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Repainting a rusty wrought iron fence


Q. Suggestions for methods and material necessary to "redo" a wrought iron fence. I have approximately 350' of wrought iron fence and a large gate that is beginning to rust badly!
I'm not sure what method to strip existing paint, stop rusting process, and repaint would be most cost effective in the shortest amount of time.

Any advice will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Steve Easley
- Cedar Hill, Texas






Q. I am looking for information on the best ways to renew a 15 year old wrought iron fence. Do you recommend a sprayer (what type?), brush, or roller?

Charles R. Brehm
- Coppell, Texas


Q. I am also getting ready to paint an iron fence and gate. Does one spray paint or brush paint an iron fence. It is not the fancy type but more of a plain style, but nonetheless, very nice and about 5 years old. It is beginning to show wear. Any helps, tips in getting it ready to paint would be appreciated.

Rose Core
- Lewisville, Texas


Q. My wrought iron fence is faded, very little rust. I would like to repaint it and am looking for suggestions, on preparation, type of paint and application.

Jim Hovanec
- Double Oak, Texas


Q. I am in the process of restoring a wrought iron fence. The fence is very rusty and I have used a wire brush to remove the loose rust but having problems removing all of it. The surface is very "bumpy". Do you have any tips on how to remove most of the rust and what primer and paint would be best to use. I have bought Rust Reformeramazoninfo by Rustoleum and also a Rustoleum Rusty-Metal Primeramazoninfo. Both are spray. I have a gallon of Valspar oil based black paint for iron fencing. What is best to use? Rustoleum black spray for rusty fences or should I use the paint I have and apply by brush. Is the spray as good as brushing it on. It's been a very long process. Your help is very much appreciated.

Rebecca Hoylman
- Parkersburg, West Virginia


A. I am a wrought iron fabricator in Huntington, WV and this is a subject that comes up all the time with my customers. Honestly, either paint you mentioned is fine. When it comes to wrought iron, the thicker and heavier you get the paint on, the better. So while it is easier to spray, it will last longer if you brush.

There are some better choices for paint though ... but you will spend more money. I recommend an automotive epoxy paint. You can find these at a paint store that sells to body shops, such as RMS or anyone that carries PPG paints. The paints require mixing with a hardener and can cost up to $100/gallon but they are well worth it. In our shop, instead of the normal process you would use on a car (i.e., primer, base coat, clear coat) 3 STEPS! we use a black epoxy primer and leave it alone. It will sun fade slightly in time, thus adding to the authenticity of your wrought iron look. With this paint it is recommended to get a sprayer ($35 @ Lowe's) and wear a respirator, however, you can brush if needed. The only downfall to brushing is that after the hardener is added to the paint, you have about six hours before the paint gets too stiff to brush, so you have to mix it in small amounts if you have a large area to do. These paints will last several years longer than traditional paints on the market in hardware stores. Sometimes ten years or more before any signs of rust. I hope this helps.

Carrie Wallace
- Huntington, West Virginia

May 12, 2008

thumbsup2Hi. We are sure that it helped, Carrie. Thanks!


pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 2, 2009

Q. My wrought iron fence has a couple of holes that need to be fixed. How could I go about fixing it? They are both on the bottom rail between the vertical rails. We bought something called FASTSTEEL. It is a steel-reinforced epoxy putty =>

The people at Home depot said that it should work just fine. What do think?

lisa fletcher
- los Angeles, California


April 29, 2010

A. You can probably patch a metal picket, but if you want to do it right, you need to cut it out, grind it smooth, and weld another picket on there. If it is rusting out, then it is probably square tubing instead of solid steel square bar stock. I have never seen solid steel square bar stock rust out, even in fences that have been around 100 years over in New Orleans in some of the grave yards. It takes a long time for 1/2" thick steel to rust through. They probably only paint those fences every 20 years (if that often).

Most of the pickets are either 1/2" or 3/4" 16-gauge square tubing. Use an angle grinder or an abrasive cutoff blade in your circular saw to cut off most of the picket above and below each rail and then use an angle grinder to remove the rest of the picket that is still attached to each rail. Grind the surface smooth, removing all of the old weld. Put a new piece of 1/2" or 3/4" 16-gauge square tubing there and tack weld it in place on each rail. Prime it and paint it.

If your fence section uses butt-joints between the rails and the pickets, you might need to be a bit more careful with your measuring and welding to get a good looking result. If it like the majority of the fences we see around here, then the pickets overlap the rails and as such, the joints are easier.

If your fence is aluminum, then you need to be a bit more experienced as a welder. Then again, if it is rusting out, then the odds of it being aluminum are rather remote.

Thicker metal is easier to weld than thinner metal... 16-gauge is not *too* bad, but if you have the amperage turned up too high on the welder, you can definitely blow through it and create a hole.

Collin Leon
- Houston Metro Area, Republic of Texas

January 20, 2014

A. If you want to make your iron fence or iron patio furniture to continue to look like new for many summers to come you should apply Rust Grip to them. Rust Grip is a product that stops rust without having to sand, the rust away. Just paint it on the whole item even on the rusty part. It fills in where the rust is and bonds to it. After using Rust Grip I only paint my patio furniture when I want to change the color.

Malissa Griffiths
- Keller, Texas, USA

August 19, 2014

Q. Where do I buy Rust Grip?

Anita Bennett
- Wytheville, Virginia USA

August 31, 2010

Q. Can I assume that the epoxy primer you recommend will have a flat finished look, not glossy?

Lawrence King
- Boston, Massachusetts

September 26, 2010

Q. I have a wrought iron fence that is only five years old. I am repainting it and I find rust spots at the welded joints of the rail and posts and along the rail where there is no joint or weld. Some of these rust spots have caused a hole in the rail about the size of a ten penny nail head. Have I already read the solution above or is this a new case. Can a hole in the rail be repaired and with what material?

Arthur PACE
HOMEOWNER - Missouri City, Texas

December 13, 2011

A. I have done my share of metal work and iron railing restoration. If the holes aren't in structural locations I would just sand and or grind the old paint around and in the holes and fill with either PC7 epoxy paste or epoxy putty that comes in stick form. I would then sand and or file when dry and prime and paint. If the iron is very old ,which it must be to have holes, I would use Hammered Rustoleum to cover imperfections in very old iron. Hammerite is supposed to be good but it costs almost twice Rustoleum. I am going to do all my railings in Hammered next spring.

Joseph Lahood
- Andover, Massachusetts

March 6, 2012

A. Perhaps the most efficient way is to use a paint mitt. Cover all 4 sides with a single stroke

K Harding
- Arlington, Texas

September 23, 2013

Q. How much should I expect to pay to have 120' x 5' of ornate wrought iron fence painted? I'm in Calif.

Suzanne Rymer
- Yucaipa, California, USA

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