solution for rusty metal balcony rail?

(15 Posts)
sanschocolat Tue 18-Mar-14 17:06:18


Have rusty metal rail on my terrace outside. It is really in a very bad rusty condition (rust has penetrated badly) on the top flat rail particularly, not as bad on uprights which are painted white.

Hope this is making sense!

Anyway, the whole terrace and adjacent basement steps and wall are going to be renovated within the next couple of years so don't want to spent huge amounts of time or money putting it right. But need to do something as it is an eyesore.

I sanded it down, treated it with special anti-rust paint, and then re-painted it three years ago but the effects didn't last long and it took ages and ages and involved a huge amount of effort and mess.

Is there an alternative relatively quick and easy solution out there that would solve the problem until the whole thing is pulled out and replaced?

Thanks in advance for any ideas/advice!

PigletJohn Tue 18-Mar-14 21:17:47

How old is it?

What paint system did you use?

Technical Tue 18-Mar-14 21:33:24

Have you tried Hammerite? You just need to brush off the lose bits and then paint over the rust. My rusty railings were done 5 years ago and only just starting to look like they need doing again.

sanschocolat Wed 19-Mar-14 23:46:13

Sorry to only be getting back on here now (rl general madness to blame!).

Thank you very much for your replies - much appreciated.

The railings could be as old as 1910 but are probably 1930s by the looks of them.

I've no idea what paint system was used - I'm so sorry - not even certain what that means! [hopeless at DIY emoticon]

The rails have been painted and re-painted over many times. BUt the rust has penetrated very very badly.

When I last tried to improve things, I did start sanding off the loose bits but huge flakes started coming away and the mess was incredible. So I did a patch-up job and sprayed some anti-rust treatment on the worst bits, then painted the whole thing all over again with metal outdoor paint.

Unfortunately, although the uprights have remained generally OK, the rust has come through the top horizontal rail really, really badly.

There is no way one can paint over rust is there?

Jux Wed 19-Mar-14 23:58:23

We have a load of iron railings round our house. When we moved in, they were a disgrace. DH rubbed them down, painted with anti-rust stuff and then finished with Hammerite. I'm not sure anything you can do will last much longer than 3 or 4 years. Our need doing again and it has been 4 years.

PigletJohn Thu 20-Mar-14 00:06:59

Use a wire brush, not sandpaper. You will need goggles as particles will fly off, and preferably a dust mask with a plastic valve on the snout. You have to get the old paint out of the way so you can treat the metal. The wire brush will then get the rust off.

Get a tub of Kurust from Halfords or a DIY shop, and a can of metal preservative primer from a paint merchant. Once you have got the paint and loose rust off, paint on Kurust and watch for colour change per the instructions. When dry per the instructions (same day) brush on one coat of the metal preservative primer, and another coat a day later. Then you can paint it with an oil-based (not water) gloss.

Hammerite will tell you that you can paint it over rust. They do not mention that the rust continues to grow and spread under it. You cannot use it over (or under) other paint systems.

The Kurust neutralises the existing rust, and the preservative primer slows regrowth. The oil based gloss is waterproof and protects the primer.

By "paint system" I meant what chemicals, metal treatment, primer and paint you used. I hope the spray was not a wax or oil, as you can't paint over it.

sanschocolat Thu 20-Mar-14 09:52:37

PigletJohn that is fabulous advice - thank you so much for taking the trouble to type it all out!

And explains quite a bit why rail continued to rust under the Hammerite!

I'm abroad (Belgium) so not sure if I can get Kurust but will have a look. (If not, I will look for a rust neutriliser equiv.) Is there an active ingredient I should look out for?

Over in UK very often though (this w/e in fact!) and will look if I get a chance.

I don't remember the spray being a wax or oil so fingers crossed.

Jux in this instance - 3 to 4 yrs would be fine - as hopefully more major renovation in full swing by that stage!

Thank you again both!

PigletJohn Thu 20-Mar-14 10:13:48

Some rust treatments (e.g. Jenolite) are just an acid to remove it. Kurust converts the surface so it is ready to paint, but you still have to abrade off the rust deposits. If they have a paste that contains lead as well as phosphoric acid if should be good, I expect they will have something equivalent. The tub will be surprisingly heavy. So will the tin of metal preservative primer. See if they have one that contains Calcium Plumbate.

People with boats or old cars will probably know what's good. Fashionable decorating shops won't.

Look for a wire brush the shape you'd use with a dustpan, but about half the size.

peggyundercrackers Thu 20-Mar-14 10:33:50

i would apply jenoilte first to remove as much rust as possible before applying kurust. you do get rust remover which comes in a paste rather than a liquid - if you get the gel you can apply to the railings and cover in cling film to stop it falling off.

wire burhses do remove some rust but i find they tend to polish the metal rather than remove the stuff thats really embeded in the metal.

sanschocolat Thu 20-Mar-14 11:05:58

Thank you Peggy esp for v. useful cling film tip!

PigletJohn thank you again! Will look for phosphoric acid on the tin and then calcium plumate in the primer. And that's a good tip about boat/car workshops.

Obviously people have different techniques, but am very grateful for all the advice because I now know what I am aiming to do ifyswim, whereas before posting on here, I hadn't a clue!

Will report back when done (but may be Easter holidays before I get time to do it).

Thanks again.

Jux Thu 20-Mar-14 13:56:29

Oh I am soooo glad I posted on this thread! Thank you to Pigletjohn and Peggy from me too thanks I shall tell dh.

peggyundercrackers Thu 20-Mar-14 14:22:07

sanschocolat i asked DH what he would do as he restores vintage cars for a hobby. he said he wouldnt use hammerite as its horrible stuff as you cant paint over it nor can you use it on top of other products and it does nothing to stop rust... he did say once its free of rusty metal get a tin of red lead/red oxide primer and paint it with that first then cover with an appropriate paint - he would use car paint but thats not easy to get a hold of... maybe try something like rustoleum combicolor black.

sanschocolat Thu 20-Mar-14 14:33:03

Thank you very much for additional tips Peggy! School run, so dashing, but much appreciated!

justaweeone Thu 20-Mar-14 15:40:24

I have wrought iron railings dating from about 1865 or so. I used HAMMERCOTE HAMMERED FINISH ENAMEL PAINT by coo -var after I wire brushed them.
Bugger of a job all 81 feet of them!!
Good luck

sanschocolat Thu 20-Mar-14 19:54:42

Thank you very much Justaweeone - shock at 81 feet!

Have really appreciated all the advice on here!

Travelling now so won't have access to computer for next few days, but looking forward to getting stuck in upon return (or in the next few weeks anyway).

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