Help me make my metal gates great again?

20 Apr 2010
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United Kingdom
I have some attractive metal gates, with golf ball size spheres along the tops and narrow spaces between the uprights.

The paint is flaking and I would ideally like to make them smooth and glossy.

So, preparation being key, I wonder if you experts can tell me whether I should use sanding blocks, emery cloths, wire wool, detail sanders, drill accessories, wire brush....just spent the weekend not coming to a conclusion!

If it's just a question of good ol' wet and dry sand paper, could you advise grades to get the best possible prep? While I'm happy to do elbow grease, I'm happy to invest in a modest power tool if it's speeds up the job and improves the end result.

Many thanks for reading arduous post!
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You may wish you'd never started, but ideally any flaking paint has to come off, down to bare metal or the original primer if it's still there.
Power tools will help obviously but I'd start with some 60 grit emery cloth or equivalent and see how you get on with that.....wet and dry stuff is only for the final finish. Power tools such as sanders speed up things considerably but won't go into the nooks and crannies.
For paint, consider Hammerite Smoothrite spray, with the appropriate primer first, but other specialist paints are available - Rustoleum being another good one.
John :)
The 'fun', 'quick' but expensive way is to hire a 'Sandblaster' for a day. Don't forget to wear a dust mask and protective clothing. To use that best you will need to get the gates onto the ground. It will certainly shift all the old paint, rust and crud. Once yo uhave used it you will have to prime the gates as soon as possible as the raw, bare metal will rust quickly afterwards. I'd suggest this primer.
Thank you both. I didn't know that about wet and dry. Helpful. Was thinking about getting one of those little things that plugs into my drill. Not a flap wheel but the little abrasive cyclinder....good idea, bad idea?

Don't think it's bad enough for sandblasting but it's a good thought!
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There are many abrasive wheels and mops which would certainly help you, but the better ones are used with an angle grinder - you are still left with nooks and crannies of course!
One thought.....have you ever considered having your gates powder coated? All the prep will be done for you and the finish is marvellous.
Firms doing this are more common than you would think and they could do you a good deal if you were prepared to wait until they were going to do a batch in your preferred colour.
John :)
Electric needle guns (aka needle descalers) are also available; I believe HSS will hire one to you.
This is something I've been meaning to do for my garden gate for a long time but it has never got to the top of the list...
I do up old bikes and as a guide, a motorbike frame blasted and powdercoated black gloss is about £100

Assuming that you don't live in a stately home I'd guess the cost would be the same

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