Repainting Iron Railings: A Guide

Though wrought iron is incredibly durable, repainting iron railings often becomes necessary after six to ten years. Taxing weather conditions can strip the protective paint layer off of iron over time, leaving your railings exposed to the elements; if new paint is not applied promptly, the iron will begin to rust. Owners of modern builds are now turning their attentions to glass balconies and balustrades for lower maintenance. But, if you are the owner of an iron balcony, read on to find out how to keep it looking in shape.

How Will I know When It’s Time To Begin Repainting Iron Railings?

The lifespan of the paint covering your iron railings will vary depending on the weather conditions in your area (harsh sunlight and proximity to the sea accelerate paint deterioration), so in order to know when it’s time to start repainting your iron railings, you will need to remain vigilant for the following signs of wear: Sagging, peeling, or flaking paint, and rusting.

Repainting Iron Railings: 4 Steps To The Perfect Paint Job

Step 1: Prepare the surface of your railings.

Using a heavy-duty scrubbing brush, remove dirt and grime from the surface of your railings. Then, cover the area around the railings and don protective clothing (wear goggles, a cap, a respirator, and coveralls) before taking either a wire brush or a drill with a sanding pad and scouring the surface of the iron until it is completely smooth. There should be no paint bubbles or other textural inconsistencies remaining by the time you are finished.

repainting iron railings

Getting a truly smooth finish tends to be a large job and requires a lot of physical effort; if you are short on time or you are unsure as to whether or not you’re physically up to the task, hire a professional iron worker to sand and paint your iron railings instead.

Step 2: Remove any rust that is present.

If the rust on your railings is light, you can sand it away yourself using an emery cloth or a drill with a sander attachment. Heavy rust, on the other hand, will usually need to be removed by a professional.

Once the rust has been removed, you will need to apply a coat of rust neutraliser to keep the rust from returning.

Step 3: Clean up.

The last thing you want is dust and debris messing up your shiny new coat of paint, so before you start painting, you will need to vacuum up all of the dust, paint chips, and rust flakes that have settled on the ground. Once you have done so, wipe down the railing with a clean, damp cloth.

Step 4: Start painting.

Ideally, you should start repainting your iron railings immediately after cleaning them; unprotected, exposed iron can quickly become damaged. Cover yourself and your working area once again and start priming the iron as soon as it’s completely dry.

Begin by applying two coats of rust-inhibiting primer with either a roller or aerosol can, being careful to keep the coats thorough but light. Let these coats dry before you put down your first coat of paint (refer to the instructions that come with the primer for drying times). Once again, when you are painting, work in light but thorough coats until the iron is completely covered.

To maintain your new paint job, wipe down your iron railings with white vinegar once a year; this will neutralise any rust that is forming. Then, once the railings are dry, seal them with a coat of car wax. These two steps should keep your iron gleaming for another six to ten years.

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