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  1. #1
    jackalope is offline Titanium
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    I am just finishing up a 90ft handrail that is outdoors. All steel construction. I need a paint that is very durable and preferably something that does not require a perfectly clean surface to start with.
    I have been fighting with the rain to finish this project and is is obviously going to have some rust. I plan to power wash the entire thing with a degreaser as well prior to painting.
    What say you all when it comes to paint choices.

    I would LIKE to keep the overall cost down if at all possible.

    Thanks in advance.----Grant

  2. #2
    macona's Avatar
    macona is offline Diamond
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    A cheap HF powder coating gun and a portable infrared propane heater would work to powder coat it.

  3. #3
    John Madarasz's Avatar
    John Madarasz is offline Stainless
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    you know, I've been professionally metal working for almost 30 years, almost all of it exterior metalwork...and before that as a kid I worked for a maintenance dept and painted since I was 13 yrs old. Always wire brushing, wire wheels, sanding, prime and paint metal... all types. In ALL that time, over all the years of research and going back and looking at performance and how jobs held up the regular old off the shelf Rustoleum exterior enamal has held up as good or better than any high zoot super expensive industrial coating I've ever used.

    You would think there would be some super secret paint that only professionals knew about that was the drop dead bomb...nothing could touch it for performance. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't exist. My brother in law works for a big paint manufacturer and he says the # 1 reason coatings fail is people don't shake the cans enough!! and don't follow application instructions...go figure.

    After all these years I use Rustoleum, I properly prep the metal, and apply according to directions and it works. Exterior iron/steel will always need regular maintenace...that's why I don't favor powdercoat. Invariably nicks and chips occur on powdercoat finishes, and touch ups never blend in like they do with paint.

    Go to the hardware...pickup some rusty metal primer for lightly rusted metals and your favorite finish coat color, and brush it up with Rustoleum ...and never look back (edit: I will use the "High Performance" Rustoleum primers and finish enamels at times, available through Grainger, but I still hand brush welds and finish coats with hardware grade exterior enamels and primers too)

    just my opinion, fwiw [img]smile.gif[/img]

    original handforged, hot pierced, mild steel gate hand brushed up with Rustoleum below...


  4. #4
    surplusjohn is offline Diamond
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    about 15 years ago I painted my then 20 year old contractor's wheel barrow with Hammertite as an experiment, no careful prep. this is still in reasonable shape after 15 years of moderate use. Hammertite has glass flakes in it, is stinky and a bit hard to brush on but it is a tough hammertone finish. I also used it on a pallet jack with simular results. Nothing holds up to denting damage, but this stuff otherwise seems pretty good and I have noticed it on handrails. My experience with powder coating is that it holds up as a skin but allows corrosion underneath it, All goes back to the prep and the bond between the surface and the coating.
    Some small outfit makes Hammertite, not to be confused with Hammertone by Rustoleum, which is also good and I agree with the above comments about Rustoleum and about good mixing. Have the store shake it, even if the kid says it is not needed. I had my own shaker for a while and you could see the difference.
    and don't forget the primer!
    BTW , same co makes this as Kilz ,
    http://www.kilz.com/pages/default.aspx?NavID=42

  5. #5
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    starbolin is offline Stainless
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    A good alkaloid paint over a good prep will last for many years. I used to use two part epoxy paints as they provided a thick coat and I could brush them on but they are expensive. Then I had a large railing installation sprayed with alkaloid and I am impressed by the longevety. The surface prep has to me immaculate and alkaloids have to be sprayed on. Neither is a deterent as surface prep is always important and you can get precharged spray cans at your automotive paint suppliers.

    A light coating of rust is not a problem, it actually give a "bite" to the surface. The black-oxide coating can cause cracking of the paint surface resulting in a longevity issue. I have achived good longevity by bringing the entire rail down to bare metal with wire wheel on an angle grinder although the recommend way is to sandblast. The key with the wirewheel is to clean the metal first and use a clean wheel to avoid transfer of any contamination.

    Nothing you find down at the hardware store is going to provide a durable, wear resistant finish for outdoor applications. Talk to your local automotive paint supplier.

    starbolin

  6. #6
    Mike W is offline Stainless
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    I brushed painted some fence posts that were made from rusty pipe with Sherwin Williams enamel. I did a quick clean up with a wire wheel before I painted them. It surprises me that the paint still looks good several years later.

    I think the key is getting enough paint thickness and be careful of sharp corners where the paint tends to be thinner.

  7. #7
    starbolin's Avatar
    starbolin is offline Stainless
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    John Madarasz writes:
    ...he says the # 1 reason coatings fail is people don't shake the cans enough!!
    Typical rep talk, must be the customers fault. Even though I exactingly prepare the surface, pre-warm the work, pre-warm the paint, shake the can for twenty minutes, apply multiple coats sanding between coats, and bake the finish afterward, it must be my fault if the coating fails!

    And how about cans that have sat on the shelf so long that the paint comes out in globs like a camel spitting on a turban? Or brands with so much solvent in them the coat starts to run before being thick enough to hide a pig's blush?

