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How to Refurbish Cast Iron Street Lamp Poles [Virginia]

July 23, 2010

I live in a neighborhood that is run by a property owners association. The common property maintained by the association includes street sign poles that were originally used as street lamp poles on Broad Street in Richmond Virginia. The developer of our neighborhood purchased the poles from an architectural recycler, who said the poles were made of cast iron sometime around the turn of the century. Our developer had the poles sandblasted and painted before installing them in our neighborhood in the late 1980s. The finish on the poles now looks faded and there are some signs of corrosion. Our property owners association now wants to know what should be done to refurbish the poles in order to preserve them and restore their appearance. They expect that the poles should be sandblasted to bare metal, but what would be the best primer and finish? Also, what should be done to the hollow center of the poles to prevent corrosion from the inside?

Richard Davis
home owner association - Lancaster, Virginia

August 3, 2010

I would sandblast the poles and paint with a good primer and topcoat. You can search the internet for various paint suppliers and ask them what they recommend. (If the rust is only sporadic, you might be able to get away with just sanding/grinding the rust and painting with a good primer designed for such applications.)

In terms of corrosion on the inside, there's not much you can do in situ. If water is making its way inside from the top, consider caulking seams with a paintable caulk after sandblasting. That and a good primer and topcoat should help prevent water from getting inside the poles from the top.

Christian Restifo
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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