How to Repaint an Exterior Metal Railing

Exterior metal railings are vulnerable to the effects of rust.

Paint your metal railings yearly.Paint your metal railings yearly.
When bare metal is exposed to moisture from rain, snow or humidity, rust begins to form on the surface of the metal. Metal can be exposed due to chips or peeling of the paint. According to the experts at This Old House Magazine, you should touch up the paint on your outdoor metal yearly. To keep rust at bay you need to keep the exterior railing protected with a coat of paint. A good paint job on metal is about the proper preparation and using the right paint.

Remove peeling paint and visible rust from the surface. Brush the railing with a steel bristled brush. Move the brush back and forth with a swift motion while applying firm pressure to the brush.

Hold a metal file firmly in one hand. Move the file back and forth to remove any heavy rust that did not dislodge with the brush. Use the file on straight, flat portions of the railing.

Sand the curved and rounded portions of the railing with medium grit sandpaper. Remove peeling paint and rust from these areas. Wipe down the entire railing with a damp rag to remove dust and particles.

Spray the metal railing with phosphoric acid according to the manufacturer's directions. The acid will combine with the rust to form an iron phosphate crust. Let the acid sit on the railing overnight. Brush the iron phosphate off of the railing with a steel bristled brush.

Dip a trim brush into good quality oil-based primer paint from metal. Start at the top of the railing and apply the primer, moving downward to catch any drips. Apply one coat of primer. Allow the primer to dry for four to eight hours.

Paint the metal railing with oil-based metal paint. Apply a thin, even coat with a good quality paintbrush. Start at the top of the railing and move downward. Use quick, even strokes to apply the paint. Let the first coat dry to the touch. Apply a second coat. Let the second coat dry thoroughly.

Things You Will Need

  • Phosphoric acid
  • Steel bristled brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush or chip brush

Tip

  • Oil=based metal paint comes in a variety of colors and finishes. While black is the most common, you can paint your metal railing in any finish color that you like. Consider having the primer tinted to match your paint color to avoid altering the final color of the paint.

About the Author

Lisa East Hunter is a consultant and freelance writer in Phoenix. Her background in marketing and technology led her to explore all avenues of writing. She is currently dividing her time between freelance writing and her consulting business. Hunter has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems and marketing.