How to Maintain an Iron Fence
Ornamental Iron, which many people mistakenly call wrought iron, is a very durable and strong fence solution but just like anything else it can break down if it is not maintained. With iron or steel fences, the real enemy is rust, but there is some things that can be done to prevent or repair this damage with a little bit of maintenance.
Ornamental Iron Care Tips
1. Buy Pre-Galvanized
If you have not installed your fence yet, make sure that your fence contractor is installing only pre-galvanized materials that have been protected UNDER the powder coat paint. If your contractor says “it is powder coated” the next question should be, but is it pre-galvanized under the powder coat. This pre-galvanization layer is one step more of protection to help prevent rust and corrosion. Eventually the powder coat will get scratched and this extra layer will be there to protect your fence. The takeaway is to request “Pre-galvanized AND Powder Coated” ornamental iron/steel fencing.
2. Remove Vegetation Growing on the Fence
Over the prior year, vegetation might have grown up on the fence. While it may look really nice and offer a certain amount of additional privacy, this vegetation is working against you in terms of maintaining and protecting your fence. The spring is a great time to cut and remove this vegetation from the fence. This will reduce the amount of moisture that it keeps on the fence, as well as allows you to see and inspect the fence properly for any signs of rust, corrosion, or damage.
3. Annual Inspection
By making a yearly inspection of your fence part of your spring cleaning and yard cleanup process, you will always be able to stay ahead of anything major. This fact of walking the fence and looking for any points that need to be painted or rust removed and protected will not take long, but it will keep all repairs minimal and easy to fix. During your inspection look for any signs of scratched paint, rust, cracks, or other obvious damage.
Note – If you live in a harsher climate or near an ocean the coastal air will cause all the corrosion and rust to happen much quicker. In these areas a more frequent inspection is recommended.
By keeping your inspections scheduled periodically, you will be able to prevent damage from becoming too deep requiring more extensive repairs and cost. We have all heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
4. Wash/Rinse the Fence
With any vegetation now off the fence, it is a great opportunity to wash the fence off. This allows you to remove any last debris that has built up on the fence and to also look for areas that need to be repaired or repainted in finer detail. Many people use a car wash broom (soft bristle) or a soft damp cloth and some warm soapy water to do this. Washing the dirt and grime off the fence you will allow it to bring back a lot of its original luster and shine. Watch for the small areas that might need the most attention like at joints and weld points where the panels meet the posts.
5. Repairing and Repainting the Fence
After the fence has dried, we can start the repair and repainting process. This is a fairly simple process.
Step 1: Use a wire brush or fine sand paper to clean off any corrosion. This will also help the sprays on the next 2 steps adhere better to your fence.
Step 2: Apply a spray on galvanization coating- One that you can get at a local big box store like Home Depot is – Rust-Oleum Stops Rust – 16 oz Flat Gray Cold Galvanizing Compound.
Step 3: Apply a high gloss rust protective spray enamel – Rust-Oleum Stops Rust – 15 oz Gloss Black Exterior Protective Enamel to the areas that you have now repaired. As well you can apply a coat over the areas that have faded or peeled paint. This will add an additional layer or protection and also help the fence look fresh and new.
6. Adjust Yard Sprinklers -Avoid Getting the Fence Wet
Now is a great time to adjust your yard sprinklers to avoid getting the fence wet. The constant exposure to water will cause corrosion and damage. As well, the mineral content in most waters will leave a hazy layer on your ornamental iron or wrought iron fence that will make it look less attractive. By pointing your irrigation sprinklers away from your fence, you will be doing a lot to help your fence last longer and look better!
Ornamental Fence Repair
If you find any more significant damage that you cannot repair, reach out to us for assistance. We can help with broken welds, damaged hinges, broken pickets, and panel or post replacement.
For more information on our ornamental iron fence options check out our Ornamental Fence Gallery »
Superior Fence Construction and Repair Inc is a locally owned and operated fencing company in Rocklin and the greater Sacramento region of California, and we specialize in ornamental fence installation.