How to Protect Your Chain Link Fence from Rust and Corrosion

What You'll Need
Chain link fence paint
Paint brush
Paint roller
Paint tray
Drop clothes or cardboard sheets
Wire brush (optional)
Lightweight Respirator (optional)

When it comes to protecting your yard, a chain link fence is a safe and economical way to keep animals and children in or out. Unfortunately, because this type of fencing is made of galvanized steel, it are subject to rust and corrosion—which can not only weaken the material, but make the fence potentially dangerous. If you want to keep your fence in top shape, follow the steps below to prevent corroding and rust.

Step 1 - Prepare

If there is already rust on your fence, use the wire brush to flake it off. You want your surface to be rust-free before you start to paint. If there is a lot of rust, consider using a rust remover before you start working.

If your fence is new, bear in mind that manufacturers generally recommend waiting 6 months before painting your fence. During this time, the galvanized steel acclimates to the environment and all processing and manufacturing chemicals and materials wash away.

Clip away any high grass at the base of your fence and slide the drop cloths or cardboard beneath the fence, or tuck it in tight on either side. You can move these as you go along, but make sure you leave it there until the paint dries.

Make sure your fence is clean and dry.

Step 2 - Paint

Mix the paint, and pour it into the tray. Chain link fence paint is usually oil-based, so it may produce a stronger smell than latex-based paint. If it bothers you, use a respirator. Wet the roller in the tray, and roll it across the chain link on both sides of the fence in a diagonal motion.

This process can be very messy. The paint is likely to splatter as it rolls across the holes. If the paint is splattering further than your drop cloths, set up a piece of cardboard parallel to your painting or have someone hold it to catch the paint. This will help maintain your grass as well as your neighbors'.

When you have painted both sides, use the brush to paint around the top and the bottom of the chain link. Touch up any bare spots.

Step 3 - Clean Up

Painting a chain link fence can be a messy project, and oil-based paint can be hard to remove. If you took the proper precautions, it should not be splattered around your yard or your neighbors'. If you still managed to get some paint on the lawn, use a mower with a bag over it to take up most of it.

Wrap your used rollers, brushes and tray in news paper and throw them away along with the cardboard you may have used.

Let your fence dry for a few days before disturbing it. If you find any bubbling, you can touch it up with the same paint. After a week, your fence should be ready to go. To be extra safe, occasionally spray your fence down with a garden hose, and keep the paint around for any needed touch-ups.