How To Update and Refinish Old Iron Rails!

We saved literally thousands, refinishing our wrought iron on our porch! We got a quote to refinish 6 sections of wrought iron, and 2 stairway railings for over $2,500!


I was able to re-finish ours in 1 weekend, and you can too! Disclaimer: it is NOT fun! But it is super rewarding! You can not complete this project in 1 day! You need a minimum of 2 days for it dry in between coats!


Here's what you need:

- Electric screwdriver

- Wire Cup Brush

- Rust-Oleum Stops Rust - flat rusty metal primer

- Rust-Oleum Professional - 1 gal high performance protective enamel gloss black oil-based interior/exterior paint

- Wet Rag

- Small Paint Brush for details (I used an old toothbrush)

- (2) 4" roller brush, frame, and trey

- Industrial Face Masks


There are three major parts to refinishing the wrought iron. Part 1 (removing old rust) and 2 (priming the iron) must be done in succession when you know no rain is expected! Part 3 can be done anytime after part 2 is dry.

Part 1: Remove old Rust


1. WEAR MASK, rust particles go everywhere and you WILL breathe it in! Insert wire cup brush to the head of your electric screwdriver. Then go to town on the rusty areas of your iron. There are different wire brush heads if you have more intricate iron and need to get into smaller cracks, but the cup brush worked well for me!

Helpful Tips: If your wire brush runs over an area that you need to focus on - the area turned brown as the wire brush hits it. Make sure to work that area until it feels smooth. If the iron stays black/grey as you go over it - there is no rust there and should be okay to move on. Second big tip for me was to remember you can adjust the direction of the spin on your brush. As you move the screwdriver over the iron - it will try and pull away and was hard to control and keep in one area. I found when it did this, i switched the direction and it was much easier to control. The right direction is dependent on the angle of the area you are going over. There is no right or wrong direction!


2. Before you move on to part 2, you will need to make sure to remove any "rust dust" or particles from the iron before you prime it. I ran a barely wet rag over every inch of the iron to remove everything left behind. It also let me know what areas weren't smooth enough, and I needed to go back and hit again with the wire brush!


Part 2: Paint with Metal Primer


This is important to do after you clean all the rust off. You can't wait days in between, especially if it supposed to rain again. The iron is in a vulnerable state when left with out the rust and will rust quickly if it rains, you will have to repeat step 1.

3. Use your roller and trey to do the first outline. Tape areas as needed. Do as much as you can with the roller first. Then go back and touch up areas your roller wont reach with your smaller brush - toothbrush. As you can see to the left - it will look a pretty brown matte color.


4. You can do two coats of the primer. I only did 2 coats where I knew heat and water get to the iron often. I did 2 coats on the top bar and wider posts.


Helpful Tips: make sure to place a towel or drip cloth under the entire area you are working. Due to the fact that every surface isn't flat - it does drip! It is almost impossible to clean out of aggregate (which is what I have) even with a paint thinner!

Part 3: Paint with Protective enamel gloss


Make sure the primer has a MINIMUM of 24 hours to dry before starting this step! Even if you think it is dry!!!!



5. Use your roller and trey to do the first outline. Tape areas as needed. Do as much as you can with the roller first. Then go back and touch up areas your roller wont reach with your smaller brush - toothbrush. I did 2 coats on the black!

Helpful tips: I wasn't able to clean the rollers, brushes, or treys. The oil in them makes it hard, even with the paint remover! So I just bought cheap heads so I could throw them away with each use!


Have any other helpful tips? Questions? Comment below!

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