Wrought iron is an age-old preferred metal used for making gates and anchors. Although it is corrosion-resistant, it is not corrosion-proof. Knowing how to restore wrought iron will help you save not only money but also help preserve the quality and beauty of the iron.
Wrought iron is a type of iron which is obtained through a process known as smelting. The look and texture of it resemble almost that of wood. It is typically used in houses to make gates, railings, chains, and so on to add something we call “character”. Dating back to the 19th century, wrought iron has always been preferred due to its high malleability and corrosion-resistant nature. However, like any iron long periods of exposure to oxygen will eventually cause wrought iron to corrode. Here are a few simple steps to restore wrought iron.
How To Restore Wrought Iron
To begin the process of restoring wrought iron you will need a large bucket of water, boiler suit, metal cutter, sponge and scrubber, rust-resistant primer.
Step 1: Preparation
To prepare for restoration, you will need to first clean and remove damaged parts. Some parts may need to be cut out if it is damaged completely. Use a metal cutter to do so. Make sure to wear safety gloves and goggles while doing this. Go over the surface with a coarse brush or wire brush to remove any flakey surfaces.
Step 2: Sand Blasting
Sandblasting is a quick and effective method to remove corrosion and rough surfaces. It uses abrasive particles and high pressure to smoothen a material.
Use a piece of equipment appropriate for your metal piece. Larger surfaces may require portable blasters compared to smaller pieces, which usually require cabinet blasters. Using appropriate abrasives is also important. Using glass particles as an abrasive will give you the best results without damaging your metal. Make sure you are wearing a boiler suit while doing this.
Step 4: Cleaning
Fill a bucket with water and mix dishwashing soap in it. You can also use detergent powder instead. Stir quickly till there are bubbles on top. Dip a coarse scrubber or brush in the mixture and scrub the metal body thoroughly. This step is time-consuming but very important. Any residue left may interfere in the further steps. After scrubbing with soap rinse the metal thoroughly with water. Allow the metal to dry.
Take a cloth to further rub the iron to eliminate any tiny residue on the iron. The process of cleaning may need to start again to ensure no flakes or residue remain.
Step 5: Protection
After cleaning your metal, apply a coat of rust-resistant primer on the metal and let it dry completely. This will help prevent further weathering. You can also opt to use car wax instead.
After applying the protective coat make sure to dust your metal piece again before painting. Use rust-resistant paint in layers.
Some people also prefer powder coating to paint when it comes to wrought iron. Powder coating generally involves painting the metal but only in powder form. Here, the dry powder is applied using an electrostatic force and then sealed by heating. Although more expensive, this method provides a tougher protective layer. However, rust-resistant works just fine by itself.
Restoring wrought iron is easy but time-consuming. Wrought iron should be cleaned regularly to prevent rusting and wear. You may opt to have it restored by professionals but that may cost you a lot of money. Although the at-home method isn’t exactly inexpensive, it is comparably economical. Besides, the results of your hard work are always rewarding.
This job should always be done outdoors and safety must be maintained. Wear gloves and safety goggles throughout the process.
How to Remove Rust from Wrought Iron
To remove rust from wrought iron you must first scrub away any flakey or loose rust from the surface. Proceed to smoothen the surface with medium-grit sandpaper and dust away any remaining residue. A smooth surface helps ensure that the paint will go in evenly. Purchase a good quality rust remover and follow the directions on the label to form a solution.
With the help of the solution, rub the surface thoroughly. Make sure to remove even the tiniest spots as it may lead to further rusting in the future. Rub the metal surface with a fine steel wool pad after it is dry. This will repair the appearance of the iron. Clean again with a wet sponge.
After the metal is dry, apply a coat of rust-resistant primer to prevent future rusting. A primer also helps seal the surface, making it ready for applying paint. Once dry, apply rust-resistant paint in layers. Make sure to let the first layer dry before applying the second.
How to Restore Shine to Wrought Iron
Always clean the wrought iron before proceeding. Next, rub it down with a baking soda and warm water solution. Apply a layer of car wax once dry. This will help preserve the newly gained shine.
Restore Wrought Iron Patio Furniture
Scrub the furniture piece with a wire brush to remove flakey rust and paint. Smoothen the surface with sandpaper. You may need to sandblast the furniture if it is a heavy-duty metal or severely corroded.
If your patio furniture is cemented to the ground, i.e. in case of benches and swings, you may need to remove your furniture from the ground. This may require cutting the metal feet.
Clean the furniture with a sponge and a dishwasher and water solution. Dust off any excess dirt. Apply a coat of rust-resistant primer before painting. Apply a layer of rust-resistant paint. Build layers as necessary. Make sure to remove non-wrought iron parts before restoring the iron. Some parts may need to be replaced or cut off in case of severe damage. For pieces of furniture that need to be fixed to the ground, make sure to apply cement evenly without leaving gaps. This will prevent creating bubbles and stop moisture from seeping in. Apply varnish to re-shine wooden parts.