The majority of metal fences and metal post found on residential properties are crafted from steel or aluminum. They are able to mimic the appearance of wrought iron without the sky-high cost of the attractive metal. If you do happen to have a true iron fence, you can consider yourself one of the elite. Regardless of what type of metal fence you have, it is important to care for them properly to ensure they last as long as possible. We have put together some information on spring fence maintenance for metal fences so that you can keep your fence looking pristine all year long.
How Long Will A Metal Fence Last?
Metal naturally has a longer lifespan than softer materials such as wood. Depending on the type of metal fence you have, it may even last longer than the natural lifespan. A hollow steel metal fence for example can easily last for 20 years as long as it has a protective finish. Chain link fences tend to be crafted from galvanized steel. If they are coated in vinyl, this type of metal fence will usually stand for 15 or 20 years before it needs to be replaced.
Aluminum fences are not only affordable, they typically also last for 50 years or more. Solid steel fences, cast-iron fences, and tubular-aluminum fencing have the potential to last a lifetime. Although metal is much sturdier than other materials, proper care is needed to ensure they can maintain their longevity. Our spring fence maintenance for metal fences will tell you everything you need to know about caring for your metal fence.
Will A Galvanized Fence or Wrought Iron Rust?
Iron and pretty much any other metal will rust, especially if it is outside. The majority of galvanized and wrought-iron fences will develop spots of rust over time. It will take years or even decades for this rust to damage the structure of the fence, but it can make your fence look unsightly. Galvanization is a method used to help protect iron and steel fences from environmental damage. This zinc coating is usually applied over a metal fence and will help prevent corrosion and rust for as long as 50 years. Galvanization is not permanent, you will need to reapply it occasionally, especially if your fence was damaged in any way. There is no way to completely prevent metal from rusting if it is exposed to the elements, but you can delay the process for many years, even a lifetime.
Metal Fence Maintenance Tips
Our spring fence maintenance for metal fences will help you keep your fence strong and free of rust. The first order of business is to inspect your metal fence at least once a year. This will give you a chance to spot problems before they become rust, or worse. Examine your entire metal fence for scratches, dents, chips in the sealant, missing links or caps, and any other issue that may damage the metal.
Next, set aside a day each month to wash and wax your metal fence. Just like a car, regular washing and waxing can help protect the metal from the elements, in addition to the sealant that has already been applied. A gentle soap and warm water are all you need. Pick a day when the sun is shining so that the water dries quickly ahead of your waxing efforts. You can apply any type of gentle gel-style car wax to your fence. This will help protect it from UV rays, the elements, and even fading if you have a layer of paint on your metal fence.
Vegetation and Rust
It is also a good idea to prevent vegetation from leaning or climbing on your metal fence. Climbing plants look attractive, but the vines have the ability to eat away at protective coating and even paint that covers the metal. This will allow moisture to attach to the metal, which will eventually cause it to rust. On that note, make sure that you avoid wetting your fence when you water your lawn and plants. A little bit of water is ok, but constantly dousing your metal fence can reduce its longevity.
Check your fence carefully for rust spots. If you find any, no matter how small, you need to address them immediately. The rusted areas will need to be completed sanded down to remove all traces of rust. Wipe the surface down to get rid of rust dust, and then clean the area and allow it to dry. Reseal the metal fencing where you sanded the rust away. You can also paint over the areas once the sealant has fully dried.
The Best Way To Keep Metal Fences From Rusting
There are a few tricks you can use to help prevent rust from developing on your metal fence. You can call in professionals to have your metal fence cleaned and sealed, or you can apply coating on your own. It is always a good idea to have the fence sealed professionally with commercial-grade products for maximum efficiency. Keeping your metal fence clean is the best way to stop rust in its tracks. Dirt, moisture, and air all trigger rust development, so make sure to clean your entire fence at least once a month. A simple bath in warm water and regular dish soap will get rid of debris that may be wearing down the protective coating. Choose a day that has full sun to help the fence dry after washing it.
Everyone likes to save money, but keep in mind that there are some things you should never skimp on. If you are looking to lower your budget, it is better to go with a simpler design over cheaper materials. Always buy the best quality metal you can afford, and the highest grade sealant that your budget will allow. This will help you save money in the long run by keeping rust at bay for as long as possible. An oil-based rust-resistant primer should always coat your fence, even if you plan to paint your fence later. When choosing a paint, it should always be oil-based metal paint. Use a couple of layers to increase the overall protection.
Cleaning Suggestions For Metal Fences
Cleaning a metal fence is as easy as cleaning your car. All you need is warm water, dish soap, and a soft cloth. Rub down your fence to get rid of debris, dust, dead bugs, and salt from the rain. Rinse your fence with spray from your garden hose and they either dry down your fence or let it air dry in the sun. Never use acids like vinegar on your fence. Not only will they break down the sealant, but they can also trigger the development of rust. Once your fence is dry, apply a layer of gel-based car wax for extra protection.
How Do You Weatherproof A Metal Fence
The best way to weatherproof a metal fence is to have it coated in protective sealant and then painted over with oil-based paint. There is no way to completely eliminate the ravages of mother nature on anything that is outside, but you can limit the damage. Check your fence for loose nails, hinges, or dents on the surface. Pay special attention to these areas when sealing your metal fence. Damaged areas are more prone to developing rust which can easily spread to other parts of your fence. Waxing your metal fence once a month will also help protect it from moisture and sun damage. Just make sure you clean your fence before applying a layer of gel-based wax.
How Do You Fix A Rusty Fence?
The best thing about spring fence maintenance for metal fences is that you can actually spot small bits of rust before they become big problems. When you inspect your fence, make repairs to post, links, or hinges if you notice any damage. If you happen to spot rust, then act quickly to clean and repair the area before it spreads.
To fix a rust fence all you need is sandpaper, cleaning tools, and rust-preventing primer. You will need to sand down all of the rusty areas until you reach healthy metal. Make sure there is no rust left anywhere, or it will simply keep spreading. Once you have sanded down the rust, you will need to clean all of the rust dust off of your fence. Apply a rust-preventing primer over your clean fence and allow it to dry completely. If your fence was painted, you can go over the primer with a coat of oil-based metal paint once the primer has dried down.
When it comes to repairing a large metal fence, or if you think the overall stability of your metal fence has been compromised, seek help from a fencing company. A fencing professional will have the tools, skills, and knowledge needed to restore your metal fence and protect its surface after repairs.