How to Restore Rusty Wrought Iron Fencing


There is something about the characteristics of wrought iron that just cannot be mimicked with any other type of fencing. We love and admire these beautiful fences that usually adorn older estates and historic homes. The one drawback to wrought iron is that it is susceptible to rust. Over time, rust can begin to penetrate into the iron and cause aesthetic and integrity problems down the road. Continue below for our do-it-yourself guide to cleaning and restoring your wrought iron to its former glory.



Step 1) Roll up your sleeves.

Cleaning and restoring a rusty fence will require some elbow grease. There will be a lot of manual scrubbing, scraping, and sanding going on here. Getting into every nook and crevice is important in this process. So make sure you are able to pay attention to detail during this process as well. We don’t want to leave any space for rust to reside and begin to grow again. If you want lasting results you will need to take your time and avoid cutting any corners!


Step 2) Remove the rust.

Any loose or peeling paint, chunks of rust, dirt, and grime need to be removed from the surface of the fence. Some tools that would be worth purchasing to help you with this step are steel wool, steel brushes, and sandpaper with differing grits. Using a drill with a wire attachment can make it much easier to cover larger surface areas like the posts and along the rungs. Smaller brushes might be needed to get into the crevices of more ornate styles of fencing. Be sure to penetrate through the entire rust layer. Sand it and buff it out really well to ensure it is totally gone.  Rust is like a cancer that will simply grow back over time if not removed or killed in its entirety.


Step 3) Apply a chemical or natural rust neutralizer.

CRC, Permatex, Rustolium, Gemplers, and Loctite are all common bands that produce rust neutralizers. Look for the best reviews and choose a product you are comfortable using.  If you do not wish to use a chemical-based remover, there are more natural solutions available on the internet. They will all include one or two of the following common household ingredients: lemon juice, white vinegar, borax, baking soda, and salt. Choose one that best suits your needs and go to town! Be sure to follow the directions of each solution carefully as some require a certain amount of time to sit and work into the fencing and then might need to be washed away with soap and water.


Step 4) Paint with rust resistant products.

Not all paint and primer products fight rust, but you can find products on the market that are specifically engineered for the purpose of painting over old rusty fences like these. It is best for this type of iron fence restoration to use a primer as well as a paint. Apply at least 2 coats of each to ensure your fence has a strong, lasting, weather and rust resistant coating to see it through the years to come.


Step 5) Give up?

If you just don’t think you have the time and energy to spend restoring your old rusty wrought iron, consider replacing it with a new aluminum fence product. It won’t be quite the same, but we can just about match the style of your current wrought iron fence and guarantee that our powder coated product will give you years and years of rust-free fencing delight!



We would love to walk you through the process of getting a new fence. Call anytime to schedule a free onsite estimate with one of our sales representatives. You can call 301-663-4000 or email our scheduler at