How To Paint Wrought Iron Railing

At Affordable Iron, we understand the timeless beauty and durability of wrought iron railings. These metal railings have adorned homes and buildings for centuries, providing both aesthetic appeal and safety. However, over time, the elements can take a toll on even the sturdiest of wrought iron, causing peeling paint and rust to mar their appearance. If your wrought iron railings have seen better days, fear not! With a little effort and the right tools, you can restore them to their former glory. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of painting wrought iron railings, helping you achieve a fresh and vibrant look for your property.

Why Paint Wrought Iron Railings?

Before we dive into the steps of painting your wrought iron railings, let’s briefly discuss why it’s essential to do so. Wrought iron railings, while incredibly durable, are susceptible to rust when exposed to moisture and environmental factors. Painting your iron railings not only enhances their appearance but also acts as a protective barrier against corrosion, extending their lifespan.

Dealing with Lead Paint on Metal Railings

Before embarking on your iron railing painting project, it’s essential to address the possibility of lead paint. If your metal railings are old, they may have been coated with lead-based paint, which can be hazardous to health when disturbed. Ensure safety by following these precautions:

  1. Test for Lead: Use a lead paint testing kit to determine if your metal railings contain lead-based paint. If so, consult with professionals for safe removal or encapsulation.
  2. Safety Gear: If lead is detected, wear appropriate safety gear, such as a mask and protective clothing, to minimize exposure.
  3. Lead-Safe Practices: If the metal railings contain lead paint, it’s crucial to follow lead-safe practices during removal and painting. This typically involves containing the area, using HEPA vacuums, and disposing of lead-contaminated materials properly.

By addressing lead paint concerns responsibly, you can ensure the safety of both yourself and the environment while enhancing the beauty and durability of your iron railing.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

To get started, gather the following tools and materials:

  1. Wire Brush: This will help you remove loose paint and rust from the wrought iron railings.
  2. Paint Scraper: Use a paint scraper to scrape away any stubborn peeling paint or loose rust.
  3. Drop Cloths: Lay down drop cloths or old newspapers to protect the surrounding area from paint splatter.
  4. Safety Gear: Wear safety goggles, gloves, and a mask to protect yourself from paint fumes and debris.
  5. Sandpaper: You may need sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots after scraping and brushing.
  6. Primer: Choose a rust-inhibiting primer suitable for metal surfaces.
  7. Paint: Select a high-quality paint specifically designed for metal surfaces. You can use either a brush-on or spray paint, depending on your preference.
  8. Paintbrush or Spray Gun: If you choose to brush on the paint, you’ll need a paintbrush. If you opt for spray paint, you’ll need a spray gun.

Step 1: Prepare the Area

Start by preparing the area around your wrought iron railings. Lay down drop cloths or old newspapers to catch any paint drips or debris. This will make cleanup much more manageable.

Step 2: Safety First

Put on your safety gear, including safety goggles, gloves, and a mask. It’s crucial to protect yourself from paint fumes and any debris that may fly off while you’re working.

Step 3: Remove Loose Paint and Rust

Using a wire brush, thoroughly scrub the wrought iron railings to remove loose paint and rust. Pay extra attention to areas with peeling paint or rust buildup. A wire brush will help you achieve a smooth surface for the new paint to adhere to.

Step 4: Scrape Away Stubborn Paint

If you encounter any particularly stubborn peeling paint or rust, use a paint scraper to gently scrape it away. Be careful not to damage the wrought iron while doing this.

Step 5: Smooth Out Rough Spots

After removing loose paint and rust, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots on the iron railings. This step will ensure that your finished paint job looks even and flawless.

Step 6: Clean the Surface

Once you’ve finished scraping and sanding, wipe down the wrought iron railings with a clean, damp cloth to remove any dust or debris. Allow the surface to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 7: Apply Primer

Apply a rust-inhibiting primer to the cleaned and prepped wrought iron railings. The primer will create a protective barrier and ensure that the paint adheres well. Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 8: Choose Your Paint

Now comes the fun part – choosing the paint color for your wrought iron railings. Whether you want a classic black finish or a bold, vibrant color, make sure to select a high-quality paint designed for metal surfaces.

Step 9: Paint the Railings

You have two options for applying the paint: brush it on or use a spray gun. The choice depends on your preferences and the size of the project.

Brush-On Method:

  1. Dip your paintbrush into the paint and remove any excess.
  2. Start applying the paint to the wrought iron railings in smooth, even strokes.
  3. Pay attention to detail, ensuring that you cover all areas, including corners and crevices.
  4. Apply a second coat if necessary, following the drying time recommended on the paint can.

Spray Paint Method:

  1. Load your spray gun with the chosen paint.
  2. Begin spraying the paint onto the wrought iron railings, moving in a steady back-and-forth motion.
  3. Overlap each pass slightly to ensure even coverage.
  4. Allow the first coat to dry as per the paint manufacturer’s instructions, and then apply a second coat if needed.

Step 10: Let It Dry

After applying the paint, allow your wrought iron railings to dry thoroughly. This may take several hours or even overnight, depending on the weather and humidity levels.

Step 11: Final Inspection

Once the paint has dried completely, inspect your work. Make sure the paint job looks even and smooth, and touch up any areas that may need additional attention.

Step 12: Clean Up

Dispose of your drop cloths or newspapers, and clean your brushes or spray gun according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Properly store any leftover paint and materials for future touch-ups.


Painting wrought iron railings can be a rewarding DIY project that transforms the appearance of your home or property. By following these steps and using the right tools and materials, you can restore your iron railings to their former beauty while protecting them from the elements. At Affordable Iron, we take pride in our expertise with wrought iron, and we hope this guide helps you achieve a stunning and long-lasting finish for your iron railings. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to contact us. Happy painting!