, I used JB Weld. This product is a cold weld epoxy system that supposedly can be used to fix all kind of damaged surfaces including metal (my application), ceramic tile, wood, plastic, concrete, and fiberglass.
I started by breaking out any loose metal flakes and scrubbing the remaining surface really well with Dawn dish soap to remove any grease buildup. When I had it clean, I let it dry thoroughly. But now my holes were even bigger!
The JB Weld has two tubes. You have to squeeze an approximately equal part from each tube onto a disposable surface and mix them together. I used a piece of cardboard and a plastic spoon handle.
With my fairly large holes, I knew I’d need some sort of backing to be able to fill them in. Screen probably would have been a better choice, but at the time I thought of aluminum foil, and this seems to have worked fine. I held the foil on the back side of the hole, and filled in with the epoxy. Once you mix a batch you have 20-25 minutes to use that much up. I worked with small amounts at a time and gradually built up a solid surface that filled the holes. I had to spread it over a slightly wider area for strength.
I was able to smooth the surface somewhat with the plastic spoon handle, but realized I’d need to sand the dried surface to get it really smooth.
Curing the Epoxy
The JB Weld recommends waiting 4-6 hours before handling repaired items, and 15 hours before putting them back into use. That was easy. I just didn’t use the burners for a day.
As it turns out, my ability to procrastinate allows me to tell you that the metal repair has held up really well. I did this first step four months ago. No cracks or breaks have appeared, and the repaired places seem really strong.
Of course, the JB Weld cures a dark gray. The picture is one of the three large holes, after repair. I guess I didn’t take a picture of the damage before I began. It didn’t look any worse than the holes did, but I decided to try for white again.
Preparing for the Enamel Repair
When I bought the epoxy weld, I also bought a product called Homax Porcelain Chip Fix. It’s also a two part epoxy product, and it says it’s for porcelain, ceramic and enamel repairs.
First, I needed to sand down the welded spots. The JB Weld sanded well. I started with 100 grit sandpaper, and finished with some 800 emery cloth which was probably too fine, but it’s what I had on hand.
Let me say that if you want a nice smooth surface you probably need to sand with a power tool. I have a Dremel Hobby tool that would have fit in those curved spaces, and I could have used that. However, I was concerned with thinning the area too much and causing breaks to re-occur. As I said, these were large areas and I wasn’t trying to make the stove look brand new. But I got the patched areas leveled fairly well. Then I washed and dried the areas to be treated.
Even if you are using the Homax product on a simple chip or scratch, rather than a repaired area, they recommend sanding first to smooth the edges.
The Enamel Repair
Homax Porcelain Chip Repair after mixing the two liquids. Note the very small brush provided.
The Homax Porcelain Chip Fix comes in two small glass vials. You have to mix the contents of these together. They suggest using the plastic bubble pack front as a mixing tray, which I did. Use a toothpick or something similar and disposable, and mix for a minute. Then let the mixture sit for an hour to allow it to start thickening.
I was surprised at how sticky it was after that hour. It seemed difficult to spread, but on the other hand, it didn’t drip. As it turns out, it was a good thing it’s so thick. Anyway, there is a brush provided with the enamel kit. It’s like a cheap art paintbrush with a handle about 1.5 inches long. I have small hands and agile fingers and it was difficult to use. Anyone with large hands is going to have trouble with that. Buy a cheap small brush you can throw away.
They recommend two or three thin coats with two hours between each one. Because the product was sticky, I didn’t feel that I was able to put on a thin coat, but I did the best I could. If you drip where you don’t want to, just wipe up with a damp paper towel.
They said to put the extra enamel in the freezer to keep it from setting up. You can do this for up to eight hours. Just take it out about ten minutes before you want to use it again. I just set the tray in the freezer with the brush in it.
Because some of my areas of repair were vertical, I learned that you want the product to be as sticky as it was. The enamel had slumped a little bit, but hadn’t really become runny enough to be an issue.
What I learned with the second coat, by accident, would have been helpful to use earlier. There was lots of the Homax enamel product, so not only did I paint over my repaired places, but I covered over a number of other spots that were chipped. I find it impossible to keep my fingers out of solutions to problems, so at one point I licked my finger and tried smoothing the wet enamel surface. It worked great!
So, I got a container of water (suspecting that licking my epoxy-coated finger wasn’t a great idea), and after applying the next coat of Homax Porcelain Chip Fix I wet my finger and ran it over the surface. By doing this lightly, not even what I’d call rubbing it, the surface smoothed nicely and the edges feathered out to the original surface.
A badly chipped corner of the griddle cover that I decided to re-enamel since there was plenty of product.
The newly enameled surface of the same chipped corner after curing. I smoothed this section with a wet finger after applying the Homax Porcelain Chip Fix.
I was surprised at how much surface I was able to cover from those two tiny bottles. Not only did I put two coats of enamel on my patched areas, but I touched up most of the other chips and scrapes on the stove surface. I don’t have much hope that it will last well on those perpetually bumped griddle cover corners, but it was worth a try.
Curing the Enamel
They say to wait 24-48 hours before using the repaired item, and 5 days of cure time before submersing in water or cleaning. One drawback of the enamel repair is that it says not to use abrasive cleaners. I probably will just scrub it as needed and see what happens.
The Final Results
This is the enameled section shown in a previous picture after the repair portion of the project.
How do you think it looks? I’m really pleased. Remember, I chose not to sand it smooth, preferring to keep the epoxy weld a little thicker. People get old and lumpy, and so can my stove. The important parts still work.
The JB Weld performed better than I expected. It filled in the broken areas reinforced with a backing, and has remained strong and solid. I only used about a third of the product in the tubes.
The Homax Porcelain Chip Fix did a good job. It works really well on small areas, and well enough on larger areas, particularly if they are smoothed better than I did before application. The enamel epoxy covered a lot more area that I expected, and I threw a small amount away even after fixing more chips than I had planned. I’ll report on its durability after some time has passed.
How to Repair Damaged Appliance Enamel
This system with two kinds of epoxy repair products worked well enough for me. If you are primarily looking to protect the metal from corrosion and improve the looks, rather than a complete restoration, this seems more than satisfactory. It would work well on all kinds of enameled appliances such as stoves, washers, dryers, refrigerators and more. And it was certainly a reasonable cost for such a good fix.
Joan Young has enjoyed the out-of-doors her entire life. Highlights of her outdoor adventures include Girl Scouting, which provided yearly training in camp skills, the opportunity to engage in a 10-day canoe trip, and numerous short backpacking excursions. She was selected to attend the 1965 Senior Scout Roundup in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, an international event to which 10,000 girls were invited. She has ridden a bicycle from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean in 1986, and on August 3, 2010 became the first woman to complete the North Country National Scenic Trail on foot. Her mileage totaled 4395 miles.
More recently, she has begun writing fiction- primarily cozy mysteries. She also writes a monthly column for the Ludington Daily News called "Get Off the Couch."
author site booksleavingfootprints.com