An iron fence can be a safe and secure way to discourage intruders and unwanted neighborhood pets from entering your yard. It can also add class and style to your yard. However, it quickly becomes unattractive and detracts from the beauty of your home if it becomes rusted, as iron can easily do.
To prevent your fence from rusting you will need special tools, materials, and instructions such as those you’ll find below. You’ll need not only to prevent future rust but will need to remove existing rust. Dirt, debris, and rust that have collected on an iron fence surface will seriously interfere with any treatment for future rust proofing, unless it is removed.
Step 1 – Assess Your Fence Condition
Before deciding on a rust proofing treatment for your iron fence, you’ll need to determine the amount of rust and dirt that currently exists on your fence. If your fence is older and if you live in an area of high humidity, salty air, or frequent rain or snow, your fence will likely have rust spots. Examine the entire fence and if you find heavy rusting such as flaking, you’ll need to purchase tools and equipment to remove it.
Step 2 – Remove Heavy Rust
For rust that is flaking and loose, use a paint scraper or disc sander with a coarse grade of sandpaper to remove the heavier rust. When removing this rust, be sure to wear a face mask and goggles – as you’ll need to protect your eyes.
Step 3 – Remove Medium or Light Rust
To remove rust that has formed on your fence surface but has not begun flaking, use 120 to 160 grit sandpaper and sand off as much rust as possible. For medium to light rust, you can also try a stiff metal brush. When you have removed as much rust as possible, apply a commercial rust cleaner by dipping your wire brush into the rust cleaner, then working the cleaner into the fence surface, using circular motions.
Step 4 – Finish Cleaning
Use a garden hose to rinse off loose rust, dirt, and rust cleaner. Inspect the surface for remaining rust debris or dirt. If necessary, repeat steps 2 and 3 to remove remaining debris. Absorb excess rinse water from the fence surface by wiping with a clean, dry cloth. Allow the surface to dry then use a pad of fine steel wool to buff and restore the natural look of the iron.
Step 5 – Apply Rust Proof Coating
Examine the fence surface to locate bare metal surface and apply a rust resistant primer to these spots and then finish with a coating of rust resistant sealer or paint.
Step 6 – Optional All-In-One Cleaners
Some commercial cleaners penetrate rust, dehydrating the rust and reforming it into a solid when the initial coat is applied. A second application creates a coating that prevents moisture and air from rusting the metal. Some of these treatments can be applied directly to a rusted surface. Check with manufactures directions before purchasing or using these products.