How to Refinish Iron Chair?

love_the_yardDecember 16, 2011

There is a gardening blog that I frequent where the writer has a garden chair that I just love. I've been watching Craigslist in the hopes of getting something similar and I recently got lucky! I got the chair in the photo below for $10. Now I need your help to refinish mine so it looks like the one that I love on the blog.

First, here is a link to the chair that I love in the blog. The chair is in the top photo. Brown Iron Garden Chair I would like mine to look just like this one. I asked the writer about her chair and she said that she has not done anything to paint/clean/refinish it - it is exactly as she purchased it. So I have no idea what the finish is.

Here is a photo of the chair that I purchased. It is made of iron and very heavy. It has two layers of old paint. The top coat is black and about half chipped off. Underneath that is a layer of silver paint. Fortunately, there is no rust at all anywhere on the chair:

So what is the best way to get mine to look like the one in the blog? Should I strip the two old layers of black and silver paint off first? I purchased a product called Strypeeze, but I haven't used it yet. It is supposed to remove the paint in about 15-20 minutes. I would do the project on cardboard in the back yard. The instructions on the Strypeeze say after the goo has set for 15-20 minutes and the sludge wiped off, I can scrub the chair down with a stiff brush and rinse it with a hose. I have enough Strypeeze to repeat the process if necessary.

Once the old paint is removed, what is the best paint to use? This chair is definitely going to sit in the yard in the weather. I bought it for that purpose. But I'd like to keep it from turning to rust. I was thinking about using Rustoleum Rusty Metal primer (Click here to see Rusty Metal Primer Spray.) It looks like the exact color that I want. However, I am not sure that will work.

First, my chair doesn't have any rust on it. Can I still use a rusty metal primer spray?

Second, the paint is a primer. Could I use several coats of the primer only? Or does primer require a finishing/top coat?

Many thanks in advance for the help!


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Have it disassembled, sandblasted, and powdercoated.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 10:23AM
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Sombreuil - with an unlimited budget, would have done that. Limited budget, this is a DIYer. :) That's why I was looking for a $10 chair on Craigslist in the first place. :)

I did the first stripping today. Can now tell that the top layer was black paint, then a layer of white paint below that and at the base is silver metal (not silver paint). I took the chair apart after scrubbing. It appears that the entire chair may be aluminum, not iron. Even the bolts and nuts appear to be aluminum. Here are photos. (The photos make it appear white but it is actually silver under that black paint.) I will need to strip it again. Now I'm not sure if I will paint it once it is cleaned up (or if aluminum even requires painting?)

Thanks for any advice for a do-it-yourselfer! :)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 1:54PM
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There are so many colors and textures of Rustoleum. Pick the one you want and go with it. If you like the look of the primer, contact the company and see what they say about a topcoat.
Nice find BTW

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 7:59PM
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From zooming in on the blogpost chair, it almost looks like "red" primer color. There is visible rust on the chair as well.

Aluminum will pit easily if left unfinished, especially if anywhere near salt spray/water.

Check with your local car repair place and see what they would charge you to spray it. Might be less expensive than cans of paint, and much more durable.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 11:05PM
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Touch a magnet to the chair- if it sticks it has to be iron or steel. If it doesn't it can't be.

Rust only happens to iron based metals (iron and steel).

Either way, I'd probably clean it as well as I could, prime it and paint it with several cans of Rustoleum, as mentioned earlier. Aluminum is subject to pitting. It could also be some kind of "pot metal" which would still benefit from a protective coat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pot metal defined

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 10:38PM
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You should be able to tell from the weight alone if it's aluminum, or iron. I understand "heavy" is a relative term. It might have an aluminum coating to protect it.

Looking at the chair in the link I thought it was covered in rust.

With these kind of chairs, they either rust, or are covered in thick paint.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 3:31PM
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