Learn how to prepare to paint an iron fence. Find out why you should apply a rust inhibitor before painting an iron fence.
LESLIE: Svetlana in Illinois – in Chicago, actually – listens to The Money Pit on WYLL. And you’ve got a painting question. What can we do for you?
SVETLANA: Yes, I do. Thank you for taking my call. I have a wrought iron fence  that’s about 15 years old and it has never been painted. Couple of questions. I need to understand, before I paint it, do I need to sand it – number one? Number two - if I need to sand it, do I need to prime it after that and, if so, with what? And what kind of paint to use.
TOM: Good questions. Well, first of all, you do need to prep the surface.
LESLIE: She’s got all the steps right.
TOM: Yeah, and the right order, too. You need to prep the surface. You need to get rid of any loose paint that’s on there or any rust or flakes. And you can do that with a stiff wire brush, is an easy way to do that.
TOM: Secondly, you should prime it. And the reason you’re priming it is because primer has different qualities than top surface of paint. Primer is really designed to stick and have good adhesive qualities. So you put the primer on first and that assures that you have a good, even bond to all of the areas of the metal. And so, you want to use a good quality primer and then you want to follow that up with a good quality … probably, I would recommend an enamel top paint. So, in this particular case, for the durability aspects …
LESLIE: And something that’s a rush prohibitor.
TOM: Yeah, the rust inhibitors . You’re probably going to be better off with a rust-inhibiting primer and then an enamel top coat.
SVETLANA: OK. Now, when you … if you were to paint it, would you use a roller or a brush or what would you recommend?
TOM: Well, it depends. It depends on how hard it is. You’re probably going to need to do it with a brush; although you could save some time by doing the large, flat surfaces with the roller.
TOM: Or you could buy one of those very small rollers that can kind of go around the nooks and the crannies.
TOM: So sometimes, with a fence like that, you do a little bit of everything. You roll where you roll and then you kind of finish it all off with a brush.
SVETLANA: Right. And I don’t have to seal it at the end with anything.
TOM: Nope, that’s it.
SVETLANA: (overlapping voices) If I use like Rust-Oleum  or something like that (inaudible).
TOM: That’s all you have to do.
SVETLANA: OK. Alright, well, thank you very much.
TOM: Thanks, Svetlana.
SVETLANA: (overlapping voices) I’ll let you know how it turns out.
LESLIE: And Svetlana, if you’ve got some tricky spaces or if you’re finding you’re getting brush marks that you don’t like or the roller’s giving you a hard time, try one of those big sponges that you might use for washing your car or removing excess grout. You can buy it in the home improvement store. It’s like $1.00. Use that. Dip it in the … dip it in the paint, squeeze it out, lay it right against the fence and it’ll do a great job.