Painting most certainly deserves its own page, its a big part of any piece of ironwork, unless of course i have agreed to supply it, in an unpainted condition. “Supplied painted” well what does that mean, obviously it means it has a coat of paint on it. But there are a multitude of paints all varying in quality and cost. Does it means its had some cheap paint sprayed over it and its job done. Or does it mean it has been multi coated with various rust proofing paints. It doesn’t say, it just says supplied painted, well thanks for the lack of information. So i am going to describe what i do for paint finish in a bit of detail. This at least allows you to know what you are getting for your money.
Economy paint finish.
As its an economy paint finish, on a cheaper set of gates or railings lets be honest its not going to be premium paint costing £40 a ltr. But it still needs to be of a good quality. so that it lasts.
First coat is a primer, this is a zinc phosphate primer. The zinc in the paint helps provide protection and is certainly a big step up from basic primers.. The gate or railing will be hung so that it can be sprayed. once sprayed its left to dry for a few hours (2 coats of primer with about 60 mins between coasts). Then it is turned over and hung the other way and repainted. This just makes sure the bits, that were underneath are now on top. so that they get a good coating. if you don’t turn it then you wont get it fully painted on the underneath. leave for 24hrs at least. for the primer to fully dry, whilst the surface may seem dry. below the surface will still be soft, the thicker the coating the longer it takes.. So always wise to give it plenty of time.
Then its repeat again with the top coat. This time making sure the railing is upside down for the first coat. Two coats upside down with 60 mins between coats then 24hrs to dry. (primer is usually quicker drying than top coat) turn over the right way and repeat two coats.. making sure with the last coat you cover as much as possible of the underneath. A very simple reason for this, because when spraying it leaves a dry edge. That is where dry gloss paint gets partially over painted with fresh and leave a line or area with over spray from the fresh paint. In short it leaves a dull streak. hence why you cover all on the last coat and any “Dull” streaks will be underneath where they cant be seen.
Made to measure Paint finish
Because the made to measure gates are usually built to a higher standard than the economy ones, the paint really should match the build quality. The process is very similar but the quality of paint is better.
First coat on these is an Acid etch primer. Literally as the name suggest it uses an acid base that will etch into the metal, providing an excellent start for any paint finish. Depending on which brand i am using its either a yellow or red oxide type colour.. One coat, one way then flip over and coat the other way with about 30 min drying time between each coat. Leave to fully dry for an hour or so and the first of the primer coats can be applied. For the primer we use an automotive filler primer. This is a 2 pack product, in other words it has a chemical hardener. So if left in the spray gun to long it goes hard all by its self. Two thick passes one way leave to dry 30 mins, carefully turn over and two coats the other way. Leave to dry until next day. Then get some fine sand paper and give a light rubbing down. This provides a good key for the second coat but also rubs out some of the imperfections in the steel, flattening it out. Then repeat the process again with the filler primer. Before finally painting with the top coat, same process as the economy metal work top coat, but a higher quality much more expensive paint.. Then leave to dry for a few days before, making contact and saying your ” gate” is ready..
The difference in cost between the two paint finish is quite big. If you take a single garden gate, i would estimate the cost of the paint. not labour is about £10 for economy finish and about £25 for the made to measure finish at current prices 01/06/2023