Sealing rusty nail heads on fence.

Questions & AnswersCategory: Fence Painting and Staining QuestionsSealing rusty nail heads on fence.
Sean Staff asked 4 years ago

I have a picket fence made from pressure treated lumber. The pickets are fastened to the rails with galvanized finish nails set flush to slightly below the surface and unfilled. Furthermore, the fence is about 8 years old and finished with SW solid white stain. The problem at this point is that each nail head (4 per picket) has left a rust spot with a stain surrounding each head. The surrounding stain can be cleaned with a scuff pad but the stain returns.

I plan to restain this spring. Should I: clean, seal and stain or set and fill the holes, seal and stain. Before filling should I seal the nail heads? If so should I use basic wood filler; Bondo, paintable silicone or urethane caulk? I live in NY and am planning on using SW solid acrylic stain again. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please include specifics like oil, shellac, or latex, along with recommended products and order of operations. Thanks in advanced.

2 Answers
MagicDave Staff answered 7 years ago

Galvanized nails shouldn't rust, but if so… first clean off the rust on each nail head with a scraper and sand paper, then coat each with an exterior oil base stain killer… applied with a small brush… after drying, take some oil base exterior paint that closely matches the rest of your fence stain and paint each nail head… since you say they are flush to the surface, no need to set them… let them dry over night…

Finally restain the fence, going over the nail heads as you do…

JayLouis answered 1 year ago

The best way to deal with rusted nail heads is to remove them. The rust is not usually just on the surface of the nail head but also underneath. Use the drill bit from Nail Head Gone which is quick and easy and then if needed install another nail that is stainless. 

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