An ornamental iron fence can really add to the curb appeal of your home, whether it's a tall security fence or a simple waist high fence used more as decoration than for security. True iron can develop rust, though, so some maintenance is required to keep it looking good. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Stay away from metal
Metal-on-metal is more likely to lead to rust, either from corrosive action between the two metals or from one metal developing rust and spreading it to the other. If you must attach items to your fence with wire or other similar hardware, opt for those that are covered in a rubber coating. This will protect the iron of the fence and help prevent rust.
Tip #2: Keep it painted
Paint is what stands between your wrought iron and rust. Survey the fence at least once a season for any cracked, peeling, or damaged paint. If you find damage, scrape off the loose paint with a metal scraper. Then, scrub off any rust and further smooth the wrought iron with a metal brush or steel wool. Once smooth and rust-free, paint over the damaged area with a rust-preventing paint formulated for outdoor use on metal. By keeping up with maintenance needs as they occur, you can put off sanding and painting the entire fence and instead just fix it where needed each year.
Tip #3: Consider a sealant
In some cases, paint may not be enough. If you live near salt water, are in an exceptionally wet area, or if your fence just seems particularly rust-prone, consider coating it with an iron sealant. You can purchase clear protective sealants for outdoor metal at any hardware store, usually as a spray-on treatment, although brush-on varieties are available. Reapply the sealant every couple of years or at least each time you repaint to further protect against rust.
Tip #4: Repair any damage
Although extremely durable, damage can occur to wrought iron fencing. Wherever the fence is bent or the paint is scraped off is prone to rust. Often, you can bend a fence back into shape. Then, it's a simple act of sanding it and repainting it as detailed above. Another common form of damage is holes. These may happen if a piece of hardware is removed from the fence or if you drill a hole in a fence post to install something. Make sure the hole is sanded, painted, and sealed so that rust doesn't begin to form.
Contact an ornamental fence company for more advice on caring for your wrought iron fencing.