Painting House Iron Railings

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Iron Railings

Many homes and apartments have one or more iron fixtures. These are often railings along with the balcony or stairs, or sometimes iron frames over windows, but they might also be iron garden furniture.

There is a unique charm to these iron fixtures. They look modern and classic, and they last for decades with no maintenance other than painting. Being iron they will rust if left unpainted, so we should look at repainting them periodically.

Ideally, we should repaint ironwork before the previous paint has worn off before the metal has started to rust. Inspect the iron railing or other ironwork at least once per year to see if the original paint is holding up. If the paint is starting to wear away you can get in early and repaint. If the paint has gone and left the iron rusted, you will need to do more work. And you will need to do it soon as we don’t want the rust to get worse.

If the original paint is mostly still there:

  • Wash the entire surface with a degreasing solution.
  • Use a wire brush to remove any peeling paint
  • Use coarse sandpaper to smooth out any rust spots.
  • Use fine sandpaper to roughen the original paint surface, so the new paint can bond to the surface.

If the iron is very rusty:

  • Use a wire brush to remove all the rust. A wire brush attachment on an electric drill is a good option.
  • Sand the surface of the iron flat.
  • Use a face mask or similar apparatus, as you do not want to breathe in the rust or paint being removed from the iron.
  • Chemical rust removers (Rust-Oleum) can be applied to rusty iron. This can be repainted 24 hours later.

Use a paint that is designed for outdoor metal. This is formulated to withstand harsh sunlight and wet weather. Some of these paints are also highly rust-resistant and will prevent any rust on the iron from becoming worse.

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