Wrought iron fences are a stately way to add character to your home; however, over time, they can become rusted, which detracts from their appearance. The same is true for chain link fences. It’s important to remove rust from your fence as soon as possible, because besides being unsightly, it can damage the fence on a structural level as well.
Fortunately removing the rust is an easy DIY project that you can accomplish in an afternoon with just a few steps.
Clean the Entire Fence
Your first mode of action should be to clean the entire fence, not just the rusted areas. This way, you will achieve a more uniform look, and you will protect the unrusted areas from future damage in addition to repairing what has already been done. On rusted sections, you will be removing the paint in addition to the rust. There are a number of ways that this can be done: the most popular options are sandpaper, wire brushes, and steel wool. Power tools may be required for deeper pockets of rust. Be sure that you work far enough that you can no longer see any rust; it is important to remove all of it rather than just an outer layer. Once the rust is gone, buff and smooth the area.
Apply Rust Neutralizer
Even the best sanding job cannot remove all of the rust particles that may be present. To be sure that you’ve gotten rid of everything, wipe the fence down with a 1:1 mixture of lemon juice and white vinegar. Allow the solution to sit for one hour, then rinse with soapy water. This will neutralize any remaining rust to ensure that you will not have any problems in the near future.
Paint with Rust-Resistant Products
Use a primer and a paint that are specially manufactured to resist rust. You will likely need to apply several coats. Be sure to allow each coat to dry before applying a new one– this can take up to four hours. Using a quality paint will protect your fence down the line and help keep rust from returning.
Perform Regular Maintenance
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the old adage certainly applies to preventing rust. Clean your fence regularly and check for early signs of rust. Use steel wool to remove the initial rusting before it progresses, and apply the lemon juice/vinegar mixture to the spots afterwards. Keep a can of the paint you used on hand for small repairs as needed.
Performing these small bits of rusted fence maintenance as issues arise will keep you from having to do a large-scale derusting in the future, or needing a whole new fence.