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Garden Sculptures & Ornaments Maintenance Guide

Due to the additional elements found outdoors, any item placed in an exterior location will require regular care and maintenance. The level and regularity of care needed will depend largely on the type of metal or material used to create your sculpture as well as your location. For example, aluminium items require less regular maintenance than a cast iron piece, whilst those living nearer the coast will need to increase their maintenance schedule due to the additional salt content in the air. To help you keep your garden sculpture or ornament in “like-new” condition, we have created this detailed guide. To determine the metal or material used to create your product, please see individual descriptions. As a general rule of thumb for all items placed outdoors, the following advice should be followed:

  • Metal products will require additional care and attention when used in close proximity to the sea due to the increase of salt in the atmosphere. The same rule applies to products used within large cities or built-up urban areas due to the increased pollution in the air.
  • Do not use chemical cleaners on any metals or finished products in case they harm the finish or remove any protective coatings. This includes all household cleaners.
  • We advise covering or bringing all garden metalwork indoors during the wetter parts of the year. Particularly during adverse weather conditions such as frost, high winds and snow.

A more comprehensive guide of each material can be found here. If you have any further questions about any of our products or are in doubt about a particular product’s material, please do get in contact via email at sales@blackcountrymetalworks.co.uk or via telephone on 0800 6888 386.

Cast & Wrought Iron Garden Sculptures

Left untreated, cast and wrought iron products will develop a surface rust over time as the outdoor elements react with the metal and cause it to corrode. This does not affect the integrity of the iron and will instead add a beautifully rustic patina finish to the piece. Because of the higher maintenance required to keep iron from taking on this natural patina, iron products are best recommended for those who prefer the aged appearance of the metal. Most of our cast iron products are supplied untreated, unless otherwise stated. For repainting advice please see the ‘Painted Finishes’ section below.

Although incredibly robust, iron is prone to breaking or cracking when dropped or hit with force so please take care when manoeuvring your iron item. We advise bringing iron sculptures indoors during moments of high wind to avoid any damage. 

Steel Garden Sculptures & Ornaments

As steel is prone to rusting, most of our steel sculptures and ornaments have been hand-painted or treated in a protective lacquer to help protect them against the outdoor elements. However, over time, this protective layer will begin to break down as it is exposed to the outdoor elements. To prevent rusting, we recommend a yearly repaint or the application of a universal, clear yacht varnish. Yacht varnishes are available from most good hardware stores and should be applied within the first six months to ensure that the product’s original finish and paintwork is at its best. 

Aluminium Garden Sculptures & Ornaments

As aluminium doesn’t rust in the same way as iron or steel, it requires very little maintenance when placed outdoors. Despite this, any painted finishes or additional affects will still require yearly touch-ups. As with any other outdoor item, we advise bringing your aluminium sculpture or ornament indoors during particularly adverse weather conditions to help preserve the lifespan of any existing finishes. Grime or dirt build-up over time can cause the metal to stain so we do advise regular surface cleans using a damp cloth and mild soap. When handling aluminium products, be wary of sharp objects as the surface of the metal is susceptible to scratching.

Resin Garden Sculptures & Ornaments

Resin, as a material, requires very little maintenance as it will not react with any outdoor elements when placed within an exterior location. However, resin sculptures can develop surface dirt and grime when exposed to the outdoors for long periods of time. To keep your item looking shiny and new, we recommend regular cleaning with a damp cloth and a non-abrasive cleaner such as mild soap or washing up liquid. As with any paint finish, this will require touch-ups or a full repaint when and if required.

Although particularly resistant to moisture, resin is prone to cracking when exposed to frost and ice. It is advised to bring any resin pieces indoors when freezing temperatures are threatened. Resin should also be handled with care when manoeuvring as it is easily breakable if dropped or hit with force.

Wooden Garden Sculptures & Ornaments

Ideally, all wooden items that are placed outdoors should be placed within an under cover area throughout the year. Wooden items or items with wooden elements should always be brought indoors during the colder and wetter seasons of the year as wood is particularly susceptible to rotting and corroding when exposed to water and moisture in the air. Unless otherwise stated, most of our wooden sculptures are treated with a lacquer or varnish to preserve the exterior of the material. This will require annual sanding and re-varnishing using a suitable varnish in order to fully protect your item. 

Hand-Painted Garden Sculptures

For all hand-painted sculptures and ornaments, we recommend a regular paint touch-up as and when is required. In most cases, this touch-up or repaint will only be necessary once a year but, in certain locations, this may be required more regularly. During winter months we also recommend hand-painted sculptures are stored in under cover areas to ensure they are not exposed to the worst of the elements. For the majority of paint touch-ups, we recommend a metal-based paint such as Hammerite which is available from most good hardware stores.

For aluminium items, we do not recommend metal-based paints. Instead, if you are undertaking a full repaint, we advise you to sand down your product using a wire brush followed by three coats of BEDEC Multi-Surface Paint mixed to your desired shade. 

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