How to Protect Your Iron Arbor from the Elements

What You'll Need
Wire brush
Bristle brush
Rust remover
Metal enamel
Paint conditioner
Protective clothing

The elements may cause a lot of damage to your iron arbor, but you can use a few materials and tools to protect it from weather damage. Protecting the arbor will also save you time and money in the future. Here are the basic steps to protect your iron arbor.

Step 1 – Removing the Rust

Get started by removing the old finish from the arbor, and getting rid of all the dirt, rust and other debris that has accumulated. Pay a visit to your local home improvement store, and buy a rust remover. Alternatively, use a sander, or even a good quality wire brush. In all 3 cases, you must make sure that you remove all rust present, until you reach the arbor’s bare iron structure.

Step 2 – Sealing the Arbor

Apply sealer to all exposed parts of your iron arbor. When working with sealers, make sure to put on your protective clothing. Work meticulously, covering all areas, making sure not to overload your brush, to avoid having those unsightly puddles or drips. This way, you prevent the structure of your iron arbor from corroding and rusting all over.

Step 3 – Priming the Arbor

If you want, you can choose not to use the sealer, but apply primer paint to your iron arbor instead. But, very importantly, you must make sure that the primer is resistant to rust, because it will make your iron arbor last for a longer time, creating a protective shield against the elements. 

It is a better idea to choose an oil-based primer. Use a paintbrush to apply primer to exposed spots on your iron arbor. Allow the primer to dry completely before you continue.

Step 4 – Using the Paint Conditioner

Paint conditioners are available in different types, to suit the kind of paint that you have chosen to use on your iron arbor. For example, you should use a different paint conditioner if you used a latex-based or oil-based paint. Paint conditioner decelerates the drying process, making for a smoother finish, and it can act as enamel thinner and a rust inhibitor.

Step 5 – Applying a Topcoat

Finish the project by applying 2 topcoat layers to your iron arbor. Keep in mind that you must always select the most appropriate paint for your arbor, in order to have the best results. You can utilize a water-based acrylic topcoat, or an oil-based metal enamel, to enhance a stronger and a more efficient protection against the elements. If you are using the same color as before, then you only need to apply 1 coat. On the other hand, if you are painting the iron arbor for the first time, or are repainting it in a different color, then apply 2 enamel coats on your arbor. Make sure that you go through your work in a systematic manner, and apply paint, primer or topcoat on 1 part of the arbor at a time, in order to avoid losing track of where you left off.

Step 6 – Maintaining the Arbor

Apply paint or stain to your iron arbor regularly, every 2 years. If you want to keep your arbor protected and have excellent results, make sure that you use a high quality exterior paint, suitable to use on metal items.