Railings around your home may look beautiful and classic, but they can begin to rust or crack after some years, which lets the beauty out. Follow these seven tips for restoring old railings so that they will last for many more years to come.
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Railings covered in thick layers of paint and rust can be restored by sandblasting them with an industrial sander. Just as it sounds, a large machine that sends out blasts of high-pressure air is used to strip the railing down to its bare metal. The downside of this method is that it requires a lot of equipment and money you might not have access to. It’s also a very messy job, with debris flying everywhere – except where you want it! Consequently, most people turn to less intensive measures.
2. Cut Away Rust
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of sandblasting your railings, you can cut away the rust instead. This keeps things simple and doesn’t make too much of a mess, but it’s not as thorough as sandblasting would be. Put on protective gloves before you begin peeling back sections of metal with a wire cutter. The exposed area will have oxidized over time, so prepare for an unsightly mess that has to be removed one layer at a time using a wire brush or sandpaper.
3. Prep for Painting
Once all rust has been successfully scraped away from your railing, take some fine-grade sandpaper and remove any leftover paint. This allows the paint to adhere better over the railing’s new, clean surface. Polish up your railings with a wire brush or steel wool to remove any remaining rust dust.
4. Prime and Paint
If you want your railings restored as quickly as possible, skip straight ahead to painting them instead of sandblasting or scraping away rust first. It’s best to use an oil-based metal primer for this job; it dries fast and bonds well with all metals (even aluminum). Be sure not to use regular house paint on your porch railing – it will chip and crack within days! House paints are made for walls that go indoors and stay put; outdoor elements like wind and rain cause paint known as exterior grade to fail within months.
5. Stain Metal Railings
If you want your railing to look like it’s made of natural wood, you can stain them with a dark or light wood-toned metal paint and add texture using steel wool. The drawback to this method is that the color doesn’t last as long as painted railings do; but they still look nice if done well. Depending on your preferences, you can leave them partially oxidized for an antique effect or completely clean and shiny.
6. Get Rustic
When all else fails, there’s always old-fashioned rustic railings! Keeping the rust intact means lower maintenance costs; simply covering it up with a new layer of paint protects things from wind and rain damage while providing a classic look. If you want to get creative, use a steel brush and rust-colored paint and design some artistic swirls and other shapes on the railing. You could even try painting them with chalkboard paint so that you can write messages or draw doodles for your friends and family!
7. Add Finishing Touches
Many railings have ornate details at the top–designs made of metal set into the rails themselves. These come in all shapes and sizes, depending on what went into building your house originally (for example, if there was an old gate attached). Adding finishing touches like these is easy; simply paint over them completely beforehand to make sure they turn out nice and even. Use a clear coat to prevent yellowing from happening over time.
Lastly, Miami Stainless, a stainless steel manufacturer offers a non-toxic and environmentally friendly anti-rust solution for railings. For more information, click MiamiStainless.com.au.
About the Author:
Jim Pulman has extensive knowledge and experience in Home Building, Construction, and Design. He writes articles in his free time and partners with content creators to share his expertise with the online community.