How to Paint a Metal Railing

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Metal railing is subjected to the rigors of weather year round. To ensure that the metal railing remains safe and looks good, it is important to routinely inspect and repaint the railing. Paint protects the metal from oxidation in the form of rust. Left untreated, rust will eventually dissolve the metal. When the damage is that extensive your only option is to replace the railing. Repainting the metal railing will save you a great deal of money.

Things You'll Need

  • 4-inch grinder
  • Wire wheel for grinder
  • 60-grit flapper wheel
  • Extension cord
  • 1-inch masking tape
  • Painter's paper
  • Utility knife
  • Sandable spray primer
  • 200-grit sandpaper
  • Rag
  • Spray paint
  • Attach the 4-inch wire wheel to the grinder. Use the wire wheel around the welded joints on the railing. The welds will be located where the vertical supports attach to the horizontal railing.

  • Work the wire wheel down from the welds towards the ground. Continue with the wire wheel until the majority of the paint and rust is removed from the railing. Attach the flapper wheel to the grinder.

  • Apply light pressure to the grinder, while moving the grinder in long straight strokes. Work the grinder around the entire railing. Do not apply heavy pressure while sanding the railing. This will result in damage to the metal.

  • Cut a piece of painter's paper. Place the paper next to the vertical railing supports. Slit the paper at each vertical support. Tape the paper to the ground. Continue to paper the area until the entire area around the railing is well protected.

  • Shake the can of primer as recommended by the manufacturer. Hold the spray can 12 inches away from the metal railing. Spray the primer in short bursts, while moving the can from side to side. Prime the entire metal railing. Let the primer dry.

  • Sand the primed metal railing with the 200-grit sandpaper. Rub lightly. The goal is to smooth the primer, not to remove the primer from the metal. Recoat the railing if you notice metal showing through the primer.

  • Clean the entire metal railing with a rag to remove dust and debris. Inspect the railing to ensure proper coverage of primer. Shake the spray paint as recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Spray the colored paint in the same fashion as the primer. Use many light coats of paint versus one heavy coat. Spraying the paint heavy will result in runs. Coat the metal railing as often as you like. The more paint the better.

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