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Protecting Your Investment: Safeguarding Your Iron Fence

Iron Fence
Ornamental iron fences bring beauty, class, and style to your yard. But if you don't maintain your fence properly, all the austerity and elegance of the wrought iron may decline. As an exterior accent, your fence is at the mercy of the elements. Whether it's the whipping wind (and the debris that it brings with it), the rain, hail, ice, or snow, your fence needs protection.

What can you do to stop weathering, rust, and layers of grime from taking over your pristine iron fence? Take a look at the easy ways to protect your fence, restore damage, and keep your investment looking its best.

Protect the Iron

Your yard's landscaping can impact the iron fencing system that extends around it. Planting shrubs and other outdoor vegetation too close to the fence can result in scratches or other types of damages. While these scratches may seem slight, they provide an entry point for rust-causing moisture. Give your fence some breathing room and keep thorny plants and spiny shrubs away from it.

Along with not planting directly up against the iron fence, avoid using string trimmers and other power tools near the metal. Power tools can also cause scratches and nicks that may rust.

Clean the Iron

Maintaining your iron investment means that you need to do more than just let the rain water rinse outdoor dirt and grime away. Clean the fence with a mild soap and water, rinsing it thoroughly. Choose a sunny, warm day for washing your fence. The sun will dry the fence more quickly, reducing the time that rust-causing water sits on it. You can also spot clean the fence by wiping small areas with a soft, dry cloth.

Prime the Iron

While iron itself has a certain charm, painting it can protect the metal from the elements and seriously slow down the rust process. Iron and steel are metals that won't just corrode when exposed to water and oxygen, they'll actually rust through. If you're able to keep your iron fence completely dry, you won't have to worry about rust. But that would involve moving your fence indoors - which isn't an option.

Instead of trying to keep your fence out of the elements, covering it in a protective coating may prevent, or at the very least, slow down the chemical process that converts iron to rust. Before painting your fence, you need to prepare it properly.

A brand-new fence doesn't require much more than a base coat of primer. Use an oil-based primer that is specifically formulated for metal to get the best results possible. If your fence has already fallen to the elements, you need to remove all the rust prior to priming it. Rust removal requires scrubbing with a steel-bristled brush, filing, or scraping the flaking rust completely off.

Paint the Iron

Never leave a primed iron fence as is. Primer may look like paint, but it isn't made to function as a top layer. Always allow the primer to dry completely before attempting to paint the fence. Choose an oil-based metal paint that matches your exterior needs.

You can stick with a black iron look or you can add a designer element with another color. Keep in mind that a glossy sheen has higher durability than a flat paint and is easier to clean.

Painting an ornamental iron fence can present challenges. The intricate twists and turns that make the fence elegant can also create crevices and areas that are difficult to cover. Make sure that you paint the entire expanse of iron to truly protect your fence.

Do you need a new ornamental iron fence? Contact Duke Fence Co., Inc. for more information.