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How to Do Metal Fence Maintenance

Aug. 05, 2021

Metal fences are an attractive way to enclose your property and keep pets and children safely in the yard. While these types of fences are not completely maintenance-free, preventative efforts (such as keeping landscaping away from the fence and repairing damage in a timely manner) go a long way in keeping the fence in good condition throughout the year.

Maintenance requirements for metal fences depend on the specific material of the fence and the climate in your area. Just as different types of wood age differently, metal responds differently to different climates across the country. Follow these simple maintenance tips to fix a rusty metal wire-mesh fence and be sure to give yourself a weekend to complete the process. In fact, because bare steel rusts so quickly, metal restoration experts recommend treating fences in small sections so you don't have to repeat too many steps.

1. Remove overgrowth

When vines and shrubs get too close to any structure, including metal fences, they are bad news. Vegetation absorbs moisture, which can lead to rust and corrosion, and overgrown areas can hide problem spots.

After cleaning and repairing your fence, commit to trimming shrubs and trees away from the fence and pulling out any vines promptly.

2. Rust removal

Of course if you use stainless steel wire mesh, you won't worry about this. Use a wire brush to gently remove surface rust from flat areas. Rust on corners or decorative elements can be sanded off with an abrasive material, such as black sandpaper (also known as emery cloth) or synthetic steel wool. Chemical rust removers contain phosphoric acid and other corrosive substances, so it's important not to use them in enclosed or unventilated spaces. Follow the instructions on the package - safe and easy to use.

3. Paint the fence

For this step, use an oil-based paint formulated for metal. Do not use spray paint unless you are repairing a small piece of fence. The paint you use is the fence's primary defense against the elements, so the coating needs to be thick. It is easier to apply using a traditional paint can and brush.

Aim for two coats of paint and be sure to let the first coat dry completely before starting the second.

4. Clean the metal

After brushing off any residual dirt and rust and removing residue from chemical rust removers, you will still need to clean the metal before priming and painting. To effectively clean the metal, wipe thoroughly with a cloth soaked in mineral spirits. Be careful when you cleaning a razor wire fence.

5. Prevent future damage

Inspect your fence throughout the year to catch early signs of scratches and rust. Wrought iron fences need to be cleaned twice a year (nothing special - just soap and water); this semi-annual fence bath is a good time to lubricate any latches, springs and other moving parts.

6. Priming the surface

This is commonly used on railway fences. During the rusting process, you may have also removed some paint. That's okay (and, frankly, to be expected)! However, there's nothing more frustrating than trying to repair an iron or steel fence for a few days only to find it rusting again, so be sure to prime any exposed areas before leaving the day's project.

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Get quotes from several reputable fence manufacturer YONGKUN and make sure you know the exact boundaries of your property before you start any work. If you haven't already done so, now is the perfect time to complete a survey.


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