How to Maintain your Iron Fence

An iron fence curves around a public courtyard beside the words "Maintaining Iron Fencing"

Your iron fence is an investment that you hope will last a lifetime. The best way to achieve this goal is to keep up maintenance on it. A wrought iron fence that’s improperly maintained may:

  • Accumulate unsightly rust

  • Bend or warp

  • Weaken and even prematurely fail

  • Leach iron into the soil

  • Lower your property value

However, iron fences are also relatively easy to care for. Here’s how:

Have your Wrought Iron Fence Properly Installed

The most important first step to make sure that your fence lasts a long time is to hire an experienced company that will install and weatherproof the iron fence properly. Look for people with many years of experience who can handle a job of any size.

Prevent Rust and Damage

It’s far easier to prevent damage than to repair it. Regular preventative maintenance will keep your wrought iron fence looking great and save you money in the long run. Start by having your fence painted with rust-resistant paints, products, and protective waxes. Next, keep bushes and trees clear of the iron fence. In the fall, clear fallen leaves from around the fence so they aren’t soaking the metal over the winter. You’ll also want to maintain proper drainage so water doesn’t pool around the iron. Finally, be careful when using tools like lawn mowers around the fence so you don’t accidentally dent the iron or chip the protective coating.

Regularly Check Your Fence for Damage

Every so often, take a walk around your wrought iron fence and inspect it for potential problems. Keep an eye out for any developing rust spots as well as areas that seem to be curving, buckling, or sagging. These could be signs of problems with the fence itself or the ground beneath it. In either case, you need to address these problems before they get worse.

Clean Your Metal Fence Properly

Iron fences need to be periodically cleaned to remove environmental buildup and keep the fence looking its best. Do not use harsh cleaning compounds or abrasive brushes as these can damage the protective coating over the metal. Instead, to clean a metal fence, all you need is warm water, detergent, and a sponge. You can use a soft brush with a light touch to get into any small corners. Rinse thoroughly when you’re done, and consider reapplying protective waxes.

Remove Rust from your Iron Fence

If rust spots appear, act quickly in order to stop the damage in its tracks. On an iron fence, rust will look like rough, raised, brownish areas. Rust forms where bare iron contacts moisture and the air. This is a problem in every environment, but rust forms faster in humid areas.

Thankfully, rust removal is relatively straightforward. Here are the most effective steps for removing rust from wrought iron fences:

  1. Clear away vegetation and obstacles from around the iron fence.

  2. Using a fine wire brush, scrub at the rust spots to remove them. The rust will flake away, revealing iron underneath. Do not use a heavy wire or a lot of pressure for this step; work carefully and patiently. As an alternative to the brush method, you could also use a rust converter product. Follow the instructions carefully.

  3. Use a soft cloth to brush the rust particles away and clean the surface.

  4. Apply a coat of primer to the affected area. Be sure to choose a primer that is meant for use on metal; other primers may drip or not adhere to the iron.

  5. Next, apply several coats of an oil-based paint designed for metal. Let each coat dry completely before applying the next. Try to match the color as best as you can.

  6. Once the last coat is dry, apply a metal-grade wax to further protect your iron fence.

These steps work well on most areas of your fence, but if it has hinged gates or handles, you may need to also oil them to keep the mechanisms turning smoothly.

There are some jobs that an average home handyman can’t tackle. This can include extensive damage, such as if a tree falls on your fence, or cases where the ground underneath has eroded, causing the fence to curve. Sometimes, there may also be an issue with hardware on iron fence gates, such as hinges not working or a handle getting stuck. If a quick shot of WD-40 doesn’t fix these issues, you may want to have the gate professionally replaced.

If you need your wrought iron fence repaired or replaced, contact Rustic Fence Specialists, Inc. They have over five decades of experience installing fences on residential and commercial properties in the Arlington, Texas area.