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Nothing brings down curb appeal faster than a rusty metal railing on your front porch.

Wrought iron handrails can be an attractive architectural element of your home’s exterior. They’re both classic and timeless in style, not to mention extremely durable. One of their biggest drawbacks, however, is they’re prone to rust and corrosion. Thankfully, even the rustiest railing can be restored.

My porch rail had rusted in some areas to the point where paint was flaking off in large chunks. It was an eyesore, to say the least, especially since I had to see it each time I passed through the front door. With a bit of paint and primer, I was able to transform it completely—and now it’s a shining feature of my home’s entrance. Not only is the rust gone, but thanks to a few clutch products, it won’t be coming back anytime soon.

Here’s a before and after look:

Before rusted iron railing

After view of a painted black railing




Lay a drop cloth underneath the railing to protect the porch area or any surrounding landscaping from paint and cleaning chemicals.

Drop cloth under a black porch railing



Give the railing a good scrub with a degreasing cleaner and scour pad to remove as much dirt and debris as possible.

Cleaning an iron railing



Scrub any flaking paint or heavily rusted areas with a wire brush (or a wire brush attachment on your power drill). Be sure to wear safety goggles and rubber gloves to protect yourself from the small bits of metal flying about. The goal is to remove as much rust as you can while also smoothing the surface as much as possible. Wipe away any dust or debris with a damp cloth, and let the railing dry completely.

Brushing a rusted iron railing



Apply a coat of rusty metal primer to the railing. Don’t be alarmed by the color—it’s supposed to be the color of rust! Even if your railing isn’t heavily rusted, this primer provides twice the rust prevention than paint alone. You can use a 4-inch roller on the flat areas and a paintbrush in the hard-to-reach areas. (I just used a paintbrush on the whole thing.) Allow the primer to dry overnight.



Apply an even coat of protective enamel paint to the railing. It’s important to use this type of paint as it is oil-based and has rust prevention built into it. Again, you can apply it with a brush or with a brush/roller combo. The paint will be dry to the touch in two to four hours, but allow it to fully dry 24 hours before handling.



And that’s all there is to transform your rusty railing into a pretty porch accessory!

Finished painted porch railing

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