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How to Refurbish a Rusty Wrought Iron Patio Set

coastal decor patio set in floating deck.

It was like three years ago that I scored an old, rusty wrought-iron patio set. I was thinking on updating my backyard so, a free patio set sounded like a good choice, not much money to spend buying furniture and instead I could use said money to give the backyard a good makeover.

Ha, it didn't happen as fast as my mind wanted it! More than three years after I got the set, it still looked that bad or even worse than when I got it, as you can see in the picture below.

ugly patio set

It was only until this year's Patio Style Challenge that I was pushed to give new life to my backyard and the patio set.

Old rusty Metal chair - pieces of paint crackling

The paint treatment on all the chairs was crackling this bad! There were many layers of paint that needed to be removed or at least leveled up.

This is a somewhat economic makeover that requires lots of elbow grease.

I worked one chair at a time, sometimes waiting a couple of weeks in between each chair, so not to get overwhelmed with this project.  It was done and I'm now happy with the beautiful set I ended up with.

The materials:  (Affiliate links for your convenience.)


Safety first: Use gloves, safety glasses and even a respirator mask. Small pieces of paint are going to fly everywhere! Protect your floors and work in a well ventilated area.
how to paint a patio set.

1. Using the scraper, remove all the loose pieces of paint from chairs and table.

how to paint a patio set

2. Using the drill and a wire brush attachment continue the removal of the old paint and rust. This part takes time. But, removing all those loose parts and getting rid of the rust will ensure the new paint treatment will have clean surface to grab from.

removing rust from patio set

This is all the dirt from only one chair.

Once you're done removing all you can remove of the old paint and rust, clean the chair very well. I washed it and let it dry thoroughly before moving onto the next step.

wrought iron set being painted black

3. Use Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer to spray paint the chair. As the product states, a layer of this flat-black coating bonds with rusty metal and instantly transforms it into a non-rusting surface. No need to sand down to bare metal.

4. Spray paint you chair in your color of choice. I used a glossy black finish for all my patio set.

5. Give each of the pieces one or two coats of clear poly for more protection.

removing the legs of a table for painting it

All the chairs and table were painted the exact same way.

Patio set makeover

I removed the table's legs and tried to also remove the glass but it was impossible. I didn't want to brake it.
How to spray paint an old patio set

Here you can see the difference between the primed and painted surfaces.

protecting a glass surface table from being spray painted

In order to protect the glass from being spray painted, I held a piece of cardboard, following the curvature of the table while painting the edge.

metal table painted black

It worked like a charm! :)

Jute rope around patio table - home decor

As a final detail I added jute rope to the edge of the table.

black patio set on floating deck

Ha, who knew it could look this good! It seems like a brand new set. :)

How to get rid of rust and peeling paint on patio furniture

For more Home DIY ideas check these out:

step by step of removing rust

easy way to add crown molding to cabinets

How to economically transform a bathroom

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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  1. Oye! What a project! A tough one --to be sure. The Ryobi drill worked great on the rust. And the Rustoleum paint! WOW.. Looks like new. Your staging is also so fresh and fun. Another great makeover!! Enjoy :-) XO Susie from The Chelsea Project

    1. Power tools always speed up the process, and the rust reformer is really the best defense against rust. I'm loving my new set! 😁

  2. Oh I can't imagine the amount of work you put in! That set was in bad shape but it turned out beautifully! Love the added jute rope detail!

  3. Thanks for showing us how to do this! My parents gave my husband and I a large patio table for our deck (we'll take free any day!) and it desperately needs repainting because the paint is coming off and it just looks terrible-this tutorial made it seem much less daunting!

    xoxo, SS

  4. Love reading your posts, but for some reason just about every time I try to read them, a pop up occurs that makes it practically impossible to read. Wondering if it's your side or mine?

    1. Hmmm thanks for letting me know. I hate pop up ads and don't allow them, but I'm gonna check again just to be sure it isn't on my part. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Wow, the final result is really impressive! Love the sea details.

  6. I have a similar project waiting for me ~ two very rusty wrought iron bar stools. I have been putting off re-finishing them, but you have given me the inspiration I need. Thanks!!

    Susan and Bentley

  7. Wow, what a transformation! Looks great. :)

  8. Wow -what a difference - looks GREAT!

    Please come share your transformation at Reader Tip Tuesday:
    Love the colorful setting too! xo

  9. What a beautiful transformation!

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