Iron driveway gates are a classic choice that look great with almost any style of home. Wrought iron can be expensive, but it's sturdy and long-lasting and available in so many ornamental designs that it remains a favorite. Iron gates do require some maintenance to keep them looking their best, but they don't need as much maintenance as wooden gates so they're well worth the initial expense.
Cleaning Iron Driveway Gates
One of the best things you can do for your iron gates or any wrought iron you have that's exposed to the elements is give it a regular cleaning. It's easy to think that gates and other items that are outdoors should be fairly clean because of rain. But rain can leave behind minerals and other elements that damage the finish of your gates. Dust, dirt, bugs and bird droppings are other naturally occurring outdoor hazards to wrought iron.
Occasionally use a gentle soap and water mixture and a soft brush to clean your iron driveway gates. It's best if you can then dry the gates by hand, though you can let them dry in the sun as long as all the soap is rinsed away with clean water. Hand drying will prevent any minerals in the water from leaving a chalky residue once the sun has evaporated the water.
Rust can be a problem with iron driveway gates and any kind of wrought iron railings or furniture. You can prevent rust by choosing iron gates with a rust-proof finish, or by using rust inhibiting primer on your gates. Keeping the gates clean will go a long way toward preventing or slowing rust growth.
When you see new rust, clean it off with sand paper right away. If it's not removed the spot will only grow larger and take more work to remove. Only use the sand paper on the rust itself and be careful not to scratch other parts of the gate. Use a rust inhibiting product to treat the spot to prevent it from coming back.
Repaint as Needed
If the paint is peeling or flaking off your iron driveway gates, you can repaint them and make them look like new. If the paint on most of the gates seems fine but you're faced with a lot of rust you should repaint to hinder the spread of rust. You'll need to sand down the gates carefully to remove any loose paint and remove as much rust as you can. It's not necessary to get all the paint off, as long as the surface is sanded smooth. A sturdy wire brush can expedite this process.
Use a rust inhibitor on rust spots, and then paint the iron with a rust-inhibiting metal primer. Two or three coats are needed, but allow each coat to dry between applications. Finally, a final coat of paint made for wrought iron will finish restoring your iron driveway gates.