Refinishing an Iron Railing

What You'll Need
Wire wheel
Power drill
Drop cloth
Bonding agent
Metal primer
Metal paint

An iron railing will last for years, even if it's outside and exposed to the elements. Periodically, however, you will need to refinish it, especially if it's showing signs of wear. Refinishing an iron railing isn't a complex job and it's one almost anyone can undertake. It doesn't take any special skills or materials in order to make your iron railing look like new, and you can finish the job in just a few hours.

Step 1 - Preparation

If the iron railing is outside, clear all the bushes and plants away from it. Giving good air circulation will mean it's less likely to deteriorate in future. It will also make it easier for you to work on the iron railing. Inspect the railing to see if it needs any repairs. It might need to be screwed into a wooden deck, for instance, or some of the metal might be too worn and will need to be replaced. Fix anything that you can fix immediately and make a note of the rest.

Step 2 - Cleaning

Before you can refinish the iron railing you need to clean it. Spread a drop cloth underneath to catch any debris and begin by using your scraper. This will remove loose paint and the surface rust, if there is any. Once you've removed all you can with a scraper, bring out your drill and wire wheel. This will take off the rest of the paint and will also remove any patches of rust.

Step 3 - Repairs

Once you've removed all of the rust, look at the repair list you made earlier. You can use a bonding agent to fill in the rusted areas and places that need repair. Allow it to dry fully and then sand it smooth with the rest of the iron railing. Rub the iron railing with a damp cloth to take off any tiny debris and then give it time to dry.

Step 4 - Primer

Now you're ready to apply primer to the iron railing. For this you should use a small paintbrush as this will allow you to reach into small, tight areas quite easily. Use a primer that's designed for metal as this will give the best results. Don't try to put on a single thick coat. Brush on a thin coat and leave it to dry and then apply a second thin coat. This will give you much better coverage and the paint will adhere to the iron railing much more successfully.

Step 5 - Paint

You should also use a small paintbrush for the paint. Choose your color but make sure it's intended for use on metal. Again, the iron railing will look much better if you apply two thin coats of paint, allowing the metal to dry between coats. Once the paint has dried, remove the drop cloth and discard all the rubbish on it.