Painting a wrought iron fence provides essential protection for the metal while at the same time restores the original color. The fact of the matter is that everything including metal will break down over time. Metal railings that have become exposed due to paint failure will combine with oxygen to form corrosion otherwise known as rust. Over time, as corrosion continues to build up, it will cause the metal to expand further breaking apart protective layers of paint. It is always best to treat corrosion and maintain metal railings in order to avoid extensive rust abatement techniques.
The good news is that corrosion can be effectively removed from metal railings by using a variety of methods. Depending upon the severity of the rust corrosion, rust abatement could include thermal techniques, abrasive chemicals, and sandblasting. Electrolysis is more involved and can remove rust and oxidation without the use of grinders, scrappers or harsh chemicals. However, under most normal circumstances a wire brush and chemical cleaners that contain phosphoric acid, such as, naval jelly will suffice in removing corrosion.
In late July, we were involved with a wrought iron rail restoration project in Oakton Virginia. The Home depicted in the photographs had extensive iron railings surrounding the pool and the second level balcony. The circular staircase had moderate rust corrosion at the base of the support columns, and some areas where there were welded joints. Additionally, the gate section of the fence had a moderate amount of peeling and flaking paint. Fortunately the standard rust abatement process was all that was required in order to properly maintain the rails.
Davinci’s provided the following procedures to remove the rust and paint the wrought iron railings:
- Surface Cleaning such as power washing is not always required, however, in this case there was some accumulation of dirt and debris on the iron railing.
- Wire Brush Cleaning included the use of hand wire brushes, and a power grinder in order to remove the loose rust and corrosion.
- Sanding Sponge Process of the entire railing, from top and bottom, eliminated flaking paint and provided a surface profile for improved paint adhesion.
- Rust Mitigation comprised the application of the phosphoric acid based naval jelly. This stabilized and converted the existing rust.
- Complete Prime Application was performed wherever scraping and sanding had occurred. We utilized Rustoleum Rust Inhibiting Metal Primer.
- Paint Application was implemented utilizing brush and roll techniques with Sherwin Williams Urethane Alkyd Industrial Enamel Black.
In most cases, traditional wrought iron railings have a black color; however, it is possible to tint certain alkyd based enamel paint products. Sherwin Williams Urethane Industrial Enamel is is a new generation of alkyd based enamel which provides increased durability from the sun and outdoor elements. Also, the availability of alkyd paint is somewhat limited depending upon the EPA Regulations in your state. That being said, most major paint manufacturers offer one option in terms of alkyd based paint sheen- high gloss. This was a particularly rewarding project and the Home Owner was very pleased with the finished product.