How to Paint a Metal Fence: [7 Simple Step-by-Step Guide]

A metal fence plays a significant role in decoration and safety of our house. It can also complete the artistic design of a residence. Additionally, painting metal fence brings lives to the fence and make it attractive, bright, and sturdy.

How to Paint a Metal Fence: [7 Simple Step-by-Step Guide]

You can paint the old painted or a newly installed metal fence. Also, you may know painting resists rust to damage the metal. With so many benefits, many of us try to color the fence without having any prior experience.

Wait! I am not here to make you numb!

I am sharing essential information about how to paint a metal fence, even if you are a beginner. Stick to the topic and learn how you can do it quickly.

Painting a Metal Fence Instructions

I have already colored all the metal fences covering the garden. Below are the steps of painting any metal fence of any size area. However, I think you should know the types of metal used for making fences.

Preferable Types of Metals for Fences

  • Ferrous metal: Some ferrous metals are steel, wrought or cast iron. These metals are prone to rust. Also, they are attracted to magnets. You need to use metal lacquer to paint a ferrous metal fence.
  • Non-ferrous metal: Some non-ferrous metals are galvanized metal, aluminum, stainless steel, and zinc. Usually, these metals do not rust as they are water, air, or moisture resistant. But you can do a facelift by painting them. I suggest you use Aluzinc lacquer to paint the non-ferrous metal surface.

So, if you see rust on a metal fence, then it is made of ferrous metal. In addition, you may use a magnet to verify the type of metal.

Materials & Tools for Painting

Lacquer (metallic or Aluzinc)Scraper for paint
Paint stripperWoolen brush
Heavy-grit (220) or sandpaperSoft-bristled brush
Metal degreaserSander
Rapid fillerPaintbrushes
SealantRound brushes
Mineral SpiritsSafety kit (gloves, glasses, mask)
Putty KnifeBucket filled with water

How to Paint a Metal Fence

Follow a few simple steps to paint the metal fence:

First Step – Prep the Area

Most of us forget or do not care about prepping the area or covering ourselves. But it is a must-do for any painting job. Dress with a long-sleeved shirt, put on hand gloves, glasses, and a dust mask.

Then, keep the painting area clean except for the painting stuff. It will increase the interest and bring joy to paint the metal fence.

Second Step – Conduct a Paint Test

Old ferrous metal fences can have rust, whereas non-ferrous do not have it. If you have installed a non-ferrous metal fence, then you can skip the step of rust removal.

For a paint test, you can apply a meager quantity of metal or Aluzinc lacquer on a small fence area. Take your time to dry it. If you saw a smooth surface without wrinkled paints, then it is fine to do the next steps.

Third Step – Remove the Rust

Unless it is a new metal fence, you can start removing the rust and old paint. Removing the rust helps the primer and paint stick to the metal fence well. You can use the high-grit sandpaper, or paint stripper, or even woolen brush to sand off the surface.

Remember, it will take sufficient time to remove the rust and paint by sanding. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the metal and paint dust. After removing them, clean the residues with mineral spirits. Take the bucket and rinse wash with plain water for cleaning the mineral spirits.

Fourth Step – Repair the Fence

No, this is not a mandatory step for the newly installed metal fence. Anyway, use quick filler to repair all the damages (if any). You can apply the filler with a putty knife. Also, some quick-putty work faster to repair the damages.

Fifth Step – Apply the Primer

Priming is always necessary for any metal fence painting. You can find high-quality metal primers at the market. Apply the primer (works as a base coat) with a paintbrush on the whole fence. You can add few mineral spirits if the primer is too thick for applying.

Therefore, you should maintain consistent pressure while applying the primer and paints. Otherwise, the painted surface will seem uneven, less attractive. Drying the primer may take up to 24 hours. If it is not dried correctly, the topcoat or primary paint will not stick to the surface properly.

Sixth Step – Paint the Fence

After applying the primer, you can start hitting the proper aim. I am kidding! Start painting each corner of the fence. For this, take another paintbrush and dip in the paint entirely. Then, shake the brush a bit to remove excessive paint from it. Try to follow up-and-down motion to paint well. Vertical painting gives optimum coverage, while horizontal paint may leave spots and take more time.

Take enough time to dry the coat. In general, the curing time is indicated on the paint container. After first coat (current one) you applied, start doing the second coat for a better result. Then, wait for drying it. Usually, final coat will take 24-48 hours for complete dry. By final coat, I mean the second or one more coat.

Final Step – Apply Sealant (Varnish)

A metal fence is an exterior thing that remains outside of our home. So, it is logical for the fence to face extreme heat, rain, snow, moisture, etc. That is why you should apply sealant on the painted metal fence. It will maintain the health of the paint. Also, adding sealant can improve the appearance of the color.

Read more: How to Paint Metal Bed Frame?


Do these steps sound tough to you? I guess not! I have discussed everything in full detail. Just keep in mind, painting is not a tough-guy job. Also, it will take your full attention and sufficient time for painting.

I hope you like the how to paint a metal fence idea. Now, stop procrastinating. Just do it!

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