A Guide to Restoring Wrought Iron Fence
Whether you installed a wrought iron fence yourself, at some time in the past, or you bought a home that has an existing wrought iron fence that you want to keep, you might be wondering how to go about restoring wrought iron fence.
The good news is that it is sometimes possible to restore wrought iron fence, but the process, cost and viability of restoring this kind of metal fence depends a lot on the state of the fence. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Should You Consider Restoring Wrought Iron Fence?
There are several reasons why you might consider restoring wrought iron fence instead of replacing it.
Perhaps the fence is unique and can’t be matched with another product. Or maybe you want to save some money on fencing.
Sometimes, your fence might even be dangerous to people or animals due to rust on posts or other parts of the fence.
Whatever your reasons are, wrought iron fence is beautiful and elegant, so if you can restore it instead of replacing it with a new fence, it’s worth looking into this option.
Inspecting Your Wrought Iron Fence
The first thing you will need to do to figure out if you can restore your wrought iron fence is inspect it carefully.
In some cases, if there has been standing water along your fence line, fence posts might be damaged and corroded. This does not mean that you can’t remove the panels, replace the fence posts with new posts that match the original size, and then rehang your panels.
Take a close look at the fence panels though. Surface rust can be removed, but if there is significant, severe rust, it may be a lot more difficult and expensive to repair it.
Take Down Your Fence
Once you’ve established that your wrought iron fence is worth saving, the next step is to take it down. You will want to do this as carefully as possible, and avoid damaging any parts that you want to reuse. That usually means cutting bolts and nuts or brackets (which are easier and cheaper to replace) than panels or posts.
If you need to keep your yard secured, and your fence posts are in good condition, you could temporarily install chain link or welded mesh on the fence line. Or, if you’re taking your posts out, you might be able to rent temporary fence.
Removing Old Coatings
Once you’ve taken down the parts of the fence you want to keep, and taken the other parts off site, the next step is to remove any old coatings and rust on the fence components. There are several ways to do this.
A pressure washer can remove old paint that is flaking off your metal fence quite well, and it’s easy to do this yourself with rented equipment.
If you have a tougher coating on the fence, or you have a lot of surface rust to remove, you might want to consider having your wrought iron fence professionally sandblasted. This will remove all the old paint or coatings and clean off any rust.
Repaint Your Fence
Metal fences that aren’t protected from the elements usually rust quickly, and if you’ve gone to all the trouble of restoring your wrought iron fence, that’s the last thing you want!
If you have sandblasted your fence down to bare metal, then you might want to consider having the panels hot dip galvanized before you apply a top coat. This applies even more if you live in a coastal area.
Whether you choose to galvanize your restored wrought iron fence or powder coat it, choose the right color, and a high quality product that will stand the test of time, weather the elements well, and complement your home.
Re-Install Your Fence
The last step in restoring a wrought iron fence is to reinstall it. If you are using existing posts, you can simply replace the fittings, nuts and bolts. If you’re installing new posts too, be sure to set out each fence line carefully, so that your new posts match the size of your panels correctly.
Who Can You Ask to Restore Your Wrought Iron Fence?
Unfortunately, true wrought iron fence is not that common anymore, and many fence contractors today don’t restore them. However, if you look for local contractors who do offer installation and maintenance of metal fences, either they or someone they know should be able to help.
A Costly Exercise
Of course, there are material cost savings to restoring a wrought iron fence rather than replacing it with a new ornamental or metal fence, don’t expect it to be cheap.
What you save on the material costs by reusing some or all of your wrought iron fence is likely to be offset by higher labor costs to remove your fence, repair and recoat it, and then reinstall it.
So, while you can certainly save a great fence by choosing to restore your existing wrought iron fence, you should budget enough to do the project properly.