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In the process of repainting my wrought iron fence, I had discovered that in a few of the rails, water started to leak out at the weld joints attached to the bottom rail while removing paint & rust with a steel brush! Apparently, water had entered through gaps in the weld joints of the rails directly under the top rail during the rainy season and has been trapped over the dry months until just recently when I had removed enough paint around the weld joint allowing water to seep out! (Wondering if there are additional rails that have water trapped but hadn't leaked out due to good weld joints at bottom rail!)

My question is how best can I drain the water from the rails that have water trapped within prior to my resealing the weld joints with new primer and paint? Would it be practical to try to blow the water out with an air compressor or is my best bet to simply drill a hole near the bottom of each rail? I suppose I could simply reseal the water within with new paint, however, I would imagine that the water would rust the interior of the rail tubes! Also, might be good idea to caulk all of the weld joints under top rails to prevent additional water penetration in the future! enter image description here enter image description here

  • I would use a heat gun, or something like it, to get rid of the current water. – dandavis Nov 12 '17 at 6:11
  • My father discovered he had this problem when the accumulated water froze during winter causing the bottoms of his tubes to swell and crack open. – Matthew Oct 28 '18 at 3:51
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Keep in mind that through condensation alone, the humidity in the air and temperature variation, if those risers can breath they will accumulate water. I would, as you have said, drill small weep holes as low as possible. With normal evaporation, this will mitigate the problem the best. Keep the lower plates painted with a good quality paint and you should see minimal rust.

  • Thanks Paul! I've drilled 1/8" weep holes at the bottom of each rail that was showing some water leaking out when I had removed paint with steel brush. Now I can apply Rustoleum paint and primer to reseal exposed metal and not trap any moisture via weld joints under the top railing. You mentioned that the water within the rails was due to condensation, but this was occurring after several dry summer months! I'm going to assume that the rest of the rails that didn't have any water leaking out near bottom railing when I steel brushed them do not have any trapped water within them. – Grant Nov 14 '17 at 19:17
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There is a semi-automatic method you may want to consider for your problem. I have used many moons ago on aircraft steel tubing a product known as Polyfiber Tubeseal. It is a creepy liquid in the literal sense of the word.

You would identify each tube requiring attention and drill a hole (0.128 per instructions) to inject the tubeseal. If you believe there is entrapped water, I would recommend a second hole at the bottom, then force air at high pressure into each chamber to remove as much water as possible prior to tubeseal injection.

If you plan to repaint the entire railing, a torch or heat gun applied to the components may eject even more water.

The instructions specify an exact volume per foot per diameter for the space to be sealed. It is followed by a recommendation to pop-rivet each hole.

The ad copy for the product specifies that it will climb the walls and locate leaks, congeal and seal the hole. I can attest that this is true. Some of my welds were less than perfect and the goop begins to ooze, then hardens nicely.

It may be necessary to clean the area around any leaks in order to paint the surface, but I expect a good quality paint would further close up any leak that might otherwise be a factor from the removal of the exuded tubeseal.

The one caveat I see is that it is recommended to rotate the sealed component over a series of angles over a period of time. That might be impossible on installed railings such as yours.

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