Iron fences are beautiful, secure, and known for their durability. Iron is one of the strongest, longest-lasting materials available. But just like Superman, iron has its kryptonite: rust.
Here are some tips for keeping your iron fence rust-free, sturdy, and beautiful for decades to come. All it takes is a little time and some elbow grease.
- Inspect your fence twice a year.
Every spring and fall, walk your fence and carefully inspect it. Trim overgrown vegetation along the fence, including grasses, vines, and weeds. Note spots on your fence that could use a touchup with the paintbrush. Also note areas where rust is starting to appear. Look for the telltale rust-brown color or areas where the surface of your fence appears to bubble or flake.
- Keep it dry.
Iron fences in high-moisture areas are most susceptible to rust. Help your fence out by clearing out vines, weeds, and grass along the fence. Plants that provide groundcover keep the soil moist, increasing the chances for rust.
If a section of your iron fence runs along a low or boggy area of your yard or near sprinkler heads, be sure to give it some extra attention in the spring and after a period of heavy rainfall. Consider regrading or adding drainage if the area consistently experiences standing water.
- Rinse away debris.
After your inspection, wash your iron fence with a mild detergent and rinse with water. This will keep your iron fence looking beautiful. In high-moisture areas, apply a layer of wax to your fence to protect its finish. A metal-grade wax should do the trick.
- Give existing rust the brush-off.
If your inspection uncovered some rust spots, use a fine wire brush to gently scrub the rust away. Don’t use a coarse wire brush because it can hurt the iron. After scrubbing away the rust, rinse the area with a nonionic detergent and water. After the area is dry, use a rust converter to prevent rust from reappearing. Don’t forget to follow the safety instructions, as these acid-based products can be harmful if not used properly.
- Touch up with a little primer and paint.
Whether you’re touching up the surface of your fence or reapplying paint after brushing off rust, you’ll want to use oil-based primer and paint designed for use on metal. For our ornamental designs, we recommend a spray-on primer and paint to get into all the nooks and crannies.
- Inspect, grease, and tune-up fasteners and hinges.
Once you’ve taken care of your iron fence’s surfaces, it’s time to inspect its hardware. Tighten lose fasteners and replace those that have been lost since your last inspection. If your gate is squeaky, apply grease or other lubricant to silence it and keep it in good working order.
Your iron fence should last for decades if you properly maintain it. For more maintenance tips or for help designing your iron fence, contact Artistic Ornamental Iron today.