Ornamental iron fencing is a timeless classic. It adds charm and grace to both residential and commercial properties. This appeal is further enhanced by its durability and strength. Iron fences can be simply decorative, provide security or both. They are an excellent investment and their versatility means it’s easy to find a style to suit your needs. With proper care, iron fences remain beautiful as well as sturdy for many years. Although rust was a concern in the past, modern wrought-iron fences are available with a factory finish containing an anti-rust seal that also protects against UV rays and minimizes fading. Even without a rust-resistant finish, effective maintenance will prevent any major problems.
Proactive Maintenance Procedures
The first tool in any maintenance program is a strong defense. To prevent the deep scratches and dents that can lead to rust, avoid using a weed trimmer close to the fence. Keep vegetation well away from the fence to prevent the need for trimming close to the iron. Overgrown vegetation can also hide problem areas, making it more difficult to spot rust before it spreads. Keeping sprinklers clear of the fencing is also important, as moisture is part of the rust-making formula.
Handle Problems Quickly
To catch iron fencing problems quickly and prevent any serious damage or degradation, it’s best to inspect it thoroughly every six months. Newer fencing, especially coated iron, will only require repairs to deep cuts and grooves. In the years between repainting, if you find no evidence of rust, simply wash the fence with soap and water and apply a thin layer of metal-grade wax to protect the paint. Wax is especially useful in the areas that do happen to be near vegetation and sprinklers.
If you find any rust, it’s a quick fix to arrest its expansion. First remove the rust with a fine wire brush. Avoid using anything too abrasive, as this can actually deepen the crevices and make it harder to seal. Rinse the area and allow it to dry. When the area has dried thoroughly, apply a rust converter. Phosphoric acid-based or tannic acid-based converters work well, but be sure to follow all manufacturer’s safety instructions. Next, apply a thin coat of oil-based primer specifically formulated for metal applications. Spray-on primers are easy to apply and work well to fill in crevices. Follow up the primer with an oil-based metal paint.
Don’t Forget the Gate Care
Be sure to grease the hinges annually on your ornamental iron gate. If a gate squeaks, it has already gotten too dry. Lubricating the joints and hinges works best if done before squeaking begins. If they are lubricated before they start to complain, little degradation will occur and they will last for a long time. Apply a general grade lubricant liberally and regularly, for best results.
The beauty of ornamental iron fences is timeless, and protecting your investment is well worth the time and energy. With a proper maintenance routine, your iron fence can become an heirloom, providing beauty and security for years to come. In Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, Outback Fencing is the premier fencing contractor. Contact Outback today for installation, repair and maintenance of your ornamental iron fence.