Custom iron gates are truly a work of art in their own right! Whether a gate is adorned with majestic angels, an image of a beloved pet or an idyllic mountain retreat, the beauty of the artistry associated with these lovely creations cannot be debated; and many of these gates become family heirlooms due to their exquisite aesthetics.
Iron gates are virtually indestructible and are rot-proof and impervious to insects. When exposed to rain, snow, salt and humidity, however, rust can become an unwelcome resident. With enough time and neglect, cast iron, wrought iron, and steel can succumb to rust formation and literally begin a dissolving process – that is, unless, someone comes to the rescue.
Your regimen to protect your gorgeous gate will be victorious if you know what steps to take to keep your one-of-kind treasure free of rust and other destructive elements. Protecting your gate means taking proactive measures to keep it in pristine condition – indefinitely! And maintaining the beauty and durability of your gate can be achieved with the following steps:
1. Use a Wire Brush, File and Scraper
If your gate indicates any areas of loose paint, flaking metal or rust formation, use a wire brush with steel bristles and scrub any areas that show the beginning stages of deterioration. Flat surfaces are conducive to grinding using a course file or scraper; and be sure to remove debris to the point of revealing the bare metal. One can, also, use a wire-wheel attachment on a drill. For rounded areas, 80-grit sandpaper works exceedingly well. Once done, hand-rub areas with either mineral spirits or hose-down the fence with water.
2. Use Phosphoric Acid
Eliminating all rust is crucial; but you may be unable to reach rust embedded in tight nooks and crannies. Because of this, you will want to spray all sanded, filed and brushed areas with phosphoric acid which is designed to convert any traces of residual rust into what is known as iron phosphate. Wait 24-hours after applying the phosphoric acid; and you will notice that it has turned any lingering rust into loose, black flakes that can be easily brushed away. Follow all manufacturer’s warnings and suggestions for safe usage of this product.
3. Apply Primer
After the 24-hour wait period and after all blackened rust particles have been brushed away, apply a generous coat of oil-based metal primer with a good-quality brush.
4. Apply Paint
Select a high-quality oil-based metal paint. Though black is the traditional color of choice, any color can be used for your gate that will compliment your home, your surroundings and, of course, your personal preference. An oil-based metal paint – especially one that is manufactured from the same company as the primer – will provide maximized adhesion and durability. Also, a gloss sheen will combat the elements better than a flat finish since gloss is more resistant to moisture, humidity and pollutants.
As a side note, intricate detailing should be addressed with spray paint, using light coats to avoid over-spray and dripping. These areas should, also, be painted before any brush painting takes place to help achieve a more-professional appearance.
Proactive protection for your custom-iron gate is the name of the game; and your beautiful addition to your property will last beyond a lifetime!