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How To Restore Old Outdoor Furniture And Art.


Outside furniture and metal art have the inevitability to deteriorate due to the harsh weather elements. The deterioration of your furniture doesn’t mean that you have to throw it away but you do have the opportunity to restore them to its former glory.

Restoration of your furniture’s first step is identifying the issue that is affecting your metal artwork or furniture. The most common reason for metal deterioration is rust build-up which signifies the removal of the metal’s protective barrier. 

Proper identification of the issue will guide you on the right remedy in restoring the furniture for its future use and survivability. 

Below are the steps on how to restore your metal art and furniture.

Inspect the Metal Surface

Garden metal furniture and art cannot be spared from the harmful effects of extreme temperatures and weather. The changing temperatures and seasons slowly remove the metal’s  protective cover and beauty leading to its deterioration over time. You may encounter different degrees of damage while inspecting your furniture and artwork. Below is the list of issues that you may encounter:

Rust on Metal Surface:

Rust is the most common indicator of the deterioration of metal surfaces. All metals except for precious metals like Platinum, and iridium are susceptible to rusting. The chemical reaction when metals react with oxygen is called oxidation. The primary elements that cause oxidation are oxygen and atmospheric moisture. 

The most common indicator of corrosion is the red color of iron oxide. This condition is predominant in unprotected metals. The red rust is oxidized iron. 

How to Remove Rust on Metal surfaces:

Before beginning the process of removing the rust from your metal surface. Several tools are needed to get the job done. Here is a list of items needed:

  1. Sandpaper
  2. Sanding block
  3. Rust Primer
  4. Paint

Once the affected areas had been identified on your metal surface, the first step in the removal of rust is sanding. The sanding process is meant to remove the oxidized red rust from the surface exposing the bear metal. 

It is recommended to use a lower coarse grit when sanding down the metal as this prevents exposing the metal too deep. 

You can wipe off the sanded rust using a dry growth until you reach the bare metal surface. 

Once the sanding is complete, the next step is applying the primer. The primer is meant to act as a sealer and allows for proper adherence to the paint. 

After the surface has been prepped and primed the next step is the application of the paint. Below are the paint options that you can purchase to paint your metal art.

1. Oil-based paint: Oil-based paint is considered to be durable and highly resistant to moisture and humidity. Oil-based paint is also referred to as alkyd paint. The paint provides a glossy finish and is resistant to staining, The glossy finish makes the surface easy to clean. 

The paint is typically used for high-traffic areas and surfaces. The paint adheres to metal longer compared to other paints. Moisture from rain and dew does not adhere or penetrate the metal surface.

When applying the paint o the surface, the drying time typically takes 8 to 24 hours to completely dry.

2. Latex Paint: Latex is another option to use to paint your metal surface. However, compared to oil-based paint, latex has a higher chance of chipping. Before applying the paint, the surface needs to be primed to allow for proper adhesion of the paint. 

 Properly prepping the priming of the surface will go a long way in extending the lifetime of the paint on the surface. Ensure the surface is cleaned and remove any old paint and debris on the surface.  Remove as much of the rust as you can from the surface. 

You can apply rust-resistant primer before applying the latex paint. Typically, the latex takes 15 – 30 minutes to completely dry.    

3. Spray Paint:   Spray paint can be both water and oil-based. The application of the paint is different from your regular paint. The application is easier and needs to be done in a well-ventilated room. I do recommend spray painting your art outside to prevent exposure to toxic fumes that can lead to harmful effects on your respiratory system.

Another benefit of using spray paint is the ability to use it for hard-to-reach and irregularly shaped artwork. 

Debris and dust.

You do encounter dirt and debris all the time on metal art and furniture. This can be taken care of by cleaning the surface periodically. However, if neglected for a long period the dirt and debris can cause the growth of plants and veins on the metal surface.

Over a long time, the metal surface loses its polish and beauty.

How to remove Debris and dirt from metal surfaces:

Use your garden hose water to clean off the surface. Avoid using power washers to prevent damage to your metal surface. Allow the water from the garden hose to be a gentle stream. 

For hard-to-remove dirt and debris, you can use your regular dish soap to scrub off the stubborn stains. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes when cleaning, as this will create small removal of the protective barriers that will expose the surface to rust if not covered promptly.

Use a soft cloth or a sponge when washing the surface. You can use your hands to feel for cracks and remove debris on the surface. 

Mix the water with dish soap before scrubbing the surface to ensure an even consistency. 

Once the scrubbing is done, make sure the soap is sufficiently removed from the surface and there are no bubbles left. Have the metal furniture and art dry in a warm place for at least an hour.

Mold and Mildew:

Most metal art surfaces are non-porous. Mold and mildew prefer porous surfaces like wood and wet concrete surface for ease of penetration and establishment. For metal artwork located in damp areas in your garden or the basement, the mold can thrive on the surface and cause the slow deterioration of your metal art.

Excess moisture and humidity will encourage the growth of mold. Metal art covered with water in your garden can be the perfect breeding ground for mold. Metal artwork in poorly ventilated basements can be a candidate for the growth of mold and mildew.

How to Remove Mold and Mildew:

There is a high chance that the damage caused by the mold and mildew is surface level. The non-porous nature of the metal allows for ease in removing the mold.

Mold and mildew like to grow in hidden and hard-to-reach spots. You can detect the presence of mold by the musty odor. Mold has allergen properties that can cause respiratory and congestion. Visual, you can detect mold by the discoloration on metal surfaces with a powder and fuzzy texture.

Cleaning off the mold and mildew can be done by the use of readily available soapy water and  specially manufactured mold removers.

Check out this related post:

How to keep metal art from rusting?

How to take resin art garden art?

How to paint metal garden art and furniture?

Ginny Orenge

Hi, my name is Ginny, home and garden decor ideas is a family business specializing in inspiring you in getting in making your own craft at home. I have also loved creating my own art at home. I hope to share my tips in creating both home and garden decorations that you can be proud off.

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