The way a metal is made makes all the difference when it comes to strength, durability, beauty and longevity. If you’re trying to choose the right metal for your home renovation project — whether you’re looking for a new gate, balustrade, fence or security door — this guide is for you. We explore the differences between wrought iron and cast iron, and outline the benefits of wrought iron for a custom project.
What Is The Difference Between Wrought Iron and Cast Iron?
What is the difference between wrought iron, steel and cast iron? The major difference lies in how they are produced. Different methods of production create metals suitable for different purposes, with unique strengths and weaknesses. Let’s start by defining what wrought iron, steel and cast iron are and how they are made.
What Is Wrought Iron?
A highly skilled artisan blacksmith crafts wrought iron by heating iron and working it with a hammer to shape into its final form. Wrought iron, a very old form of malleable iron, was extensively used in centuries past.
Traditionally, wrought iron was forged from an ingot and shaped with an anvil. This malleable but strong metal boasts a very low carbon content (less than 0.08%). Most true wrought-iron pieces today are either antiques or a specialty pieces that have been smithed by local artisans.
What Is Cast Iron?
Cast iron is an iron alloy that contains 2 to 4% carbon, plus small amounts of silicon, manganese, sulfur and phosphorous. Cast iron is formed by smelting iron ore or melting pig iron and mixing in scrap metals and other alloys, pouring the liquid mixture into moulds, and allowing them to cool and solidify.
Wrought Iron vs Cast Iron
Composed primarily of iron with a 1-2% mix of silicon, sulfur, phosphorous, and aluminum oxides, wrought iron is softer and more ductile than cast iron. Cast iron is more likely to fracture and break.
Wrought iron becomes stronger the more it is worked and offers a much higher tensile strength than cast iron. Compared to wrought iron or steel, cast iron is brittle, hard, and non-malleable — likely to fracture before it bends or distorts.
Due to its weakness, cast iron cannot be worked, shaped, stretched, curved or hammered into shape like wrought iron. While cast iron comes in a limited range of designs, wrought iron is hand-forged and can be customised to reflect any desired aesthetic. While handcrafting wrought iron is a slower, more labour-intensive process than manufacturing cast iron, it results in a superior product.
Wrought iron and cast iron are both vulnerable to rust and corrosion. Unless they have a protective coating, the iron will rust and flake if exposed to oxygen and moisture. This corrosion most often occurs in outdoor environments with frequent exposure to rain or high levels of humidity. Ideally, iron should be coated with paint or powder coating to prevent rust.
Benefits Of Wrought Iron
Wrought iron is practical, bespoke and timeless. Here are some of the reasons why people choose wrought iron:
Longevity and easy maintenance
Wrought iron is extremely durable, long-lasting and requires low maintenance. Wrought iron that is well-maintained will stand the test of time, enduring all the elements, and can last for generations. If you use high-quality paints and perform paint touch-ups once every ten to fifteen years, your wrought iron will be resistant to rust. Consider powder coating your wrought iron, as this kind of protection will last much longer than regular paint.
Strength and security
When you’re looking for a strong, reliable material, wrought iron is the ideal choice. Due to its composition, wrought iron is able to withstand a great deal of physical stress and pressure without becoming damaged or broken. Wrought iron’s impressive durability and robustness make it ideal for protecting your home with fences, security doors, gates and balustrades.
Creativity and individuality
Wrought iron comes in a variety of designs, so you have the freedom to select or have one custom-crafted to suit your home’s theme and style.
From sleek, contemporary minimalism to ornate, graceful designs to organic forms inspired by nature, wrought iron is known for its visual beauty. Wrought iron can be hand-crafted into any shape or design to create a statement piece, whether that means a sweeping balustrade, a gorgeous spiral staircase, a security door to protect your home, or a stunning fence that enhances your property’s street appeal. As a result, wrought iron is the best choice if you would like to express your individuality through a custom design.
Since wrought iron is easy to recycle or repurpose if it’s broken or replaced, wrought iron is a ‘green choice’ for your home.
Wrought iron is a “green” choice for your home, since it’s easy to recycle or repurpose if it’s broken or replaced. Wrought iron is extremely durable and long-lasting.
Hiring A Wrought Iron Specialist
Because wrought iron is a specialist trade that requires a high level of artisan craftsmanship and custom work, it’s important to do your research before hiring someone.
To ensure you are hiring a quality wrought iron specialist, we recommend asking potential hires the following questions:
- Can I view your portfolio and samples of your work?
- Do you have references I can contact?
- How long have you been working with wrought iron?
- Where did you receive your training?
- Do you have customer testimonials?
- What is the process of working with you to create a custom design?
Finally, we recommend exploring the business’ social media for evidence of the quality of their workmanship. Look for photos and examples of their designs online and read customer reviews.
Let us introduce you to some of the many benefits of wrought iron. Contact the experts at Dean-Wilson Iron on 3814 0076.