Exterior metal railings provide a sturdy way to go up and down stairs, but the metal coating can wear off with time. However, you don't have to invest in new railings because of some rust. A paint job should restore the railings to look new.
Most metal railings need to be painted every five and ten years and touched up annually. Follow these instructions to restore your metal railings:
Get Ready to Paint the Railings
To paint the railing, you need:
- disposable work gloves
- dust mask
- eye goggles
- drop cloths or plastic
- tack cloth
- emery cloth
- garden hose or power washer
- wire brush
- wet/dry fine-grit sandpaper
- 40-120 grit-sandpaper
- one-inch paint brush
- direct-to-metal primer
- exterior oil-based metal paint with rust-inhibitor
If the railing hasn't been painted in over thirty years, be aware of lead paint. Buy a test kit to check for lead paint. Call a professional painter, if the railing tests positive for lead paint.
Clean the Railing
Cover the area around the railing with drop cloths or plastic including concrete surfaces, bushes, and plants. A covering makes clean up easier, and it protects the work area.
If the railing has thick dirt or chipped paint, powerwash it and let it dry. Scrape rust on non-aluminum railings with the wire brush. To clean ornamental railings, attach a wire brush bit to a drill. Rinse the railings again, and let them dry.
Sand and Prime the Surface
Sand the surface with medium-grit sandpaper, which is between 80-and 120-grit, then clean sand dust using a tack cloth. Use the 40-60-grit sandpaper to smooth rough spots, and wipe sand dust. If you find flaking or mild rust, clean it with an emery cloth.
Brush on the primer starting at the top of the railing. If you prefer, apply spray primer holding the can nozzle several inches away from the railing. Shake the can several seconds before spraying.
Allow the primer to dry based on directions. After the primer dries, use a wet/dry sandpaper dipped in water to sand the surface lightly, so you won't remove the primer. Clean sand dust with the tack cloth.
You don't have to paint the railings black, but make certain the paint is suitable for metal surfaces. Tint the primer to match the color.
Start brushing on the paint in a thin layer at the top of the railing. If you are using spray paint, shake the can well, then spray in the same way as the primer.
Let the first coat dry, then lightly sand again. Add another coat or two, sanding in between coats.
Contact a company like Mike & Sons Painting Ltd. for more information and assistance.