Wrought-iron fencing is timeless in its beauty and versatility. And although iron fencing that’s manufactured from galvanized steel with an added protective powder coating has exceptional durability, you still have to take steps to maintain it properly. Find out how the galvanizing and powder-coating process works to protect metal and learn the proper way to clean and care for your wrought-iron fence.
Galvanizing and Powder-Coating
Many of today’s iron fences use galvanizing – a process whereby steel is hot-dipped into a zinc coating – to help prevent corrosion. Zinc oxide forms a protective chemical and physical barrier, so that any corrosive materials are absorbed before they can impact the metal.
Powder coating also forms a protective barrier and has the added benefit of enhancing the decorative appeal of your ornamental iron fencing. It’s available in many colors, so it’s an ideal way to customize the product that’s much more durable than conventional paint.
Combining both galvanizing and powder coating provides dual layers of protection. The powder coating slows down the rate in which the underlying zinc layer corrodes.
Powder Coating is Tough but Not Indestructible
When you purchase fencing that’s both hot-dipped galvanized and powder-coated, you can be assured that it will last for years. But you still have to care for it, and understand which conditions may shorten the life of the top layer’s protection.
What Conditions Can Cause Powder Coating to Degrade?
Both natural elements like weather and contact with other metals can shorten the life of powder-coated metals:
- Sun, due to UV rays
- Pollutants (spread through rain and air)
- Bird droppings
- Cold weather
- Electric current
- Metals that are dissimilar
- Solvents, such as acetone
It’s virtually impossible to guard against every natural element that can cause your metal fencing to lose its protective properties. That’s why careful maintenance is essential for keeping your fence looking beautiful for years to come.
What is the Correct Way to Care for an Iron Fence?
Don’t Set it and Forget it
Although your powder-coated iron fence is highly durable and will last for years, if you keep an eye out for unexpected damage (like bird dropping, or spilled paint, for example), attend to it right away. The longer untreated steel is exposed to elements that may degrade it, the more difficult it will be to repair.
Clean it Properly
There are three important rules to follow when cleaning your galvanized and powder-coated iron fence:
- Do not use chemical cleaners like petroleum-based products or solvents – While not all commercial cleaners are destructive, some may chemically react with the coating and underlying layers and cause damage to the finishes. When the finishes are compromised in this way, over time they may fade, stain, or crack.
- Use a Pressure Washer at a low setting for cleaning large areas – If you’re doing more than spot cleaning and want to cover a broader area, pressure cleaning is an efficient method. However, make sure to use filtered water (no tap water or groundwater) and use low-pressure so as not to damage the finish.
- Use mild soap, if necessary – Much of the time, filtered water will do the trick, but occasionally, you’ll need to clean your iron fence with soap. Use a soft cloth or brush to apply a solution of mild soap and water. The best soap is one that includes emulsifiers to break down grime and loosen stains.
For Extra Protection, Use Car Wax
For areas of the fence that are prone to greater contact (like iron gates, for example), light coating of a non-abrasive car wax can add protection. It’s advised to use a brand that will block UV rays or at least inhibit them. Make sure to wipe off any excess wax, as it could cause staining if it’s baked into place by the sun’s UV light.
Other Maintenance Tips for Iron Gates
Make sure to replace or repair damaged or rusted hardware like latches or fasteners, Get in touch with your fence supplier to find out how to repair or purchase these components.
Ornamental Iron Fences Austin
At Northwest Fence & Iron, our beautiful ornamental iron fencing has dual protection from the elements due to a manufacturing process that includes both zinc galvanizing and powder coating. We’ve served the Austin area for over 23 years – designing, manufacturing, customizing, and installing iron fences and gates that fit a variety of needs. Our many satisfied customers are proof that we offer excellent products and superb customer service.
For the best iron fencing in Austin, call 512-FENCING, and we will deliver a custom fencing option that’s perfectly suited for you.