What is wrought iron?
Wrought iron was the material traditionally used for decorative gates and railings. Today, it’s no longer produced on a commercial scale and, although many products, such as railings, gates, handrails etc. are described as wrought iron, they are usually made of mild steel which is cheaper and stronger than wrought iron. Even though they are not made of wrought iron, these products can legitimately be described as such because they have been ‘wrought’, that is worked on by hand.
At Waltham Forest Engineering, we’re skilled at producing wrought iron railings, handrails, gates, platforms, ramps and walkways that are actually made of mild steel. We’re also experienced in repairing and restoring wrought iron railings, gates and handrails or replacing sections so that they are indistinguishable from the rest. We have done this for the Royal Household Property Section, the Parliamentary Estates Directorate and the National Trust – and the results speak for themselves.
How to prevent your wrought iron rusting
Have your wrought iron painted
This is the easiest and cheapest option but, if this is the only coating it’s given, you should re-paint the wrought iron every 5 years to prevent rust developing. We can paint your wrought iron for you – just ask for a quote.
Have your wrought iron powder-coated
This means the wrought iron is sprayed then baked dry so it forms a ‘skin’ around the metal. The metal needs to be clean and smooth before it’s powder-coated, so any flaking metal, oil or dirt must be removed beforehand.
Have your wrought iron galvanised and powder-coated
This means the components are plated with zinc, to prevent rust, then powder-coated black or in the colour of your choice to provide an attractive long-lasting finish that won’t need painting for a great number of years.
Inspect and maintain your wrought ironwork
Check your wrought iron over at least once a year. Remove any vegetation that’s encroaching on it. It there’s any flaky paint or rust, follow the DIY procedure for restoring wrought iron outlined below.
How to restore rusted wrought iron
1) The DIY option
If your wrought iron has been in place for a while, and you don’t want to take it to be sand or shot blasted, either remove old rust with a brush, followed by sandpaper, if necessary, or use a rust solvent. Whichever way you do it, make sure you reach into every corner or crevice or your hard work will be wasted.
Once you’ve removed the rust, you have to make sure the metal is grease-free and clean or the paint won’t adhere to it properly. Wash it with hot soapy water, and give it time to dry thoroughly.
When your wrought iron is smooth, clean and dry it, then paint it with suitable primer and top coat.
2. Call in professionals
Experts, like us, can advise you on the best way to restore your wrought iron.
We will usually recommend that any section that has extensive rust be removed and shot blasted. Unfortunately, this often reveals further damage hidden by layers of paint and the build up of rust. The damaged metal can then be repaired or replaced with new sections that have been cast to match the original.