Restoring rusting/chipping stall bars and gates?

Hi, I’m working on fixing up our cute four stall barn to bring horses home for the first time. Some of the stall bars and gates with yokes are rusting and chipping paint. Does anyone recommend particular products to restore them? I’m envisioning sanding them down somehow and then painting them with Rustoleum black spray paint and a clear acrylic spray paint on top? Does that sound correct to anyone else who has done this before? Do I need a certain style power sander to get between the bars? I am new to this so I appreciate any advice and recommendations! This photo shows the current state they are in.

We use this kind on a battery run grinder:

We use those to clean dirty/rusty/painted metals before welding.

There are all kinds out there, wire ones, fabric ones, diamond, any of them would work.
Some are more aggressive, some less, just be sure to wear googles and face mask.

We use plain metal paint like Krylon or such.
Many of those paints today are made to only need one coat, no primer or other protection after painting.

We have used them on old metal barn chairs and they looked fine for long time.

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Agree with everything Bluey said.

I’ve used both spray and brush type metal paint. Tractor paint is tough if you have a farm store nearby. I’ve never coated the paint with anything.

Also - wear gloves. My hands show what happens if you don’t :slight_smile:

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Around here there is a guy who advertises “dustless blasting” … well, apparently he has dropped the ‘dustless’ bit, I always wondered how that worked anyway! But here, watch some videos and see if there is anyone near you who can do this:

And then there is another place that can do powder coating. (I don’t think we have a place that can do hot-dip galvanizing but that might be another option.)

I realize you might have been asking how to DIY … as I have aged I have realized there are some things that might be better hired out, and blasting/scraping/painting is one of them for me.


Usually wet blasting. IME additional rust prevention steps are needed between wet blasting and powder coating on non aluminum / SS metals compared to dry blast processes. Tends to drive costs up locally

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Do you have a decent sized air compressor and some time on your hands? I recently took a very ornate and rusty cast iron bench down to bare metal for restoration using a pretty cheap little media blasting attachment for my compressor. I used Walnut shells which are environmentally friendly and did the work outside wearing a face mask and air filter. Media blasting was mainly tried out of curiosity but it was probably cheaper to do it myself than hiring someone to fiddle away on on all those little details. The walnut shells were the most expensive part of the experiment but I was pretty pleased with the results.

Another option is to use a substance like navel jelly rust dissolver. This is tough stuff though and you do not want it on you or anything living. It does work very well. For something like those small wire grids it might be the least labor intensive. If the rust is not too bad and you just want to arrest its progress so you can repaint a rust converter might also work.

Oh you could go a fun color like dark Prussian blue…or Charleston green… :grin:.

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I don’t have an air compressor, but we do have lots of walnut trees on our farm. I think you are more skilled at DIY then I am! I will check out the Naval Jelly. The rust is not super thick which is why it seems worth saving. I love your paint idea, I’m actually painting the barn and field gates and run in sheds Essex Green and it would be so much fun to match the stall gates!

Thank you so much Bluey, I’m going to try one of these out and see how it goes! Sorry, not sure how to get this to reply directly to comments.

If you highlight a post, or parts of one, there will be a quote tab show up on the upper left corner.
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The job you are going to do of preparation, as much as you have to do, is a big job, take your time.
I expect the spraying will go much faster.
I bet it will look fabulous.

Hijacking to ask if there is a Rust Removal for Dummies method for people like myself :roll_eyes:

My stalls have powdercoat grilles & after 17yrs, while the bars are in decent shape, the part of the grilles that sits on the stall wall is looking pretty sad.
Worn down to the metal beneath where the feed openings are.
I hung my water buckets at these openings & suspect bird poop as well as dripping from the hose are responsible for the damage.

Can I sand down to remove the loose chips & remaining paint, then spray or brush paint with Rust-Oleum?

Hey 2 dogs, I didn’t see your post. I’m no expert but here are my two cents from trial and error. Powder coating isn’t really paint but rather a baked on powder so it takes a lot of prep to successfully paint over it. You need to sand the surface of the powder coat anywhere you would like your paint to stick. If you skip this step the new coat is likely to peel where it overlaps the powder coating. On the bare metal once you have removed the rust via your weapon of choice, sanding, wire brush, flappy brush thing etc. use a good primer specific to your metal type… I would use a self etching variety if you are down to clean metal or a rusty metal specific primer if you are not. A metal converter might work too but I would do a test patch for compatibility first before I painted a whole row of gates. Prep until you think your done…then prep some more, then spend more boring time cleaning off all the dust with denatured alcohol before you apply the more satisfying top coat; that seems to give me the best results. Hope this helps a bit even though it’s a dollar short and a day late.

I am now imaging everyone’s barn aisles in a beautiful array of designer colors…

@Raincityrider Thanks for a great detailed post.
However… like @wsmoak this is something I’d have to hire out.
I pretty much suck at even normal painting & prep is not my strongsuit :roll_eyes:

If I had entire stall fronts to refinish and I could find someone to re coat them for me I would go that route too. There are definitely much better ways to spend your time.

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I’d be tempted to get a quote on powder coating…