I have a front gate to my house that I would like to repaint enter image description here

I have few issues. First there are a few spots with rust enter image description here

And some with general corrosion enter image description here

Also I wonder how to paint around where the gate attaches to the wall without painting the wall enter image description here

Can I just spray paint over everything?
If so, what type of paint should I use?

  • Do you know if the metal is galvanized or not?
    – Edwin
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 5:54
  • @Edwin I'm not sure how to tell if it is galvanized
    – Ron Harlev
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 6:16
  • I don't either. It looks galvanized to me. Is it painted already? If not. it is likely galvanized.
    – Edwin
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 6:30

2 Answers 2


To me, it looks like you have a very old Zinc coated gate, which has many areas which have been touched up with a grey paint (I may be completely wrong)..

Typically the galvanization is done when the clean metal fence is dipped into molten zinc and effectively coated in a corrosive resistant zinc shell. if you would like to return the fence to original condition, your best bet would be to remove the entire gate and take the unit to a galvanizing plant for re-galvanizing. Unfortunately the fact that it may already be galvanized means that they need to acid remove the original coating which will cost double, and they would be worried that the acid burns into the mesh too much. (you would have to remove your lock and consult the galvanizing guys if the current hinges will be ok)

The other option is to simply remove all traces of the rust from the existing gate and re-apply a coating of paint. I would say if you choose to paint the gate do not remove, however if spraying is your intention, then i would recommend removal.

To prepare for painting. some sand paper and stainless steel brushes would do the trick, if you have some power tools you could really benefit from steel brush powertool accessories (drill, grinder or polisher) enter image description here

Using some sand paper, and steel brushes (in the heavy rust areas) scrape away all rust. Once you are happy, I would apply a primer coating (zinc chromite metal primer) and then a final coat of good quality enamel paint.

The corrosion you are seeing are the zinc which has formed pots (are you near the coast?) if so... painting your fence with enamel is not advised.. since corrosion is too excessive near the coast.

another option would be to prepare the fence (sanding where the rust areas are) and then re-applying the galvanized coating with a brush. this will add some life back to the gate (but does not compare to actually having the gate professionally galvanized)

a Google search for galvanizing paint or spray should get some results.

enter image description here

Lastly, if you are worried about painting on the wall, simply use some masking tape on the edges.


Your best bet when setting out to paint the metal gate is to completely remove all of the rust and corrosion down to clean surface metal. Attempting to paint over this will both look bad and will fail very soon. The ongoing chemical reactions with the metal create a surface that is unstable and will eventually break right through any paint that you try to put over it.

You could work on the gate in place to prepare it for painting but I would suggest removing the gate from the opening so that it is easier to work on. Laying it down flat across some saw horses would significantly enhance the ability to access all the nooks and corners that will need to be cleaned up before painting. This will also nicely solve the problem of how to keep the gate paint off the adjacent wall. It will also allow you to clean up and repaint the parts of the gate surface that hug against the wall.

Clean up of the rust and corrosion will be a lot of work and could be done using a combination of sanding and wire brush tools, both by hand and with some power tools. However this method will have some drawbacks because the gate design has many areas that will be very hard to access properly. For this reason I would suggest the use of a powered sand blaster for cleaning up a majority of the damage and only resort to other tools for areas that are not responding to the sand blaster.

You could consider renting the sand blaster from a tool rental yard or purchasing one of your own. Since this is a fairly large project the rental fees could get out of hand for multiple days of rental and also since this is likely to be a one shot project for use of such tool you could consider purchasing the plaster from a lower cost supplier like Harbor Freight and then reselling the unit after the job on Craigslist to recoup part of your investment. (I took a quick look at the HF web site and note that there are multiple products available with the cheaper options being ones that may leverage an air compressor that you may already own.

Note that when working on a large surface project like your gate you may want to try to recapture the blasting grit to minimize the amount of material required. This can be done by draping a large heavy duty plastic sheet under the work area.

When it comes to repainting I believe that the best option is to use a spray painter to apply the paint. You will want to use a two layer approach first with a high quality metal primer paint followed by a corrosion fighter type of paint. Remember that with spray painting the best results come from applying multiple thin coats as opposed getting over zealous with the spray and finding runs and pooling of excess paint.

As with any project you should consider the economic factors involved and carefully evaluate the cost of the cleanup and repaint work versus removal and replacement with a new gate. Doing this as a DIY project where you can consider your time a donation to the project can make the repaint option quite feasible. If you had to hire someone else to do this work the replacement option may be more cost effective.

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