Metal fences provide many benefits to homeowners. They prevent strangers from entering the yard, contain small children and pets, and offer privacy. Metal fences, in particular wrought iron fences, provide these features in addition to adding to a home’s value by enhancing the overall look of the property and becoming part of the landscape.
Wrought iron fences offer decorative good looks and security and more than just an ornamental addition to the property. Metal fences of wrought iron are far from fragile, providing long-term, durable fencing that needs little maintenance once it is installed.
The primary care needed for a wrought iron metal fence is upkeep on the finish. The amount of overall maintenance depends on the use of the fence and its location. Rust forms on metal fences during inclement weather creating pitting in the metal when it is exposed to salt from icy driveways. Here are some of the things that can be done to keep wrought iron metal fences in tip-top condition and beautiful to look at.
Steps for Wrought Iron Metal Fence Repair and Refinishing
- Using a wire brush, remove loose rust on the surface of the metal fence. Wear gloves for protection and be prepared for some hard work. Use a whisk broom to brush away rust particles from the work area.
- Apply mineral spirits with a damp rag to the wrought iron fence, rubbing firmly to remove additional rust. Replace the rag with a new one dampened in more mineral spirits as it becomes soiled.
- Allow the mineral spirits to completely dry on the fence. Thin the primer with mineral spirits if it is too thick to apply easily. Follow the manufacturers directions on the primer can.
- Using the brush purchased especially for applying the primer, apply the thinned primer in smooth, even strokes to the metal fence panels or pickets and allow it to dry.
- Allow the primer to fully dry. Using the brush purchased specifically for the top coat, apply the top coat of paint over the primer. Use long, smooth strokes, allowing it to dry before applying a second coat to decorative metal fencing. Paint two layers of topcoat paint on metal fences fence for long-lasting protection and to preserve a fresh finish.
- If decorative wrought iron fences and other metal fences are checked periodically and maintained in this manner, they will last for many years. For other yard ideas for maintaining a back yard pond , using natural pest control for mosquitoes, or killing ants, check here.
Tips and Warnings
Follow these helpful tips for additional information when painting and refinishing a wrought iron fence.
- Use brushes that measure 3″ wide for easy handling, and to get the job done faster.
- Clean paint brushes well with mineral spirits to help them last for years.
- Chain-link fences may be treated the same way for repainting.
- Feelings of light-headedness or nausea are signs of a possible allergy to the mineral spirits or the paint. Stop painting; get some fresh air with good circulation and see a doctor if the symptoms persist.
Gather the items necessary for working on metall fences ahead of time so everything is readily available.
- Work gloves
- Mineral spirits
- Wire brush
- Old rags
- Whisk broom
- Rust inhibitive primer (oil based preferred)
- High quality oil based enamel paint (topcoat)
- Alternatively, high quality latex paint made for metal
- Good quality 3″ brush for primer
- Top quality 3″ brush for topcoat
Decorating with Garden Antiques
Gardening is a hugely popular trend not just for providing beauty but also food for the table. It’s natural for enthusiasts to want to collect and display gardening items and to incorporate these into their interiors. Part of the appeal is the fun and whimsy they bring to decorating. Garden things really make you feel good, too.
How to Use Your Garden Antiques Inside
If you decide to use vintage or antique garden items in your décor, there are a few considerations. For example, when using garden antiques indoors, proportion is important. Take care not to let large antiques overpower a setting. If you’ve found a rustic wrought-iron gate or an ornate Victorian urn, let it be the focal point of a room and keep other furnishings simple.
Likewise, confine clusters of small objects—hand tools, seed packets, or diminutive terracotta seed pots—to a shelf or tabletop to concentrate their visual impact.
Small Garden Tools
Use your smaller garden tools, such as trowels and soil scoops, as desk organizers along with Victorian clay pots, which hold pencils and pens, erasers, and other desk necessaries. Other tools can be displayed, on a rotating basis, in an old garden trug basket in the hallway.
Short and squat or elegantly lean, watering cans are found in mesmerizing variety. At one time, gardeners had two watering cans: one, painted red, was used for soluble fertilizer; the other, painted green, held pure water.
Rare French cloches from the mid 19th century made to protect plants from frost have moved indoors as lampshades and pots for houseplants.
Maintaining your Tools
If properly maintained, a good old tool can provide years of service in the garden. If you do use your antique garden tools in the garden, learn and employ basic proper care. Oil the wood parts regularly with boiled linseed oil and the metal parts with machine oil to preserve their special patina. Never strip old paint or finish off an old tool.
Collecting Antique Garden Tools
If you get hooked, and want to start a collection, garden antiques show up at thrift shops, auctions, and flea markets. Check out garage sales (and garages) for rusty tools and unwanted garden whimsies whose form still enchants. And don’t forget E-bay.
How to Date Antique Garden Tools
Early garden implements (from the 18th century) are cumbersome, cast in wrought iron with coarse rough edges. A manufacturer’s stamp may be on the metal. The first watering cans, from the 17th century, were made from earthenware, metal being introduced in the 18th century (the French favored copper, the Dutch brass). In the 19th century tin-plate became popular. Galvanized metal examples usually date from the early 20th century and onwards.