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Can You/Should You Paint Over Steel Fence? (How To)

Painting the steel fence

Steel fences are incredibly strong, and look particularly good. Steel like most metals is susceptible to rusting, or can have an industrial look which you may want to soften. In this article, I will explain if you can and should paint over a steel fence.

In general, you can and should paint over a steel fence provided it’s not galvanized. A galvanized steel fence won’t rust, so it’s a matter of personal preference whether you paint it or not. Painting a steel fence will protect it from rusting, and you can paint it any color you like.

In some cases you may prefer the metal look of a steel fence over a painted look. If a france is rusted or has a previous coat of paint there is a bit of preparation work required before painting it. Below, I will explain how to paint a steel fence, and what paint to use.

Can You/Should You Paint Over Steel Fence?

Painting the steel fence

It’s common to paint a fence to change a color to match a house or building. Painting a fence can also protect the steel and make it last longer. Here’s a rundown of whether it’s possible to paint a steel fence, and if it’s a good idea.

Overall, you can and should paint over a steel fence. Unless, the fence is galvanized steel. Galvanized steel remains in really good conditions for around 75 years. Ungalvanized steel tends to begin to rust. A rusted fence also looks much better if it’s painted.

Galvanized steel won’t rust, therefore, painting it won’t make it last longer. You can tell if a steel fence is galvanized or not if it’s already beginning to rust. If it’s brand new, or not showing any signs of rusting then you will need to test a part of the steel to see if it rusts.

Can You Paint Over Steel Fence?

Confused man standing

Steel is a material that has unique properties. Therefore, it’s hard to know whether painting over a steel fence is a good option, or if it’s possible. Here’s whether you can paint over a steel fence according to qualified painters.

As a general rule, you can paint over a steel fence. The main things to be aware of are that it needs to have a layer of primer underneath, and the steel needs to be rust free. Otherwise, the paint will begin peeling after a few years or less.

Therefore, you need to prepare a steel fence that has existing rust. Most of the rust needs to be removed with a steel brush, and then sanded. If the steel fence already has a layer of paint, this paint layer should also be removed using the same method.

For a brand new fence you don’t need to do any prep work. You can simply apply a layer of primer, and then a layer of the paint. In general, you should use a primer layer that is the same shade as the fence. For example, if the fence is going to be black then apply a gray primer. Whereas, if the fence is going to be a lighter color like a yellow, then use a white primer.

Should You Paint Over Steel Fence?

Painting the steel fence

Metals like steel have unique properties. They are also manufactured using unique chemicals to make them last longer. Therefore, it’s difficult to know if it’s OK to paint a steel fence, here’s whether you should or not.

Overall, you should paint over a steel fence. Painting a steel fence looks a lot better for older rusty fences. However, for new fences it’s a matter of personal choice. Galvanized steel can last for 75 years or more with no protective paint, or primer.

The main consideration for a new or galvanized fence is how you want it to look. In some cases the fence is for a home or building that you want to have that industrial look. Whereas, in other cases you may want it to blend in more and be a color that matches the color of the house.

This article and its contents are owned by Ready To DIY and was first published on 08/03/2022.

What Tools and Preparation Do You Need To Paint Steel Fence

Confused man standing

Now that you’re aware that you can and should paint a steel fence it’s important to know how to do it. Doing it right the first time will make sure the paint doesn’t feel, and the overall finish looks very good. Here’s what tools and prep are required for painting a steel fence.

In general, you need drop sheets to catch paint spills, as well as sandpaper, a steel brush or drill with a steel brush attachment, paint brushes, primer, and paint. If the surface has rust or an existing layer of paint, this will need to be removed first using a steel brush and sandpaper.

Otherwise it can be painted straight away with a primer, and then the paint. Here’s a full list of everything you will need to prepare and paint a steel fence.

  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Wire brush
  • Medium grit sandpaper (about 80 grit or so)
  • 2x 38mm paint brush
  • Mini microfiber roller, and holder
  • Roller tray
  • Plastic containers
  • Drop sheets
  • Clean rags
  • Rust converter
  • Rust primer
  • Paint

For full instructions for how to prepare and paint a steel fence refer to the video and instructions at the very end of this article.

What Paint Can You Use To Paint Steel Fence?

Painting the steel fence

There are two broad categories of paints, oil bases, and water based. Each type of paint is designed for a different use, and has different properties. Here’s what paint you can use to paint a steel fence.

Epoxy enamel paint or oil based paint can be used to paint a steel fence. Many paint stores will have different types of paints based on how rusted the surface of the metal is. To calculate how much paint you will need for your fence use the calculation below.

To calculate how much paint you will need, measure the area of the fence. This is the length of the fence times the height. And then times this by 2 because there are two sides of a fence. Many paints will have how many square feet per gallon or square meters per liter. So, since you know the area (square feet or square meters) you can calculate how many liters of paint you will need.

How To Paint Steel Fence Properly

Confused man standing

Painting is reasonably easy to do. But, there are a few subtle things to get right to make sure the finish comes out smooth, even, and lasts a long time. Below is a summary of how to paint a steel fence properly followed by full step by step instructions.

Overall, begin by removing rust if any using a wire brush. Then sand the surface using 80 or so grit (medium grit) sandpaper. If there is no rust, you don’t need to apply a primer, you can paint it using a roller and brush. For a rusted fence, remove the rust, and apply a primer first.

1. Put down a drop sheet

2. Use a wire brush to remove rust and old paint

3. Use medium grit sandpaper to further remove paint and rust that doesn’t come off with a wire brush

4. Wipe the area down using a dry brush and then a damp rag

5. Apply rust converter if rust was removed (shown in video)

6. Apply metal primer using a roller, and a brush

7. Apply the paint using a roller, and a brush

If there is no rust or existing paint you skip the first 4 steps, and begin by applying a primer. However, otherwise follow the steps above.

Can You Paint Over Steel Railing?

Painting the steel fence

Steel railing is used along ramps, stair cases, and anywhere else to create a barrier, or a handle to hold onto to make areas safer. Steel railing has a dull metallic look that is in need of a change. This is whether it’s possible to paint over steel railing.

As a general rule, you can paint over steel railing. However, the steel needs to be prepared by removing any rust, if present, and painting it with a primer first. Otherwise, painted steel railing will only last 1 to 2 years before beginning to peel.

The method to paint steel railing is the same for painting a steel fence, refer to the section above this one for full step by step instructions for both how to prepare a steel railing to be painted, and how to paint it.

This article and its contents are owned by Ready To DIY and was first published on 08/03/2022.

Can You Paint Over Steel Posts?

Confused man standing

Steel posts are commonly used for wooden fences, as well as for chain link and other types of fences. The dull or shiny metallic finish can clash with the other colors and texture where they are installed. So, here’s a rundown of if you can paint over steel posts.

In general you can paint over steel posts. The main consideration is that the steel needs to be prepared, and a primer used before painting it. Otherwise the paint will begin to peel. Painting steel posts makes them look better, especially if they have corrosion (rust).

It’s necessary to remove any rust if present, and paint over them with a primer to allow the paint to last a very long time. I’ve provided step by step instructions for how to paint a steel post in the section above titled ‘how to paint a steel fence properly’. The same method to paint steel posts also applies to painting a steel fence.

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