Wrought iron is a beautiful and durable option for fencing. It is crucial that you take care of the metal if you want it to retain its beauty and remain durable.
In order to understand how to care for your wrought iron fencing, you should first understand some basic points about wrought iron. Unlike cast iron, which is produced en masse by a fast process that enables manufacturers to produce cheaper products, wrought iron products take much longer to make.
Making wrought iron products once required a skilled blacksmith to work the metal into the proper form. The process has since been mechanized; however, it is still a much more involved process than that of making cast iron. The end result is that cast iron isn’t as durable or as strong as wrought iron. When you purchase a wrought iron fence, you are making an investment in your property.
On the most basic level, wrought iron fencing will require only minimal care. You should make sure that the grass and plants around the fence aren’t making contact with the fence in a way that will damage the fence. This is especially important during the rainy season since wet vegetation could cause damp spots that encourage rusting on the fence.
As you are removing these items from the fence, take the time to check the fence for signs of rust or damage. Rust spots usually start off very small, so pay close attention to the wrought iron. If the rust has gone all the way through the metal, you will need to contact a professional to determine the options you have for dealing with the area.
Treating Rust Spots
Besides just making sure that you are preventing rust, you should also treat rust spots as soon as they occur. This likely won’t happen often, but taking immediate action when it does could prevent a costly issue. While you will have to treat the spot and repaint it, that is a lot less expensive than having to replace the fence because it has rusted beyond repair.
If you notice rust, use a wire brush to remove the surface rust. Don’t use a wire brush that has corded wires. Instead, opt for a thin wire brush.
Once you have the surface rust removed, wash the area with a nonionic detergent and rinse it off completely. You can then apply a rust converter. Follow that up with some primer and paint that matches the paint on the rest of the wrought iron fence. Be sure the products you use are safe for metal so you don’t damage the fence.
Cleaning Wrought Iron Fencing
You should clean the wrought iron fencing twice a year to keep it in the best shape possible. Simple soapy water is all you need to clean the fence. You can use a towel or a sprayer to clean the fence. If you opt for a sprayer, keep the pressure low. High pressure sprayers might damage the paint job on the fence.
Once the fence is washed, you can apply some wax to it. Metal-grade wax will help to keep the paint job protected so that it doesn’t wear down as quickly and leave the metal exposed.
Maintenance for Hardware
If your wrought iron fence has any hardware attached to, those items should also be properly maintained. Gate hinges should be oiled each time you wash the fence — and more often if they squeak. Other hardware, such as fasteners or finials, should be checked at the twice-per-year cleanings to ensure they are properly connected to the wrought iron.
Hardware on the fence poses a unique danger to the fence. If it isn’t properly maintained, hardware can trap water against the fence in a way that can lead to rust.
Repairing the Fence
If you have any damaged fence areas, you should properly repair the fence. Ideally, you should hire a professional to make the necessary repairs. In some cases, portions of the wrought iron fence might have to be cut out and replaced. You certainly don’t need someone inexperienced to try to do this job because you might end up with more of an issue than what you had when the damage occurred.