Wrought Iron Porch Railing
Is in desperate need of attention - It is rusted in spots and the paint is peeling horribly...
What would be the best way to fix this???
1. Totally replace it - Have been looking at the Village IronSmith products at HomeDepot...
2. Take the original and have it sandblasted and powder coated??? If so, how do I find someone locally that does this???
3. Go over the original with a wirebrush and sand the rusted areas, prime it and spray paint it???
Any comments/suggestion would be greatly appreciated...
Can you get that railing sand blasted and then nickle plated?
There will be lots of places in your area that do powder coatings. Just look under "Industrial Coatings" in your Yellow Pages phone directory. Typically, the size of object that can be powder coated will be limited by the size of the baking oven at the place that's doing the work. If your rail is too large to fit in their baking oven, they can't powder coat it.
Powder coatings are much more impermeable and much more durable than air dry coatings like paints, thereby protecting the underlying metal much better than a paint would.
Talk to the places that do powder coatings in your area about what colour will hide the underlying iron the best, and how thick they can make the coating.
Generally, the harder and stronger the coating on the metal, the higher the temperature it takes to melt it. "Powder coating" is typically done at temperatures below 750 degrees. You can get an even harder and stronger coating on your railing if you have it "ceramic coated", which is to have it coated with porcelain enamel. Porcelain enamel is a much harder and more durable coating than even a powder coating. For example, on a stove, the (typically) white cooktop will be powder coated at about 500 degrees, but the blue/grey coating inside the oven will be porcelain enamel baked on at about 1300 deg. F. That oven coating is the hardest and most durable coating in most people's homes (save, perhaps for the chrome plating on brass fixtures in their bathrooms).
The only problem is that porcelain enamel is a hard and brittle material, and using metal fasteners on it to mount that railing is likely to crack or chip it up. Also, both powder coating and porcelain enamel result in very smooth finishes which might be slippery when they're wet with rain and perhaps more difficult to grasp securely in a fall.
But, powder coating would be vastly better than painting, and porcelain enamel would give you a harder and more durable finish than powder coating. I'd ask around at the places that do porcelain enamel coatings to see if they can think of any other good reasons not to go with a porcelain enamel coating on an iron railing that's going to spend it's life outdoors. Also, the porcelain enamel option is likely gonna cost more.
Porcelain Enamel Institute
The Powder Coating Institute
(I'd also inquire about nickle plating that iron railing. That would be more durable and protective than any porcelain enamel could ever be. Also, nickle is naturally corrosion resistant because it forms an oxide that's impermeable to air and water. It's like copper in that respect, only better; it rusts, but the rust it forms is highly impermeable to both O2 and H2O, sticks tenaciously to the underlying metal and thereby protects it from further oxidation. The oxide film that nickle forms is much more impermeable than the brown "rust" that copper forms, so that it protects the underlying metal from further rusting so well that it remains so thin as to be transparent. What better corrosion protection for the underlying iron could you imagine than a coating of pure nickel that naturally forms an oxide surface layer that protects itself (and therefore everything under it) from the oxygen and water in the environment? If nickle plating this railing is feasible, that's the way I'd go.)
Thanks for the awesome post Nestor...I was able to find a company locally that will powder coat it and another that will sandblast it - About the same price or a bit +- as replacing it with new...
Hi there. If you haven't already done your railing, here is another option.
First off... I'm a blacksmith...
Unless found in a house built 1870's or earlier, very few metal railings that are found these days are true wrought iron. Usually, they're black but some sort of mild steel. W. iron is not produced much these days. There are a few true wrought iron fabricators/foundries that produce limited run - usually for the authentic restoration market.
If your railing is true wrought, then it should feel and look sort of like it has tons of fibers in it (they're inclusions in the metal). This roughness on the surface allows any coating applied to adhere better. Thus, if you do have a true wrought piece - any coating you have applied will tend to be thicker than if the coating was applied to a normal mild steel surface. This will be good for you!
On the flip side, depending on where you live (near an ocean?) then all tiny inclusions also mean that there's more surface area to trap moisture and oxidize (rust). Mild steel is smoother in finish, so it's usually not as prone to high rust. Although both will rust given time and opportunity. If it's true wrought, you'll want a finish that doesn't trap air behind the finish.
so... (sorry for the long response).
Find an electrostatic coating place. Usually places that fix/refinish outdoor metal furniture... Have them sandblast the piece first. Then make sure that any welds/joins have not broken free. Then think about having them electostatic coat it. Usually they'll hang the railing, introduce an electrical current to it, then spray it with liquid or powder paint. The paint is attracted to the charge, and adheres in a tight bond. Very efficient. Most all of the paint adheres to the metal surface, there are virtually no drips, runs, overspray, underspray, etc. There are different densities/types of coatings, some of them also baked afterward. (very similar to powder coating).
Here's the big news: E-stat is often cheaper!
The lawn furniture refinishing places know which of their polymer coatings work best on which types of metals. They'll be able to advise you exactly.
I had my own custom mild steel rail in my house, blasted and E-stated (and baked). This was almost 8 years ago now. That's the main stair in my house, and the rail gets hard usage. It looks great. No rust, no flaking, no issues. And I DO live on the coast. So if there were cracks or chips - the metal would be rusting by now. It's not.
It's worth it to check it out...
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