Care & Maintenance of Metal Products

Care instructions for Powder Coated Items

A lot of thought, effort and care is put into designing and making your products. So taking care of them once they are coated will help to keep them looking good.  Over time exposure to the elements may begin to show, for example with loss of gloss, chalking and sometimes a slight color change. A  simple regular clean will minimize the effects of weathering and will remove dirt, grime and other build-up, which is detrimental to all powder coatings.

The environment your item is in will dictate how often you need to clean it. In many environments high corrosivity levels, such as industrial or marine, normal cleaning frequency should be at a minimum of six monthly intervals. Sheltered areas can be more at risk of coating degradation than exposed areas. This is because wind-blown salt and other pollutants, e.g. bird poo, may adhere to the surface and will not be cleaned away with rainfall. These areas should be inspected and cleaned if necessary on a more regular basis.

Where the environment is less hazardous, e.g. rural or ‘normal’ urban environments, then the period between cleaning can be extended up to 12 months. To clean your powder coated item:

  1. Use a solution of warm water and nonabrasive, pH neutral detergent solution.(If you have to wear gloves then the solution is too harsh).
  2. Surfaces should be thoroughly rinsed after cleaning to remove all residues.
  3. All surfaces should be cleaned using a soft cloth, sponge or a soft natural bristle brush.
  4. Cleaning of powder coated sections can be conveniently carried out at the same time as window cleaning.

To download Interpon Powder coatings maintenance and care instructions CLICK HERE.

Touching up Powder Coating

Sometimes powder coated gates may develop chips or rubs with daily wear and tear. We hope these instructions help to keep your item looking new:

  1. First off, buy a good quality touch-up powder coat paint in the same colour as your item and read the application instruction on the can as they do vary from make to make. Water based paints are NOT suitable and if in doubt ask the paint shop for their recommendation.
  2. Set the gate up in a well lighted position away from anything that you don’t want to get overspray on.
  3. Carefully wipe over the damaged areas with a clean cloth to remove any dust.
  4. DO NOT wipe the item down with any solvent or thinners as these will dissolve the powder coat and make a mess of the finish
  5. If there are chips of powder coat attached to the gate then carefully flake these off so they don’t come loose later.
  6. Follow the instructions on the can. Usually to spray from about a 30cm distance and give the area several light coats of paint, allowing time between for drying, to gradually build up a layer of paint. Several light coats are better than trying to cover the whole area thickly and getting runs. Patience is necessary as sometimes it may take a couple of hours and up to ten light coats before the area blends with the original coating and the damage becomes less noticeable.
  7. Allow the paint to dry completely and then the gate should be ready for mounting.

Care instructions for unpainted Pre-Galvanised pipe products

Unpainted pipe garden arches, and pipe and mesh gates are manufactured from pre-galvanised materials. These products should be fairly resistant to environmental hazards, however the welds and any ornamentation made from non galvanised steel, e.g. the wrought iron top on the Victorian gates, will be prone to rust break through. The heat from the welding process breaks down galvanising in these areas. Generally the scrolls on our mesh and scroll gates (cyclone reproduction gates) are made from stainless steel however if the gates are in a corrosive atmostphere, e.g. coastal regions, they may be affected. We recommend that you follow the cleaning schedule under the powder coating heading to remove build up of corrosive dirt and grime.

Rust prone areas are coated with a zinc rich paint prior to shipping. However, depending on the environment that they’re in they may develop rust fairly quickly in these vulnerable spots. Although this won’t affect the structural integrity of your item, the rust breakthrough bothers some people. If you find it bothers you we recommend a light spray of a zinc rich paint such as ‘Cold Galv’. How often this is applied depends on the environment in which you live. Some areas may require a coat or two be applied, say 3 monthly. In other areas you can leave it for as long as you wish.

If it continues to be a problem we recommend the item be powder coated which will give you a more resistant finish. (Please note powder coating does not ‘rust proof’ your item).

Care instructions for Rusty Items

Rust is the natural oxidisation of iron in steel. Corten steel will develop a stabilised surface of rust, but mild steel will continue to deteriorate unless the surface is protected from further exposure to the elements and environment. Some running of rust may occur in wet weather, staining paving or other adjacent items.

To slow this down, we recommend some maintenance. The simplest is to brush or spray on a coat of Penetrol every 6-12 months. Penetrol can be purchased from any hardware store. Please read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Harsh weather conditions, e.g. coastal areas will require more frequent applications of Penetrol – perhaps up to 3 monthly. Because rusting may be an intended feature of a selected design, we do not take any responsibility for damage that may arise as a result of rust development.

For newly made steel items we suggest that you:

  1. Leave your item out to weather till it reaches the patina you’re after
  2. Lightly rub off the really loose rust using fine steel wool. Don’t polish it to bare steel but leave it so it still has a lovely aged and rusty patina.
  3. Using a soft brush, apply Penetrol generously (or use the spray can). Make sure the oil flows into:
    1. all the nooks and crannies.
    2. the underside of the gate or item you’re sealing.
    3. Any areas where water may sit, e.g. on the low point of scrolls, bottom bars, horizontal surfaces, etc.
  4. Seal it with at least two coats of Penetrol.
  5. Make sure you dispose of your rags carefully as Penetrol is highly flammable.

For general maintenance just start from step 3.