How to Paint Pipe Fence

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Applying the right kind of paint the right way can mean the difference between a look that can last a decade and a project that will need to be redone in just a year or two. Painting pipe fencing can be tricky; you have to deal with rust spots, and the strange shape of the pipes doesn't allow for simple brush-on movements. With the right equipment and some hard work, though, you can apply a paint job to your pipe fence that will last for years.

Things You'll Need

  • Phosphoric acid
  • Protective gloves
  • Spray bottle or garden sprayer
  • Wire brush
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint sprayer, paint mitt or pipe roller

Preparing the Fence

  • Purchase a phosphoric acid "rust killer" from a hardware store. These chemical cleaners are specially designed to destroy iron oxide (rust) without damaging the pipe fencing underneath.

  • Pour the rust killer into a garden sprayer or spray bottle. Apply the rust killer to your pipe fencing according to the instructions on the cleaning product. Wear protective gloves whenever working with chemical cleaners such as phosphoric acid. Let the cleaner work for at least 2 hours; follow specific directions on your product regarding allotted time to work.

  • Scrape loosened rust from the pipe fence using a wire brush. Reapply rust killer and scrape again as necessary to remove rust.

Painting your Fence

  • Acquire a paint gun, paint mitt or pipe roller for your painting project. Your choice of painting tool will vary depending on the size and shape of your pipe fence. If you have questions regarding a particular product, consult an expert at a hardware or paint store.

  • Apply a coat of primer with your chosen painting method. Your primer should be oil-based. Many primers will also include rust-prevention chemicals, which can be beneficial for the future of your pipe fence.

  • Paint your fence with aluminum or chrome paint, also oil-based. Apply at least two coats of paint for best results; allow one coat to dry completely before applying the next.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most paint mitts will leave some fuzz in the final coat of paint. If you want to avoid any rough texture or look to your pipe fencing, use a paint gun or pipe roller.
  • Be sure to keep your paint mitt or roller from collecting dirt by touching the ground as you paint the bottom of your fence.

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