    Epoxy, alkaloid, or brush on primer are the only things I will trust.

    starbolin

  8. #8
    rusty ripple is offline Cast Iron
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    best thing you can do is sandblast, hot dip galvanize, then paint, but this seems to do the opposite of keep your costs down. remeber any tight corners need to have paint forced in there, otherwise it will rust and bleed out, leaving streaks. i've heard good things about using zinc rich primers, never used them myself, but they're supposed to be the next best thing to galvanizing.

    john is that satin black? i much prefer satin to gloss, flat doesn't seem to hold up as well as gloss and i'm curious about how well satin holds up.

  9. #9
    tnmgcarbide's Avatar
    tnmgcarbide is online now Titanium
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    forget the fancy paint . if it will be painted
    black.... an asphalt based post paint cannot be
    beat . about $8 a gallon from tractor supply,
    the only place i've ever seen it for sale in
    GA.

    it takes atleast a week to cure ,but when it does,
    you'd need a chisel to remove it.
    years ago, while on a trip to england...this smelly,
    smoky truck pulled up , and these dirty dudes
    jumped out and grabbed huge mops and proceeded to
    cover some ancient statues and monuments in asphalt goo.
    i asked one of them about it ,and he explained that they did this about every ten years or so...

    i've used that asphalt paint on a railing i
    welded about ten years ago...it's just now started
    to shrink and crack a bit...so i'll just slop some
    more on it to fix it. it sounds ugly , but for ironwork it is a classy finish.

  10. #10
    surplusjohn is offline Diamond
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    that is Gilsonite.
    I have used that on old tin work trim on old houses. yuckky! but I think that is what alot of the old iron railings were done in, I think that if you used it on a hand railing you might have a problem on a hot day!

  11. #11
    John Madarasz's Avatar
    John Madarasz is offline Stainless
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    Rusty, yes...the Rustoleum Satin black gives a really nice finish. It self levels to almost a powder coat like finish if it's applied under proper conditions. I love it. I'm with you also in prefering the satin finish...it's a much more "classic" look regarding hand forged ironwork, and ornamental ironwork in general...imo.

    Starbolin, I can only offer that the candor my brother in law offered wasn't some sales rep rap...imo it was good info from a good source. The guy is totally into his job, and this was confidential info I got on the QT during a seriuos barbque

    fwiw I've talked at length with more paint and coatings reps, technical support staff and salesman than I care to remember, so I valued his "inside info". If the coating fails after all your exacting prep...then chances are good it's a material defect. What I can tell you with certainty is that most people I've seen either don't, can't, or won't follow even the simplest dirctions supplied with ANYTHING. Everybody knows better than the manufacturer...then they're mystified when things don't work out :rolleyes:

    in my opinion and experience it's the expensive esoteric coatings that sit on the shelf forever because very few know about them, and even less are willing to pay for and use them. Lot's of these products end up being discontinued, then you're faced with the issue of finding a suitabl;e touch up or re-coat product that's compatible and will adhere, miles down the road. That's another reason I lean towards a quality off the shelf product that's more readily available; it usually has a shorter in store time, when you need more it's easy to get, and it's going to be available years down the road.

    Like you, I almost always favor brush on primers and I'm pretty sure you mean Alkyd, and not alkaloid when describing a certain class of paints

  12. #12
    HWooldridge is offline Hot Rolled
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    I make a lot of outdoor ironwork and use the cheapest, flat black rattle-can paint I can find. Home Depot sells their brand for $.99 a can or some such. I then overcoat with satin spar urethane. The urethane seals the paint from oxidation and won't peel like when urethane is applied on bare steel. If you want other trace colors or patinas, base coat with the black and apply the colors before putting on the clear coat.

  13. #13
    AlexO is offline Cast Iron
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    Grant,

    As durability is concerned you have 2 possibilities:
    1. Alkyd enamel
    2. Urethanes

    Urethanes are MANY things and the best ones should cost AT LEAST triple what a good automotive "urethane" paint does.

    A good enamel should outlast a urethane by far but it won't be as scratch resistant.

    For outdoor applications you should use a good LEAD primer ( you can make it yourself). Nothing else comes even remotely close. Stonecor193 is a fair option ( 2comp epoxy primer). You should not use an epoxy top coat - they don't like UV at all.

    Rustoleum is an EXCELLENT product.

  14. #14
    jackalope is offline Titanium
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    Thanks to all that have chimed in here. I finally got the entire hand rail erected. Some 90+ feet. I will brush on a rusty primer and then apply some Rustoleum as the general consensus stated.

    I will be speding a lot of time with this paint as there are 32 spindle per 8ft section. Do the math and you see what I am up against.

    Anyway, thanks again.--Grant

  15. #15
    surplusjohn is offline Diamond
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    try the spindle rollers, about 10 times faster than a brush. multiple short rollers on curved frame. also used for pipe

  16. #16
    jackalope is offline Titanium
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    We think alike John! I already had bought the various sized rollers. Only sounded right to do it this way....Good coverage and "fast"...Thanks, Grant

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