Iron Fence vs. Aluminum Fence – Which Requires Less Maintenance?

One of the first questions folks have when purchasing something for the outside their house is “how well is this going to hold up to the elements and how often is it going to require maintenance from me?”.  This comes up often with fence since you get into painting, staining and general upkeep for something you plan to have in your yard for decades to come.  So when it comes to iron and aluminum fence, does one require more maintenance than the other?  The answer may surprise you!

Which requires more maintenance - iron fence or aluminum fence?
Which requires more maintenance – iron fence or aluminum fence?

Let’s not beat around the bush.  If you are thinking of buying an iron fence or aluminum fence, you are probably worrying about the ‘R-word’…RUST!

Peeling Finish on a Non-Galvanized Iron Fence
Peeling Finish on a Non-Galvanized Iron Fence

Many of you have probably had a run in with a poorly finished product that looked like the above picture after only a season or two outside.  We don’t want your fence to look like that anymore than you do!  So let’s look at aluminum and iron fence individually and see where they both stand in terms of maintenance.

Aluminum Fence

We’ll start with aluminum fence. Our Infinity Aluminum® fences and gates cannot rust. If you scrape the finish down to bare metal on an aluminum fence and leave it exposed, it will not rust and spread like it does on steel and iron.  Aluminum fence is often referred to as “maintenance-free” fencing.  Even though aluminum cannot rust, we suggest the same maintenance for it as iron. Inspect your fence and gates every year for any scrapes or scuffs and touch them up.  While the exposed aluminum fence will not rust or degrade, not touching up an exposed section could lead to water getting behind the finish and expanding the spot.

Iron Fence 

While our Infinity Aluminum cannot rust, I don’t want to give you the impression that our Stronghold Iron fencing and gates will rust and need re-painting all the time either. We go the extra mile to protect our iron fence and gates from rusting by hot-dip galvanizing the bare metal with a protective zinc coating before we apply the final powder coat finish.  Our iron fence finish is also part of our 25yr warranty for our Stronghold Iron® line of products.

Fence Materials Being Hot Dip Galvanized in Molten Zinc
Fence Materials Being Hot Dip Galvanized in Molten Zinc

I tell folks that our iron products should be thought of in the same manor as the hood of your car. If you get a rock chip in your car hood to bare metal, it will rust. However, if you touch it up before it spreads too far, there is no long-term harm. Our iron fence and gates are the same way. If you scrape or scuff them to bare metal, just be sure to touch them up. A little rust will not hurt the fence and it would take decades of neglect to actually compromise the iron fence or gate.

While we do offer a 25 year warranty on our Stronghold Iron® products, I can proudly say that in the almost 7 years I have worked here, we have yet to get one warranty claim for issues on our iron fence (or aluminum fence for that matter!).

In Conclusion…

So which requires more maintenance?  Iron fence does require a little more upkeep than aluminum fence, but only by the slightest margin.  The only time you will need to worry about maintenance on either fence is when its scraped or scratched down to bare metal.  The finish we put on both fences will withstand decades of abuse from the elements without a need for refinishing or repainting.  I tell folks that the best maintenance schedule for our fences is to touch up any deep scratches/ scuffs to bare metal when they see them, but you could really get away with walking the fence line once a year to look for any spots and touching them up then.

So don’t be afraid to go with one of our Stronghold Iron® products for fear of rust and constant touch-up and maintenance!  It won’t be required.  Got any other questions about maintenance on our fences or gates?  Give us a call at 80-261-2729 or shoot an email to [email protected].  We’re here to help!

A Picture of JasonAuthorJason

I've been working in the fence industry since 2009 with a wide array of installation, sales and marketing experience. I've had lots of experience with different types of iron and aluminum fence and gate installations. Generally a 'DIY' kind of guy when it comes to a wide array of projects.

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