How To Remove Rust From An Iron Or Steel Fence And Restore It By Painting

An iron or steel fence from a place like City Wide Fence Co, adds a decorative touch to yards while providing protection against potential intruders. Many iron or steel fences are galvanized or powder coated at the factory, which prevents rust, but corrosion can still appear if a fence has been mistreated or is very old. That is why homeowners should know how to eliminate rust patches and restore the original classy looks of an iron or steel fence. Below is a step-by-step procedure that can beautify your iron or steel fence:

Tools and Supplies Needed

  • Angle grinder with wire cup wheel

  • Eye protection

  • Tight-fitting work gloves

  • Steel wool (Size "0")

  • Shop rag

  • Trisodium phosphate powder

  • Sponge

  • Bucket

  • Exterior metal primer

  • Exterior metal enamel

  • 1-inch paint brush

  • Mineral spirits

Step-by-Step Procedure

1. Remove rust patches from the fence

The first step is to clear away all rust from the fence; you do not want to paint over old rust, as the corrosion will only continue to grow and will reveal itself as bubbling underneath the paint. Removing rust patches will require the use of an angle grinder, as sandpaper won't be able to work deep enough into the metal.

To use an angle grinder to remove rust from an iron or steel fence, begin by attaching a wire cup wheel. While the size of the wheel can vary and depends largely on personal preference, knotted wire wheels are stronger and will more effectively cut through rust.

Next, put on protective eyewear as well as a pair of form-fitting work gloves and a long-sleeve shirt. It is important to dress for safety when using a wire cup wheel, as some of the tiny wires will break free from the wheel and sting when striking bare skin or get in your eyes without protection.

Begin removing the rust by applying the wire cup wheel to the patches. Be sure to remove all the rust and taper the edges of the repair site with surrounding areas. Continue applying the brush until you reach bare metal.

2. Scuff and clean the fence

Once all the rust spots have been removed, the next step is to roughen up the remainder of the fence. This is necessary to provide good adhesion for the primer coat. To scuff the paint, grasp a handful of size "0" steel wool and rub it vigorously against the painted surfaces of the fence. You don't need to remove the paint, but it should be dull all over.

After scuffing the paint, you will need to clean up the fence to remove paint, rust residue, oil and any remaining debris. Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is an excellent cleaner and degreaser and is easy to work with. Follow the instructions on the container of TSP and mix the recommended amount of powder with hot water in a clean bucket.

Apply the TSP using a large sponge; wipe down the fence to eliminate any trace of contaminants, then rinse the fence with a garden hose to clean the TSP residue. Allow the fence to air dry before moving on to the next step.

3. Apply primer and paint to the fence

The final step in the restoration process is to apply coats of primer and paint. The primer is necessary to seal the bare metal from moisture and prevent rust from forming. Apply an oil-based exterior primer suitable for metal by using a 1-inch paint brush on all surfaces. Allow the primer to dry for 24 hours before applying any paint. Next, clean and rinse the brush using mineral spirits to remove all the primer. Finally, once the primer has dried completely, apply a coat of exterior metal enamel on top of the dried primer; add a second coat of paint, if necessary, to cover the primed metal.


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