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Old 03-07-2013, 02:33 PM   #1
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


I need to repaint my metal fence and gate (I attached a picture, but I'm guessing it's steel) and have a few questions before I begin.

What is the best way to prep before painting? Should I use a chemical stripper, wire wheel on my right-angle grinder, or some other method?? There is some, but very little rust.

Then, once it's prepped, do I need to prime it or just slap on a couple of coats onto the prepped metal? The paint I'm using (HOA requires a specific paint) is Frazee 5525N. I'm pretty sure it's oil-based.

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:46 PM   #2
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


If your HOA is that specific about the paint I'd guess they would frown on a chemical stripper soaking into the ground. Sandblasting would be the quickest way but again, probably not Kosher there. If it were mine, I would hand sand and make sure any bare metal was primed with some zinc primer by brush. A short nap roller might be the way to go, spraying is better, especially with a HVLP automotive touchup gun but ...that pesky HOA....

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Old 03-07-2013, 03:59 PM   #3
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


Hand sanding sure would be a lot of work. Would I only need to sand off any loose paint and make sure to scuff up everywhere else? Or is it best to remove all the existing paint and get it down to bare metal. What about using my wire wheel instead of hand sanding? Thanks.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:09 PM   #4
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


Yes, I meant only the loose spots and scuffing it up everywhere else. A small sander might be better if it's in bad shape in spots. If it were mine I would just do a section at a time, it's too much for a day or a weekend. Just prime as the metal is exposed. You might be able to find a sandblaster that can do it with a plastic barrier or something. These kinds of projects are why people have kids, lol. Maybe high schoolers willing to do some work, as far as sanding goes.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:19 PM   #5
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


Yes, this will definitely be a "section at a time" project, since the picture only shows a third of the fence. My son is 3 yrs old and not much help yet. I like him to help me with projects that I want to take 5 times as long as they should.

I'll start with my front gate this weekend to get started. As for the rust I come across. Should I brush it with the zinc primer to stop it from spreading, or can I paint directly over it?
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:43 PM   #6
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


A bit of advice- don't start with the most important part ( the front gate) before you get a feel for how to do it. Start with the least important part, and by the time you get to the good stuff you'll be a pro!
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:51 PM   #7
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brushjockey View Post
A bit of advice- don't start with the most important part ( the front gate) before you get a feel for how to do it. Start with the least important part, and by the time you get to the good stuff you'll be a pro!
That's great advice and normally how I would do it. But we're having a big party next weekend, and the wife wants the gate looking nice. I'm not too worried about doing a good job, everything sounds pretty cut and dry. Plus, if I do screw it up and the gate looks terrible, maybe my wife won't want to have big parties at the house anymore...I can't go wrong.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:56 PM   #8
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Rock on Bro! We know who calls the shots don't we!
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:58 PM   #9
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


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Originally Posted by JasperST View Post
If your HOA is that specific about the paint I'd guess they would frown on a chemical stripper soaking into the ground. Sandblasting would be the quickest way but again, probably not Kosher there. If it were mine, I would hand sand and make sure any bare metal was primed with some zinc primer by brush. A short nap roller might be the way to go, spraying is better, especially with a HVLP automotive touchup gun but ...that pesky HOA....
Does it make a difference if I apply the primer with a brush or with a spray can? Would the brush make it a higher quality job?
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:59 PM   #10
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


It sounds like the HOA is specifying a particular color. In any event, follow the good advice already given. My only footnote is to spot-prime exposed metal ASAP with a rust-inhibitive primer that is compatibile with the finish.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:41 PM   #11
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Does it make a difference if I apply the primer with a brush or with a spray can? Would the brush make it a higher quality job?
I would use a brush since the advantage is the ability to use thicker paint. The foam brushes are a good way to go for stuff like this. But it depends on the area too, if you have a lot of ground to cover, spraying might be faster. With as much as you have to do it will be way more economical to buy quart cans and brush it on.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:09 PM   #12
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


A mini roller would be a good way to go. You can put the primer on thick and probably do it without a brush just make sure you roll out any runs on the opposite side before they set up.Whenever I roll something like that I keep a close check for runs on each side.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:31 PM   #13
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


Before you go crazy with prepping the fence, check with the manufacturer as to whether the chosen finish has any bonding characteristics. If they have a product for steel that will bond without scuffing you're gold. The HOA is only specifying color, not product.
Cdaniels had it, Cut everything that a roller can't reach, and you can figure that out by trial and error before you get deep into it. The roller may get into all areas from what I can see in that picture, you may have little to no cutting in with a brush. Use a whizz roller on a long handle and you can do both sides at the same time.
The most important thing to do on a job like that is develop a systematic and consistent approach and maintain that throughout. Figure out the most effective way, experiment, and stick to it. If you don't you'll have thousands of holidays, misses. You have to focus and stick to it or you'll constantly be trying to figure out where you are and what's done. Maintain a steady, measured, consistent pace.
Example: Do the "box" inside, between each spindle. Down one spindle, across the topside of the bottom, up the next spindle, and across the underside of the top rail. Do about two feet, double back and do the "face" of each spindle on one side then the other side. Do one whole section that way and double back to finish the top and bottom rail. Now you have a completed section. Just walk along.
Don't overload the roller, dip it lightly. Get one of those hand held rolling buckets with a grid built in.
That's a daunting job, but the biggest part is mental. If you have a plan it will be a breeze. Never look at how far you have to go, always look back at what's done and you'll be fine.

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Old 03-08-2013, 08:06 AM   #14
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


Great advice given so far. I know we did a black fence for a church.......prepped just like all have posted so far. We used a rusty metal primer for bare or rusted areas and applied a gloss Rust-Oleum oil based paint. Long story short.....the fence looks good to this day.......we painted it in 1993!
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:07 AM   #15
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How to prep a metal fence for painting


Thanks to everyone for all the great advice. Who knows how much fun I would have had screwing this up and re-doing everything without all the tips given.
This project begins this weekend with an open-ended completion date. Thanks again.

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