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 to your yard. However, it can be very unattractive and can detract 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, If you find heavy rusting such as flaking, plan to use tools and equipment that will be needed to remove this rust.
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, or eye protection.
Step 3 – Remove Medium or Light Rust
To remove rust that has formed on your fence surface but has not begun flaking, use a 120 to 160 grit sandpaper and sand off as much rust as possible. An optional method of removing medium to light rust is to use a stiff metal brush. When you have removed as much rust as possible with the brush and sandpaper, apply a commercial rust cleaner by dipping your wire brush into the rust cleaner, then work the cleaner into the fence surface, using circular motions of the brush.
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 surfaces. At these spots apply a rust resistant primer. Apply 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.