If someone just whispered in your ear how much maintenance those elegant metal railings require, would you still buy them? Probably yes, because they are so hard to resist, we admit. But you know what a great thing about it is? The more complicated something is, the more people try to come up with different hacks and tricks to solve it. So here we are, with pockets full of tips on how to maintain your metal railings, whether you want to repaint them, clean or repair, Creative Metal knows the solution. So without further due, let’s jump right into it.
Why Do We Love Metal Railings
Whether it is a fence, gate, or a piece of decorative metal, we simply love having these metal items in our yards. They are not only practical, but they complement so well any architectural style, which is why they are featured in so many homes. Some people prefer to paint them in colors to match the rest of their home aesthetics. Others like to keep it in its natural color, to show off the material even more. Both options are equally stunning and pretty, but since due to its purpose, these objects are located outdoors, they are exposed to bad weather and humidity, which are not good for metal at all. Hence, you have to do regular check-ups and maintain your railings, to prevent rust and other more severe damage.
Is Metal a Vulnerable Material?
Although metal is known as one of the most durable and sturdiest materials, it is not fully resistant to everything, especially when it is outdoors. Rust, fractures, and corrosion are the worst enemies of any metal. Hence, you have to be very careful and maintain it. The most common metal used for railings is iron because it is so durable, and can last for years if you maintain it properly. When the coat of paint starts to crack and peel, water can come in touch with iron and lead to rust.
- Damaged paint with blisters, cracks, etc
- Moss or any other plants
- Stains of rust
How to Make Old Railings Shine Again?
You have to clean them regularly, as soon as you notice any spots or rusting, you need to remove loose paint and rust. For that part of the job, you will need some tools:
- Steel brush
- Abrasive paper
- Paint or gloss for metal
- Gloves and a dust mask
Step by Step Guide for Cleaning Metal Railings
How to make your metal railing shine again? By painting them, of course, but if you thought you could just repaint them and the job is done, you were wrong. That would cause even bigger problems. So let’s see how it should be done, step by step.
- Brush off the old paint. This is the part when you need to use a steel brush to remove old flaking paint, moss, algae, or dirt. You need to do this so that the new coat of paint does not stick to that.
- Don’t forget to check the bottom. That is the part that everyone forgets to clean, and there is usually a lot of dirt and moss.
- More brushing and scraping. Once you’ve removed all the flakes of paint, now it is time to even out the surface. Use a medium grade abrasive paper to prepare the surface for a new layer of fresh paint.
- Soap bath. Put on some protective gloves and dissolve a sugar soap in hot water. Use a cloth and wipe the railings with that mixture to get rid of all the grease, grime, and dirt.
- Take care of surrounding plants. If there is any vegetation that can come in touch with fresh paint, cut it, or tie it, so it does not get in contact. Use cardboard to protect nearby plants or objects from paint splashes. Use newspapers to cover the grass and path around the railing, especially if you are using a spray gun.
- It’s paint time. Remember, two thin layers are better than one thick. So remove extra paint from the brush before you start, and gently apply the first thin layer. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions, and the time you need to wait before painting on the second coat.
When Repainting Is Not Enough
Sometimes in cases of more severe deterioration, when the rust takes its toll on the material, the only solution is to cut out defective parts and replace them with new ones. Cast iron is usually more suitable for such repairs because it can be fixed with cold stitching. Whatever the type of repair might be, do not forget to contact a reputable company or an experienced blacksmith who can do the work professionally.
The Bottom Line
With maintaining your metal railings, the key is to be consistent. Please do not be lazy to brush off a bit of rust as soon as you spot it. Rust spreads quickly and destroys the material, so you need to act promptly. Instead of spending hours and hours on brushing and scraping, you can just occasionally remove a spot here or there, and that is it. Your metal railings will shine for years.