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How to Perfectly Apply Cerakote: A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying cerakote requires proper surface preparation, mixing, and application techniques. In order to apply cerakote, one must first thoroughly clean and prepare the surface to ensure the best adhesion possible.

Cerakote is a ceramic-based coating that is known for its durability and ability to withstand high temperatures. It is most commonly used to coat firearms, but can also be used on other metal surfaces. While the process of applying cerakote may seem simple, it is important to take proper precautions in order to ensure a smooth and long-lasting finish.

This includes using proper mixing techniques and application tools, as well as taking the time to properly clean and prep the surface before applying the coating. By following these steps, you can achieve a professional-grade finish that will protect your firearm or metal surface for years to come.

How to Perfectly Apply Cerakote: A Step-by-Step Guide


Understanding Cerakote: What It Is And Why It’S Popular

Are you a firearm enthusiast looking to protect your gadgets from the elements? Cerakote might be the solution for you. The use of this superior firearm coating has become increasingly popular among firearm enthusiasts. But what exactly is cerakote, and why is it so popular?

What Is Cerakote?

Cerakote is a ceramic polymer coating used to provide superior protection to firearms, among other things. The coating is available in a variety of colors, making it a popular choice for those looking to add some flair to their weaponry.

Benefits Of Using Cerakote For Firearm Coating

Why should you consider using cerakote to coat your firearms? Here are some benefits to keep in mind:

  • Durability: Cerakote is one of the toughest coatings available, and can withstand extreme temperatures, corrosion, and other harsh environmental conditions.
  • Versatility: The coating can be applied to a broad range of surfaces, including plastic, metal, wood, and more.
  • Aesthetics: With its wide range of colors and finishes, cerakote allows you to customize the look of your firearm.
  • Non-toxic: The coating is environmentally friendly and safe to use on your firearms.
  • Easy maintenance: Cerakote requires little maintenance, meaning you won’t have to keep doing touch-ups on your firearms.

Popular Firearm Finishes And Their Limitations

While cerakote is a popular choice for firearm enthusiasts, other options are available, each with their limitations:

  • Anodizing: This electrochemical process is used to provide corrosion resistance and a decorative finish to metal surfaces. However, it can only be used on aluminum and has limited color options.
  • Parkerizing: This process provides a matte finish and improves corrosion resistance. However, it is not as durable as cerakote and can only be applied to specific metals.
  • Bluing: This process provides a thin layer of black oxide to create a deep black or blue look. It is aesthetically pleasing, but not as durable as cerakote.

Cerakote is a durable and versatile coating option for firearms that provides long-lasting protection while allowing you to customize the look of your firearm. Understanding your various coating options will assist you in making an informed decision on the best coating solution for your firearm.

Preparation: Setting Up Your Workspace

Choosing The Workspace

Before you start applying cerakote, you must choose the right workspace. Here are the things to consider when setting up your workspace:

  • Choose a well-ventilated area: When applying cerakote, you must avoid inhaling the coating’s harmful fumes, so you should work in an area with adequate ventilation. Open windows and use a fan to improve air circulation.
  • Select a dust-free workspace: It’s important to work in a clean and dust-free environment. Even the slightest dust can interfere with the bonding process, which may result in a low-quality finish.
  • Choose a well-lit workspace: Proper lighting is crucial when applying cerakote. The right light helps you see areas that need more coating and helps you identify any mistakes.

Required Equipment And Materials

Before you start applying cerakote to your firearm, you should gather all the necessary equipment and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cerakote kit: You can purchase a cerakote kit that includes a catalyst, hardener, and coating. You can also buy them separately.
  • Spray gun or airbrush: The type of spray gun or airbrush depends on the size of the firearm and the expertise level of the user.
  • Compressor: You’ll need an air compressor if you’re using an airbrush. Make sure the compressor is powerful enough to handle the job.
  • Sandblaster: A sandblaster is necessary to strip off existing finishes and prepare the firearm’s surface.
  • Safety equipment: Cerakote is toxic, and you must take the necessary precautions when using it. Therefore, you need to have safety goggles, gloves, and a respirator.

