Is It Possible to Repair Old Iron Fences Instead of Replacing Them?

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By Alexandra Miller

Updated: May 10, 2024

8 min read

Iron Fence Repair
Photo: @grizzlyiron

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    Repairing an iron fence, whether for aesthetic or functional reasons, can enhance a home's appearance. While some repairs require professional skills like welding, basic repairs can be done by yourself using standard materials.

    Iron fences come in two main types - wrought and cast. Wrought iron is lighter and often used for fences and handrails, while cast iron, though heavier, is more affordable. Professional repairs can be pricey, averaging over $500 for wrought iron fences, but minor issues like rust or small breaks can be tackled by DIY enthusiasts.

    Regular maintenance, including inspection and cleaning, is crucial to catch defects early. Materials like epoxy putty and techniques such as sanding and clamping are common in fence repairs. Safety precautions, like wearing goggles and gloves, are essential, and addressing rust promptly is key to preventing further damage.

    Revamping Your Fence

    If your fence requires fixing, whether or not to replace it hinges on several factors:

    1. The extent of the damage matters.
    2. The nature of the damage is crucial.
    3. Your budget plays a role.

    If the main issue is its appearance, painting it can easily resolve that.

    Reach out to a skilled painter, specifying your fence type and your preferences. Painting a rusty iron fence involves a detailed process, so hiring an experienced individual is essential. Scrub the fence and wash it with detergent water. After drying, apply a rust converter containing phosphoric acid or tannic acid, followed by an oil-based primer. Now, the fence is primed for painting with an oil-based paint suitable for metal surfaces.

    Repairing a Damaged Segment

    Repairing a Damaged Segment
    Photo: Twin Falls Fencing

    Should a segment of the fence exhibit warping, breakage, or absence, it's feasible to rectify solely that area without necessitating a full fence replacement. In the case of iron fences, a compromised segment can be removed by sawing and substituted with a new fencing section, which can be welded. Railings may occasionally detach, or fence posts may dislodge due to rust and wear, but these can be reattached through welding. Nonetheless, if a substantial portion of the fence displays warping or if rust has reached an unsafe level, it might be advisable to opt for a complete fence replacement.

    The Correct Tools and Techniques for Repairs

    The necessary items for fixing a fence are available at a local hardware store. Most broken fences can be repaired using epoxy putty, while super glue is another option for bonding. Additionally, you'll require work gloves, clamps, sandpaper, rags, and a suitable solvent such as acetone. Begin by eliminating any rust from the bonding area, then carefully sand and cleanse it with the solvent. Apply the epoxy, then join the two pieces together with a clamp. Finally, remove any surplus epoxy after the bonding process.

    Know How to Paint a Metal Surface- A DIY Painting Guide

    Addressing Rust Threats to Iron Fences

    Addressing Rust Threats to Iron Fences
    Photo: @grizzlyiron

    Rust poses a significant threat to iron fences, often coming out from factors like metal imperfections, paint damage, moisture, and organic debris. Ignored rust inevitably escalates into corrosion, potentially causing structural damage. Signs such as stains, fractures, and warping suggest advanced corrosion. It is crucial to address rust promptly using various methods and materials, especially before repainting. Additionally, where rust appears, nearby areas are likely affected, warranting thorough inspection and treatment.

    Effective Methods to Fight the Rust

    • Using a combination of vinegar and lemon juice can effectively combat rust and prevent its spread. Additionally, rust converters are available to halt its progression.
    • Applying naval jelly, which contains phosphoric acid, with a paintbrush and then wiping it off with mineral spirits can remove rust.
    • Rust fillers can be utilized to fill small holes as a final step. After treating the rust, the affected area or paint the entire fence with rust-resistant primer and paint to seal the metal and protect against moisture and corrosion.
    • An oil-based spray enamel can also be used as a rust deterrent. Sandblasting can be employed to remove the layer of rust and old paint before making repairs.


    Wrought iron fencing stands out as a top choice despite its higher initial cost. It is favored by residents for its numerous benefits. Wrought iron fences offer enhanced security, easy maintenance, durability against wear, aesthetic value, easy installation, and repair, along with a see-through appeal.

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