Finding a wonderful old metal trellis can be a garden treasure. However, very often, these wonderful wrought iron trellis ornaments needs rehabilitation and restoration before they are ready to be placed in the garden.
Several steps are involved in refinishing an old metal outdoor trellis. If you examine the metal and discover rust or other damage, you will need to strip the metal and make any needed repairs.
First begin by stripping off any present paint with a paint stripping compound. Use a wire brush to remove the paint and any rust.
Once you have the paint removed completely, use metal putty to repair any places on the metal, where it is weak or broken. Let the putty dry completely and then use sandpaper to smooth away any rough or raised edges.
Now, spray the places where you have made repairs with a metal sealant. This will also seal the metal against potential rust problems.
Once you have made repairs to the metal trellis, you can repaint it. Take a piece of medium grit sandpaper and run it over the surface of the trellis. This will allow the paint to stick to the metal.
With the surface roughed up, spray or use a paintbrush to paint the outdoor trellis. You will need to cover the trellis with at least two coats of paint, allowing each layer to dry thoroughly before the next coat.
Once the paint is dried, then spray or paint on a coat of protective sealant. It is recommended that you apply at least two coats of sealant, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next layer.
Cleaning a Metal Trellis
Another way to restore an antique metal trellis is to thoroughly clean it. One of the metals that was commonly used to create trellises is copper. You can easily clean copper by removing all of the debris and dirt with soap and water.
Once you have the dirt removed, use a copper polish and metal cloth to bring out the shine in the metal. However, if you love the beautiful patina of aged copper, do not polish it. Instead, simply clean the piping and make any needed repairs at joints. If needed, you can use copper solder to strengthen joints where pipes come together.
If the trellis is constructed of wrought iron or cast iron, clean the metal with soap and water or a power wash spray. If you have not anchored the trellis in place, haul it to a self-serve power spray car wash and spray and steam off any debris and dirt that may be clinging to the trellis.
Once you have the trellis completed cleaned, let it dry and then spray it with a layer of rust-resistant sealant.
If you are lucky enough to discover an antique metal trellis at a rummage sale, swap meet or estate sale, clean it thoroughly and make any repairs before installing it in your garden. When placing it, be sure to put it in a place that receives shade during the highest heat of the day so that plants will be protected and it can be shown off to its greatest advantage.