Cleaning The Firearm

To achieve the best results, it’s important to clean your firearm thoroughly before applying cerakote. Here’s how to clean your firearm:

  • Disassemble the firearm: Disassemble the firearm to clean every nook and cranny.
  • Degrease the firearm: Use a degreaser to remove any grease or oil from the firearm’s surface.
  • Sandblast the firearm: Sandblasting helps to remove any existing finish and prepares the surface for the new coating.
  • Clean the firearm: Use a lint-free cloth to clean the firearm’s surface after sandblasting.
  • Preheat the firearm: Preheat the firearm to eliminate any moisture and make the coating adhere better.

By following these steps, you’ll have a clean surface that’s ready for cerakote application.

Step-By-Step Process: Applying Cerakote

Disassembling The Firearm

Before starting with the process, disassemble the firearm to ensure every part gets coated with cerakote. Here’s how to disassemble your firearm:

  • Remove the magazine and then the slide.
  • Disassemble the recoil spring system.
  • Remove the trigger group.
  • Disassemble the barrel from the slide.
  • Finally, remove the grip panels.

Prepping The Surface

When applying cerakote, surface preparation is crucial. You want to make sure the surface is even and properly cleaned for the best results. Here are the steps to take:

  • Clean the firearm with acetone, removing any oils, debris, and residue. You can use sandpaper on stubborn areas.
  • After cleaning, line the insides of the slide and other hard-to-reach areas with masking tape to avoid excess coverage.
  • Hang the firearm from the top using wire to give even coverage.

Applying Cerakote

Now, it’s time for the exciting part – applying cerakote! Here’s what you need to do:

  • Thoroughly shake the cerakote bottle, and then mix with a hardener (if needed).
  • Put on gloves, spray gun, and glasses.
  • Apply the first coat of cerakote evenly across the entire firearm, keeping it 6-8 inches away.
  • Allow the first layer to dry, and then apply the second layer evenly up close.
  • For tight and hard-to-reach areas, use a small brush to apply cerakote.
  • Allow it to dry.

Curing The Cerakote

After applying cerakote, curing the firearm is next. It’s crucial to properly cure for the best results. Follow these steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 250°f and let it stabilize.
  • Once stabilized, place the firearm in the oven for 2 hours.
  • Once the firearm is cured, remove it from the oven, and let it cool completely.

Reassembling The Firearm

Once done with curing, it’s now time to reassemble your firearm carefully. Follow the instructions below:

  • Remove the tape, and then assemble the grip panels, barrel, recoil spring system, trigger group, and slide.
  • Ensure that every part is properly set and aligned.
  • Test the safety and ensure it operates correctly.
  • You are now ready to use your newly cerakoted firearm!

Troubleshooting: Common Issues And How To Fix Them

Applying cerakote is a process that requires precision and attention to detail. Nevertheless, issues can arise during the application process, leading to uneven or flawed finishes. In this segment, we discuss some of the common issues that can occur while applying cerakote and how to fix them.

Airbrushing Or Spray Gun Issues

Airbrushing or using a spray gun is a popular application method while applying cerakote. However, it can be challenging to master, and several issues can arise throughout the process, such as:

  • Inadequate coating thickness: This occurs when your spray gun or airbrush equipment is too close to the surface. Adjust your distance to around 6-8 inches from the surface to achieve ideal coating thickness.
  • Inconsistent coating effects: This may occur if your equipment is significantly closer to or farther away from the surface in some areas than others. It’s also possible that the air pressure within the equipment is varying. To fix this, ensure that you’re holding the spray gun at a consistent distance from the surface, and check your air pressure gauge to ensure consistency.
  • Broken or splattering spray patterns: Broken or uneven spray patterns are common and occur when the nozzle of your equipment is damaged, or the air pressure is too low. Replace the nozzle to prevent additional damage. If the air pressure is too low, increase it to achieve the desired pattern.

Blotching Or Uneven Coating

Blotching or uneven coating is a common issue that can occur while applying cerakote and can ruin the finish of your firearm. Here are some ways to fix blotchy or uneven coatings:

  • Insufficient surface preparation: Insufficient preparation of the surface is a common cause of blotching or uneven coatings. Ensure you have the correct equipment, follow the correct preparation procedures, and use the appropriate ceramic cleaner and degreaser.
  • Uneven curing: Uneven curing can occur if you don’t follow the recommended curing temperature and time. To achieve the perfect finish, ensure you follow the recommended curing temperature and time.

