rusted wrought iron railings

rusted wrought iron railings

A house with a grand staircase is incomplete without a gorgeous classic iron railing or a simple balcony that goes beyond ordinary beauty with stylish polished railings. If your dream home is incomplete without iron railings in your balcony or staircase that beautifies its look, it’s  time to get them fixed. Some people often step back from getting these exquisitely wrought iron railings because, with time, it gets rusted. If you are also one of them, we have got you covered.

Wrought iron railings are stronger than other materials like wood or glass. They are long-lasting and can go pretty well if painted. However, if the paint has come off, water and air will work fast to ruin and rust it. 

Do not try to get into cheap fixes and materials to repair the damage. Spending adequately here will give you long-lasting results. Another big advantage of these wrought iron railings is that they are malleable, i.e. they can bend into various shapes that you might dream about. Moreover, these are free from pests, unlike  other materials. 

Things you will need before painting the iron railing

You have to arrange for a few things before starting this work. Here, you will be needing the following:

  • Old clothes or plastic 
  • Paint scraper
  • Bristled wire brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Stainless steel fasteners
  • Primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Gloves and mask
  • Metal finishing paint


Steps to painting a rusted wrought iron railing

Let’s look into the whole process of painting one step at a time:

  • Lead test– if your railing is around 50 years old or more, you should go for a lead test in the paint. For this, you have to use a lead test kit that is easily available at paint stores. In case the railings test positive for lead paint, use tough plastic or a double-layer of old clothes around the railings. Moreover, you have to take extra protection for yourself here. Go for a lead-proof mask, gloves, or even better – a full bodysuit.

    Once you have finished this basic step, you can move over to the next step. Spread some useless clothes or big plastics all over the staircase or wherever you are thinking of painting the railing. This is to prevent the paint from falling on the floor and spreading a mess all over. Additionally, if the railings are negative in the lead test, you can straight away start your work by properly covering the area and using gloves and a mask.

  • Cut nearby plantsremove any plants that are coming in contact with the railings. If you cannot cut them, make sure you have covered them properly before starting the process. 
  • Scrap– start your work with scraping first. This is important since the new paint will not pair up properly with the old paint. A paint scraper is enough for removing the old paint in the railing. Since the railing has rusted, the paint will be coming off from places giving it an ugly look.There might be some algae growth if the railing is in the exterior part of the house and neglected for years. Treat the railing with a sterilising  solution after scraping the algae. Leave it to dry completely, and then rinse it off. With the help of a scraper, you can remove this paint and algae properly with the help of a scraper for the application of a new coating.

  • Bristle wire brush– if your railing is not a simple traditional straight one and has fabulous designs and curves all over, do not worry. You have the solution right here. You can use a tough bristles wire brush on all those small and big curves in the iron railing, and the paint will come off. The bar at the bottom or the lowermost part of the railings are the mysterious places for debris to accumulate. Make sure you clean away all of them.

  • Sandpaper– once you have got rid of all the rusted paint, use 150-grit sandpaper all over the railing properly. This is important because if there is any paint left on the railing, the sandpaper can take that little bit off and smoothen the surface with bare metal.

  • Stainless steel clasps– replace any old clasps or fasteners that have also rusted with time with new stainless-steel ones. This will improve the strength of the railing and bring a new life to it.

  • Mineral spirits– here, you have to take an old piece of cloth or duster and dip it in mineral spirit. If your railings had tested positive for lead, discard the gloves, protection suit, and old clothes on the floor in proper trash. Try sealing the trash bag properly before discarding it. Wash up the railing with a mixture of hot water and sugar soap solution. This solution will get rid of any deposited dirt, grease, or grime in the railings.   

wrought iron railing

  • Primer– mix the primer with the paint and apply the solution using a paint roller all over the railings. For curvy areas, try using a normal paintbrush to do the job. Make sure the primer covers all the areas properly. You can also get primer spray which is more suitable for curvy railings.


  • Let it dry- give the primer ample time to dry up completely. Make sure you do not touch the railing and keep children out of reach unless the primer dries off completely.
  • Apply paint- now you can apply the DTM paint. Preferably, smear two coats of paint for the best results.


If you have iron railings, especially outside your house, proper care and maintenance is needed . The moment you notice any sign of wear and tear, be ready to take the necessary steps. Be it natural looking with the original rustic look or a revamped one, iron railings are always a great addition to the edges of a house.