Whether it's an old railing, garden arch, ornate fence—or even a statue—you can use these techniques to bring old metal back to life.
Before You Start
Step 1: Remove Old Paint
Step 2: Remove the Old Slats
Step 3: Strip the Paint
Step 4: Remove the Rust
Step 5: Repair Corroded Areas
Step 6: Prime and Paint
Step 7: Attach the New Slats
Various degrees of rust require various degree of work. Minor rust spots can be handled with a light sanding and application of primer and paint. More serious corrosion may require the removal of rusted and damaged areas with an angle grinder.
When replacing wood components, be certain to use a rot-resistant wood like teak, cedar, redwood or pressure treated pine. And use galvanized fasteners for the sturdiest, longest lasting results.
It's not unusual for an old metal object to have so many layers of paint that it's impossible to remove fasteners or see any ornamental details. There are a variety of products and techniques for solving the problem. Whichever method you use, make certain to wear gloves, goggles, respirators or any other recommended safety gear.
• Stripping uses chemicals to dissolve the paint; they are often similar to those used on wood. The active chemicals tend to evaporate rapidly, so cover metal objects with plastic after application. Use water or other solvent and scrub brush to remove loosened stripper and paint.
• Dipping works well for small objects like hinges, knobs and fasteners. It involves completely immersing the object in the stripper until the paint has peeled away.
• Simmering (but not boiling) small objects in a solution of water and baking soda for 1/2 hour, then scrubbing with a soft nylon brush or pad, will remove some paints. If that fails, try another method.
• Burning requires using a propane torch or heat gun to "bubble the paint," which is then scraped off. Fumes are often toxic; work outdoors, use proper safety equipment and follow manufacturer's directions. Not recommended for the average DIYer.
• Abrasive Blasting involves bombarding the object with sand, glass beads, walnut shells or other particles to remove the paint. Small-scale machines can be rented or purchased, but for a one-shot project, it makes more sense to bring it to a company specializing in the procedure. Look under "sandblasting" in the yellow pages.
Use an angle grinder with a cut-off wheel to cut through rusted nuts and bolts. Use Vice Grips to prevent loose bolts from spinning as you work. Save at least one old slat to use as a pattern for creating new slats.
Apply paint stripper according to manufacturer's directions, then scrub with a wire brush and rinse. Repeat as necessary.
Use warm soapy water (or the stripper manufacturer's recommended solvent) to remove residue. Clamp the chair, then use sandpaper, steel wool and an angle grinder with a wire cup brush to remove loosened rust.
Use a rust dissolver like Naval Jelly to remove any remaining rust, then rinse clean. Restore missing or damaged ornamental areas with epoxy repair putty, formulated for use on metal.
Apply a "direct to rust" metal primer to stabilize rusty surfaces and create a better bond for the topcoat. Apply two coats of exterior metal paint.
If new mounting holes are required in the metal sidepieces, drill a series of evenly spaced holes. Cut the slats to length, drill holes about 1-in. in from the ends, then fasten them in place with bolts and nuts.
© 2012 Reiman Media Group, LLC.