If you’ve been pondering new residential fencing, you may have been put off by the cost of a wrought iron fence. Even so, a wrought iron fence brings definite advantages such as longevity, flexible design options, easy maintenance and durability that make it a great option despite the price tag.
What is wrought iron?
Wrought iron is an extremely pure form of iron alloy that has been worked by hand until nearly all of the carbon impurities are removed. “Wrought” simply means “worked,” so the name describes the process. In contrast, “cast iron” is heated until liquid and then poured into a mold.
The wrought iron creation process dates back to 2,000 B.C. Blacksmiths heat and hammer wrought iron, forging the iron particles together as the impurities are chipped away.
As the iron loses its carbon, it becomes more and more malleable. At this point in the process, it can be shaped into intricate designs when red hot. Wrought iron actually gets stronger the more it’s worked on, and it resists fatigue when finished because of its malleability.
Because of its flexibility and strength, wrought iron has been used in some of the most famous structures in the world, including the Eiffel Tower and the gates of Westminster Abbey in London.
What are the advantages of a wrought iron fence?
Wrought iron fences can be expected to last a lifetime — or even centuries. Some of the famous wrought iron balconies in the French Quarter of New Orleans date back to the 1700s, and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has particularly beautiful ironwork that has stood the test of time.
When you consider the fact that wrought iron will likely never need to be replaced, the initial cost seems much more reasonable.
Since a wrought iron fence can be molded into almost any design, the choices you have for fence styles are nearly unlimited. Standard fences and gates are available in a variety of styles and patterns, and you can easily have your own decorative touches added if you want something that’s not already being produced. It’s undeniably the most beautiful option for fencing a home.
The most common style of wrought iron fence is the picket fence, where rails are evenly spaced about a foot apart and topped with spears or finials (a type of spire). It’s a classic look that demarcates your property line while still allowing outsiders to admire your well-manicured lawn or your home’s curb appeal.
You can also choose a hairpin style fence. These mostly mimic the look of a picket fence design, but each set of two pickets are made from one iron rod. It curves into an arch at the top of the fence to cover the spires, in case you like the look of a spiked fence, but don’t want to run the risk of someone actually getting spiked by it.
Many choose to add decorative elements like scrolls on the top railings. Or they add any number of designs like fleur-de-lis in the main panels. The ornamental design of most wrought iron fences allows homeowners to get really creative and find expressions that suit their homes as well as their own personal styles.
Unlike wooden fences, wrought iron does not need to be painted or stained. The initial powder coat finish will last for years and typically does not chip or peel, even when exposed to the elements. As such, it is virtually maintenance free and will continue to look good long after it is put up.
The lack of maintenance saves money and valuable time over the long haul and brings down the lifetime cost of a wrought iron fence.
Wrought iron is one of the most durable materials available. This means you won’t have to worry as much about your fence being destroyed. Should a tree limb fall on it during a heavy storm, your fence is not likely to sustain any damage. If you hit your wrought iron fence with a riding lawn mower, you’re more likely to have to repair the lawn mower than the fence.
Restrains animals better
Some animals find it easy to climb over chain link fences, but the vertical rails of a wrought iron fence make this virtually impossible. This is especially true if the wrought iron is mounted on brick, a popular choice for fences meant to contain animals and children.
When you look at all the benefits wrought iron offers, it’s easy to see why it is such a popular choice. To find out more about wrought iron fencing, contact us.
Bringing out the beauty of a wrought iron fence
Ironwork is a craft, and each piece is a unique interpretation of a specific vision. Wrought iron can truly accent your home or commercial building because it can be customized to your specifications.
As with woods and other fine materials, ironwork needs a finish that highlights its true beauty and depth and also displays the craftsmanship that went into the piece. Finishes for ironwork can range from the industrial to the delicate. Here are some ideas and suggestions on which finishes can bring out the best appearance from your ironwork fence:
Bees Wax Finish: This method includes heating the metal until it is almost too hot to touch with bare hands. The wax is then applied in light coats and allowed to dry. Once this process is finished and the metal is cooled, the finish can be buffed and then scuffed to enhance the natural metal forged look.
Tinted Briwax Finish: The process of applying this finish is similar to the one outlined above. The added tint can highlight the natural finish but add color and depth to the metalwork. A brownish tint can add a patina-like appearance while protecting the ironwork from the damaging elements.
Wax and Linseed Oil Finish: When applied correctly, this finish leaves a lustrous, semi-transparent look to the ironwork. This finish can be buffed and waxed for added protection after the right texture and color is achieved. This type of finish is durable and can withstand harsh indoor and outdoor elements. Tints can be added to this finish as well, giving the ironwork a beautifully custom appearance.
For more information on ironwork finishes, contact the experts with Beitzell Fence. We offer a wide range of fencing for your home or commercial needs.
Keeping a wrought iron fence’s gates beautiful
To prevent rusting on wrought iron gates, the fence should be regularly checked for oxidation, scratch marks and indentations. Scratches and other similar forms of damage on the surface of a paint job will allow moisture to seep through and come into contact with the wrought iron surface, leading to its oxidation.
Oxidation will lead to wrought iron rusting, which will weaken the metal and can lead to moveable parts like hinges and joints sticking.
Rust Blockers: Sealants Against Moisture and Air
It is important to make a note of all the possible areas where moisture can accumulate and penetrate. Nooks and crevices such as joints, hinges and motifs are susceptible. A spray-on “rust blocker” should be applied on these points.
Oxidation may also occur in isolated areas. After spraying, these places should be left alone for the blocker to adhere to the metal surface. If possible, try to spray the metal indoors, away from outside elements. If you are not able to move the piece of metal indoors, then apply the rust blocker on a warm, sunny day. After the application, the area should be rinsed thoroughly with water. If any rust remains, the process should be repeated.
Rust Converter: How Do They Work?
Rust converters chemically alter rust, creating a glossy, black finish that’s ideal for a black wrought iron fence.
Rust converters work by changing the rusted oxides into a black layer that is more resistant to moisture. Preparations should be made for a thorough application of the rust converter. Large areas affected by rust can be removed with the help of a wire brush. Smaller areas will be neutralized by the converter. The rust converter should be applied with a brush, while larger areas should be taken care with the help of a paint roller. After the application of the rust converter over the entire surface, it should be left to dry. Once the rust converter dries, primer paint should be applied over it with a spray gun or paint brush. It should be topped off with a double coating of oil-based paint in long strokes to ensure long-lasting protection.
If you need to replace old, rusted gates and fences, then contact us. For 28 years, Beitzell Fence has proudly served Northern Virginia and the surrounding areas.