repainting a wrought iron porch railing

The wrought iron railing on my front steps and porch is getting pretty rusty and has some paint chipped off. What is the best way to repaint this? Should I attempt to remove all the old paint, or just get the loose stuff off and clean up the rusty spots? This is about 30 feet of railing, so wire brushing the whole thing would take ages. Also, what type of paint should I use? Rustoleum spray? Or is there something better. I don't want to repeat this project in a few years, looking for a permanent solution. The railing has been removed from the porch to repair the concrete so I can work on it a bit before it gets reinstalled if that makes any difference on how I should proceed.
Thanks
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Take an ice pick or small screwdriver and press where the rust is. See if it goes through. If it does, you got other problems. If it doesn't, the iron is sound, and the paint needs redoing.
More than 50% of a good paintjob is preparation. The nicer and cleaner you get it, the better the paint sticks. Perhaps you might have someone in your circle of friends who does handywork and has an electric wire brush that could touch it up.
If not, you could get one for your drill and do it yourself. I do not suggest you get a grinder with a wire brush and try it unless you have a lot of experience with them. They can chew you up faster than a couple of chipmanzees.
Rustoleum makes good paint. I would get some of those 2 or 3" rollers and just put it on thick. Spraying will look nicer, but if you put the paint on thick with a roller, the characteristic look is almost textured. The thicker it is, the longer it will last.
Just get the rust. The paint that is sticking is a good thing, and it has that surface sealed. You will just be adding a new coat of color to it. Pay attention to any decayed spots, or places where square tube has filled with water and frozen, causing it to split. These should be replaced, as should anything that is rusted through. It can be replaced in small sections unless the whole bar is rusted.
A few days ago, I did a neighbor's double gate. Each section 83" wide. Each having a double rows of "dog bars" on the lower bar. Both bars were rusted through and through from sprinklers for the last twenty years. But, sometimes, you can just replace one bar, or one short piece in a bar, and make an acceptable repair without tossing the whole thing.
Don't futz around with spray cans. You won't get a lot of paint on it before it runs. A regular sprayer is fine, just do two coats if sprayed. If it was me, I would roll it heavy.
All of this sounds like work, and it is.
Do it once. Do it right.
Steve (former contractor for awnings and ornamental metal in the State of Nevada)
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On Tue, 3 May 2005 15:50:46 -0700, "SteveB"
Thanks for the advice, doing it once, and right, is my goal! The metal seems to be in very good condition, other than some surface rust in a few places. I honestly wouldn't bother with it if it weren't for the fact that the thing is sitting in my front yard unattached from the concrete. I figure now is the time to do it, the contractor that did the concrete said to take whatever time I need to do it right, and he'll come back and bolt it down to the new concrete whenever I'm ready.
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My son repainted about 20' of wrought iron railing plus several 8' tall wrought iron ceiling support sections a few years ago for his Eagle Scout project. I've got a good portable sandblaster, but a couple of boys using large 120v drills with wire brushes managed to prep the railing relatively quickly. I'd estimate that about 25% of the material had to be wire-brushed to remove bad paint and/or rust. Much more and we would have considered using the sandblasting equipment.
He got the paints for free from Home Depot (thanks!), but we would have gone with spray paint even if the cost were coming out of our pockets. I've found that low cost spray paints work very well IF you wire brush very well and you spot paint the bare metal with spray primer.
Rustoleum is a very good product, but relatively expensive, especially in spray cans. A lot depends upon what sort of trade-offs you are willing to make. Which is more important - your time or your money? Spray paint saves time; a brush and roller save money.
If you use spray primer and/or spray paint, be sure to purchase a couple of the detachable handle and trigger devices. These black pistol grip devices easily snap on and off of a standard spray paint can and when you squeeze the trigger then a lever pushes down on the can's spray button. Two such devices probably cost about $3-$4 and they help prevent finger fatigue and they allow you to get much better spraying results from cans. The Krylon version is called a "Snap and Spray Handle".
Good luck, Gideon
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The wrought iron railing on my front steps and porch is getting pretty rusty and has some paint chipped off. What is the best way to repaint this? Should I attempt to remove all the old paint, or just get the loose stuff off and clean up the rusty spots? This is about 30 feet of railing, so wire brushing the whole thing would take ages. Also, what type of paint should I use? Rustoleum spray? Or is there something better. I don't want to repeat this project in a few years, looking for a permanent solution. The railing has been removed from the porch to repair the concrete so I can work on it a bit before it gets reinstalled if that makes any difference on how I should proceed.
Thanks
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I repainted mine last year. The paint was flaking off massively. I used a wirew brush attachement to an angle grinder. It worked reasonably fast, but the wire brush does disintegrate over time so you need to wear goggles and might need more than one. Then I primed it with two coats of Rustoleum primer then painted it with 2-3 coats of Rustoleum Gloss paint. I used a paint brush. It came out great.
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J Kelly wrote:

pretty
repaint
years,
proceed.
This is the kind of job I would just as soon (sooner actually) hire out. There should be at least one shop that makes things out of iron/steel in your area. They will have a sandblast shed and a paint shop. Take it there and have it done professionally.
Harry K
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Check the weld joints to make sure they are all the way around and not just spot joints with holes to let water in. If the latter, have a new solid railing made and throw that one away. If it is rusting from moisture on the inside it is a waste of effort to repair. Like the one the builder put on my house..... it was garbage.

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It's been there for nearly 45 years and doesn't look all that bad. I'm not going to replace it. It will outlast me.
On Wed, 04 May 2005 16:02:15 GMT, "Art"

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I agree with all the "preparation is the key" advice. You really need to work at getting to clean metal.
When I've done this I've gone with top notch oil-based primer and finish coat, in quarts/gallons. If others have used spray cans and gotten good results, I won't argue.
And I'd guard against rolling on really heavy coats of paint. If you want thick paint it's best, I think, to do it in layers, and you want the wrought iron to still look like wrought iron.
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Just to clarify, when I say "getting to clean metal" I mean the trouble spots, not the whole thing. As mentioned before, the areas where the paint is adhering aren't any problem.
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