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December 9, 2023

How to Restore Rusty Wrought Iron Fencing


Wrought iron fencing looks amazing and has a certain grandeur that can’t be matched by modern and minimal alternatives. However, Victorian-era luxuries come with problems of the past. Unlike a steel fence, a wrought iron fence gets rusty very easily. Now you have two options. You can search for a “fencing company near me” and hire the best professionals near you to restore the fence. Otherwise, you can do it yourself and save some money. Here’s how:

The Process

  1. Wrought iron is quick to rust – Wrought iron is a ferrous metal. Unlike an alloy like steel, it is prone to rust from humidity and moisture. While your wrought iron fence is protected with primer and paint, they start chipping away if you don’t do regular maintenance. That’s why maintenance is very important if you have wrought iron fencing. However, restoring a rusty wrought iron fence is relatively easy and simple. Let’s check out how you can do that.
  1. Rub with a wire brush – You may have noticed that the rust has formed on parts of the wrought iron fence that has lost its paint a long while ago. When the rust forms, it also spreads to the surrounding surface and weakens the paint on non-rusted areas. However, getting rid of rust is easy. All you need is a bit of elbow grease and a wire brush.

Wire brushes are effective and the necessary first part of removing rust from any surface. It can easily take care of the top flaky layer and remove it with ease. However, wire brushes aren’t easy to operate. While they are dirt cheap, you need to spend hours on manual labor to get rid of the flaky rust layer at the top. Instead, you may spend a bit more and get a wire wheel.

A wire wheel easily attaches to your drill and saves you numerous hours and energy spent on manual labor. Wire wheels are also more durable, get the job done faster, and don’t leave you incapable of any other physical activity at the end of the task.

As you move over the rusted portion of the fence with a wire wheel or brush, you should be able to notice rust flakes falling off. Make sure that you are thorough with the job and don’t miss out on any corners and cracks. Once you’ve taken care of most of the rust, you can move on to the next step.

  1. Refine the surface with sandpaper – Even after removing most of the rust on the surface, some of it may still be left and the fence rods should look a bit rough. That’s why you need to even out the surface. Unlike the previous step, you can’t take any shortcuts while refining a surface. There are no drill bits that can help.

Get medium-grit sandpaper and start working those forearms. The precision of the grit on the sandpaper would depend on the condition of your fence. If you have worked on wood and metal surfaces before, you will be able to have a feel for it. Otherwise, you can use some discretion and get the help of a friend who has worked on metal surfaces before. Once you’ve decided on the sandpaper, buy plenty of it. You’re going to need all of it.

Once you’ve stocked up on sandpaper, it’s time to sweat for hours while refining and evening out the surface. Keep rubbing the sandpaper on the fence rods with a moderate amount of force. Sand the surfaces till they are smooth enough with no marks or scratches left behind by the wire brush or wire wheel.

It’s also important to know your limits. Those who have worked on plenty of home improvement projects work with a lot of timber. However, metal isn’t timber. It is much harder and very difficult to completely even out manually. If it looks good enough, it’s a job well done. Once again, don’t forget to reach all the corners and crevices and sand all the surfaces as evenly as possible.

  1. Use a rust converter – After you’re done with the above-mentioned hard steps, it’s a smooth sailing ride through the rest of the process. After sanding and refining the metal surface, you need to use a rust converter. It’s a chemical compound that prevents rust from spreading to the untarnished iron. The rust converter is acidic enough to neutralize any tiny specs of deep-seated rust that you weren’t able to remove.

You need to check the instructions on the container and mix the appropriate amount of rust converter with water. If you’re up for another round of sanding, you can rub in the rust converter with a wire brush. Otherwise, you can fill up the chemical compound in a spray bottle and apply it all over the fence.

  1. Seal the wrought iron fence – After applying the rust converter your iron fence should be almost indistinguishable from the previous rusted state. There should be no signs of rust. Now you need to seal the iron surface to prevent it from rusting as soon as it rains. The steps are similar to painting a wall. Do it without skipping any step and your wrought iron fence should be as good as new for a long time.

Start by applying an even coat of rust-inhibiting primer over the iron surface. After it dries, apply another coat. Once the second primer coat dries, you can apply an even coat of rust-proof paint. Wait for it to dry and apply one more coat of paint. Your wrought iron fence should look as good as new.


While restoring a wrought iron fence isn’t a complicated job, it is certainly a tiring one. Depending on the size of your property, you may spend a lot of time and energy restoring the fence. It may take a weekend or even a week. That can make you lose the valued time and money you could have earned during that time. That’s why it’s best to search for a “fencing company near me” and leave the task to the professionals.

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