Monday, November 19, 2012

Problems With Outside Metal Fences

Many people choose metal fencing over wood for the durability and endless style choices. Wrought iron fences built many years ago have withstood the test of time. If built properly, metal fences can be problem-free for decades. Regular maintenance ensures avoidance of serious repairs. When problems or damage occur, small or large portions of metal fence can be easily repaired. Does this Spark an idea?


Thin metal is easily damaged and dented when hit by lawn equipment, pets and toys. Dents are not only unsightly, they can be a harbor for rust and corrosion. The smallest hole can allow water to enter a metal fence and cause extensive damage. If something hits your metal fence, repair the damage before rust and corrosion set in. Rust spreads very quickly but it is also easily stopped if caught early.

Quality Materials

If you have the opportunity to influence the design of a metal fence, choose the highest quality materials available. Aluminum offers lightweight, medium strength and is resistant to rust, yet specialized welding skills are needed to build with aluminum. Also, there is a much broader choice of styles in steel. Steel is heavier but stronger and comes in many gauges. A heavier gauge metal may cost more initially but will be sturdier and take longer to be damaged by the elements.

Metal Damage

Metal's worst adversary is water. More decorative fence has more areas vulnerable to moisture damage. You can prevent this damage by making sure that the pickets and posts are welded all the way around, on both top and bottom. When water gets inside metal pickets and posts, two main problems occur. First, the metal begins to rust from the inside out. This damage remains hidden until it is too late. Second, the force of water expanding when it freezes causes metal fencing to swell and sometimes split. Square pickets and posts become rounded -- a telltale sign of metal fence that has experienced freeze damage. If you have existing metal fencing and notice any small pinholes, seal the seams with silicone caulk.


To prevent water damage of fences, it is important to provide a continuous seal. Metal fence can be painted or powder coated. Many fence builders powder-coat a fence and then weld the joints together. This method allows chipping, peeling and rust to occur at the most vulnerable place. Connecting a metal fence mechanically allows you to remove sections for repairs and provides a continuous seal against rust and moisture when powder-coated. Painting can be a good option, but metal fence must be painstakingly prepared for paint to adhere and last. You will have to paint every two to three years, while powder coating done properly will last 10-15 years.


Because metal can deteriorate quickly when damaged, it should be inspected on a regular basis like in the spring and fall. Damaged areas must be repaired to prevent spreading. If the finish is chipped, cracked or bubbling, it needs to be repaired. Small areas can usually be cleaned and repainted.

Tags: metal fence, metal fencing, pickets posts, continuous seal, metal fence, rust corrosion