Flaking Or Cracking

Another common issue that can occur while applying cerakote is flaking or cracking of the finish. To prevent this issue, you need to follow the correct preparation procedures and take extra care while applying the coating.

  • Inadequate surface preparation: This is one of the most common reasons for flaking or cracking of the finish. It’s essential to follow the recommended preparation procedures to ensure adequate adhesion of the coating to the surface.
  • Incorrect mix ratio: Using the wrong mix ratio can lead to flaking or cracking of the finish. Be sure to use the correct mix ratio for the type of cerakote you’re using.

With the above troubleshooting tips, you can identify some common problems that can occur while applying cerakote and fix them effectively. Practice and precision are crucial for a perfect finish. With the right equipment and attention to detail, you can achieve an excellent cerakote finish.

Aftercare: Maintaining Your Cerakote Finish

Applying cerakote to your firearm is an excellent way to protect it from external damage, corrosion, and scratches. The coating enhances the appearance of your firearm while providing exceptional durability and longevity. However, maintaining your cerakote finish should be an essential part of your gun care routine after applying the coating.

Here’s how to ensure that your firearm maintains its finish.

Cleaning And Caring For The Coated Firearm

Cleaning and caring for your cerakote coated firearm require a milder approach than conventional firearm cleaning. Here’s what you should do:

  • Use a soft cloth or microfiber towel to clean your firearm after use
  • Use a combination of mild soap and water to clean your gun, avoiding any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.
  • Never use a high-pressure washer as this can cause damage to the coating.
  • After cleaning, make sure the firearm is dry and apply a small amount of gun oil to protect it from moisture.

When To Consider Refinishing

If your firearm’s cerakote finish shows signs of wear, such as chips, scratches, flaking, or damage, refinishing might be necessary. Refinishing should not be taken lightly, as it requires removing the current coating, sandblasting, and a new application.

Consider refinishing if:

  • The coating has become dull or damaged.
  • The original finish has been severely worn out.
  • The firearm has seen too much wear and tear.

Best Practices To Maintain The Longevity Of The Finish

Cerakote is a durable coating that can last for several years when correctly maintained. Consider the following tips to ensure the longevity of your firearm’s finish:

  • Use a soft cloth or brush when cleaning the firearm.
  • Store your firearm in a dry place, free from moisture and humidity.
  • Avoid dropping or hitting your firearm, as this can cause damage to the finish.
  • Apply a gun oil to your firearm after cleaning and in areas that come into contact with your skin.
  • Periodically performing a touch-up of your firearm’s finish can prolong the finish’s lifespan.

Maintaining the cerakote finish of your firearm is critical in ensuring its longevity and performance. A little bit of care and attention can go a long way in preserving and extending the life of your firearm.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Apply Cerakote

What Is Cerakote And Why Is It Popular For Gun Coatings?

Cerakote is a ceramic-based finish that provides a durable coating for firearms. It gained popularity due to its toughness, corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures and chemicals.

What Are The Steps For Applying Cerakote?

There are several steps to follow when applying cerakote, including surface preparation, mixing and applying the cerakote, curing the coating, and final assembly of the firearm.

Can You Cerakote Any Firearm Or Surface?

Cerakote can be applied to nearly any surface, including metal, plastic, wood, and even glass. However, proper surface preparation is important to ensure the coating adheres properly.

Is It Possible To Apply Cerakote At Home Or Does It Require Professional Help?

Cerakote application can be done at home with the right equipment and knowledge. However, for best results and to ensure proper safety measures are taken, professional help may be recommended.

How Can I Clean And Maintain Cerakote-Coated Firearms?

Cerakote requires minimal maintenance, and can be easily cleaned with soap and water or a mild solvent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning methods to prevent damage to the coating.


Overall, cerakote is a fantastic way to protect and customize your firearms, tools, and other personal possessions. With the proper equipment, preparation, and application technique, it is possible to achieve a beautiful, long-lasting finish that will withstand even the harshest conditions.

Taking the time to learn the basics of cerakote application and experimenting with different colors and designs can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both as a hobbyist and a professional. So why not give it a try? With a little patience and practice, you too can become a skilled cerakote applicator and take pride in the unique creations that you produce.

Remember to always prioritize safety and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and happy coating!



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