How to paint iron and steel

Because your furniture and fences need some love, too!
Phil Aynsley

Many paints can be used for metal, but epoxy coatings need less prep and offer superior protection against corrosion. Metal throws up its own problems when painting, so if in doubt, contact the technical department of a paint company for the best advice. After all, you will be investing a lot of your time in the preparation!

How to paint cast metal furniture

Painting cast-iron furniture, or other metal lacework, needs good preparation. Metalshield QD Enamel and Cold Galv Primer sprays make life easier than brushwork.

Gather your supplies

Sturdy scraper or 6-in-1 tool; wire brush (hand and for cordless drill); rags; brush thinner; Dulux Metalshield Cold Galv Primer (if needed); Dulux Metalshield QD Enamel spraypak.

Here’s how…

Step 1

Use scraper and wire brush to get into nooks and crannies of intricate lacework and remove loose paint and rust. Sand where you can reach and remove dust.

Step 2

As with other metals, clean all surfaces with thinners to remove traces of grease or oil. This is especially important on tables. Don’t touch metal after cleaning.

Step 3

Cover surrounding area with plastic drop sheets to catch overspray. Wearing mask and goggles, spray a coat of primer to all areas where metal has been exposed.

Only apply a light coat to avoid runs, and keep spray can moving. When changing spray direction, go beyond chair before reversing direction. When finished, invert can and press nozzle to clear it of paint for future use. Let dry.

Step 4

Apply several thin coats of enamel, again keeping can moving. It’s always better to build up several thin coats rather than 1 thick coat. At end of each coat, clear nozzle. Let dry.

How to paint wrought iron fencing

These look great when the paint is in good condition, but if it starts flaking and rust spots appear, it’s time to repaint. Here we are using Dulux Metalshield Epoxy Enamel, which only needs priming if the surface is weathered or lightly rusted. If it’s new or paint is sound, you can paint epoxy straight onto it. In the past, epoxy paints were only available in a limited range of colours, but this enamel can be tinted to many colours to match.

Gather your supplies

Sturdy scraper or 6-in-1 tool; wet and dry abrasive paper; wire brush (hand and for cordless drill); rags; brush thinner; Dulux Metalshield All Surface Metal Primer (if needed); Dulux Metalshield Epoxy Enamel in colour of choice (here, Domino); safety equipment.

Here’s how…

Step 1

Cleaning, sanding and painting thin metal leads to dust and drips, so place drop sheet under work. Remove loose paint with sturdy scraper or 6-in-1 tool, paying attention to joints where rust may be under paint.

Step 2

With most of loose material gone, use wire brush on cordless drill to brush surface. Wear goggles as wire pieces may come loose. 

Step 3

Use small wire brush (hand or drill) to get into tight corners. Remove shine from existing sound paint coating using wet and dry abrasive paper.

Step 4

With sanding finished, wipe over surfaces with thinners to remove grease or oil. This is very volatile and strong smelling, so mask up. Don’t touch metal until it has been painted. If no metal is exposed and paint is sound, jump straight to epoxy finish coats.

Step 5

Tie back any plants near fence. Brush on a light coat of primer and let dry. Do not put it on thickly, as it may run and sag, making it difficult to sand.

Step 6

Apply 2 coats of enamel. Again, rather than applying 1 thick coat, apply 2 thinner coats, lightly sanding between coats. Let dry.

When preparing old wrought iron or metal lacework, be aware that the decade-old paints may contain lead. Make sure you wear PPE gear, such as mask and goggles, and wash your hands thoroughly when finished.

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