Outdoor Touch Ups: How to Paint a Rusty Railing

We've got a split level ranch home so the lower level has a door that exits at a half level below ground to a retaining wall with 4 steps up and a railing.

rusty railing.JPG

You can tell from this view that the railing is quite dull.  Let's take a closer look, though. 

rust rail 1.JPG
rust rail 2.JPG
rust rail 3.JPG

Yeesh- it was in really rough shape.  There were 3 main steps I needed to take to address this issue before another winter with snow and ice took its toll.  (1) Prep the surface, (2) de-rust and (3) paint.

steel wool railing.JPG

I used a GLOVED HAND (so important) with steel wool and rubbed it all over the surface to loosen the flakey paint around the rust. 

rustoleum rust reformer.JPG

For the second step, I used this Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer only on the rusty spots.  It's supposed to make the rusty surface non-rusty. 

spray paint railing.JPG

In order to focus the paint on the intended area and NOT get it all over my concrete patio, I took apart this box I got from Costco and used it as a shield. I then just sprayed all the trouble spots.  I had to let that dry for a little bit before I did the painting step.  Here is how the rusty spots got transformed to before painting. 

de rusted spots 1.JPG
de rusted spots 2.JPG
de rusted spots 3.JPG

It had pretty decent coverage.  When it finished drying, I just used a small pot of exterior semi-gloss black paint to brush paint the railing.  The results! 

finished rail 1.JPG

The rust damaged spots are obviously not smoothed out but they are covered and protected to prevent further damage.  I still need to do something with the chippy paint retaining wall at the base of the rail.  I will chip off as much paint as I can and then repaint with something neutral.  For now, though, it is good to have gotten that done before another winter.