A Step-By-Step Guide For Painting Metal Railings And Furniture

Metal fixtures, main gates, railings and furniture make for wonderful decorative additions to your garden or your staircase. Follow these steps to make sure that they are painted right and protected, to make them last for a long time and to prevent corrosion.

Prep Before Painting

Did you know that bare metal is susceptible to corrosion almost immediately? Once prep is done paint the metal surface immediately. Avoid a metal painting project the surface is damp or the humidity levels are above 80%. It is also recommended to hold off on painting if the temperatures are unsuitable, below 50 degrees, or in direct sunlight.

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Rusty metal railings ready for a fresh paint job
Image - Thepaintedsurface.com

Organize The Area

When re-painting or preparing the metal surface of railings or furniture, protect the area around the surface with drop cloths in order to catch dust and paint chips. Any adjacent areas should be covered with painter’s tape, newspaper and/or drop cloth to minimize paint stains and accidental drips.

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Area underneath the railing protected to prevent paint drips
Image - Jennblogshere.com

Scrape, Scuff, Or Sand

You need to use a medium grit sandpaper to scuff the painted metal surface so that any loose paint and rust can be cleared and it can be prepared for fresh paint. Using a wire brush clears loose debris so that the entire surface can be sanded easily. In case of old railings, lightly sand the surface that requires fresh paint. The idea is to get rid of any existing gloss from the metal and allow the paint to bond with the rough exterior. There might be areas that need vigorous sanding or grinding to smooth out a rusty surface.

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Sanding the rust off a metal chair and preparing it for repaint
Image - Diynetwork.com

Wipe Clean

Once you are done with all the sanding and scraping, check the metal surface has been properly cleaned of sand, grit and debris. This step is absolutely necessary for the paint to stick to the surface properly and give a smooth finish.


Once your metal surfaces are ready to be painted and the area has been suitably prepared, it is time to start the paint job! Begin with slowly brushing or spraying the rust inhibiting primer directly on to metal. It is advised to use a primer that matches the color of the top coat as closely as possible.


Painting should be done top down, focusing on any intricate metal scroll work and all differently angled surfaces should be painted uniformly.

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Painting the ornate details of a railing with soft brush

Cordon Off The Area

To prevent any accidental scuffing of the fresh, wet paint, block off the area until the metal is completely dry. 

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Seal off the area to protect accident scuffs
Image - Theguardian.com

Protect all metal railings and fixtures from natural corrosion by painting properly by following this easy step by step guide.


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