6 Things You Should Before Painting Metal

Person painting a metal fence with a small brush.

Whether it’s furniture, hardware for doors or drawers, or a piece that you plan to add to your home décor, you might find yourself preparing to paint some piece of metal around your house. Although many people are familiar with painting walls or wood, painting metal can be a bit of a challenge if you don’t take the necessary steps before you start.  

To help make your paint project a success, we’ve assembled a list of the 6 things you should know before you start painting metal. So before you wet your brush with paint, let’s dip into what you need to do first. 

1- Prep Rusted Metal 

  • If that metal chair you’re painting has been sitting outside too long or you bought some new drawer pulls from an antique store that you want to refurbish, you may be dealing with metal that has rusted. First, check to make sure the rust is only on the surface: If the rust has penetrated the metal, there could be structural issues that may make painting a lost cause. 
  • If you demine the metal is structurally sound, sand and scrape off any surface rust: This will provide a smooth surface and help your paint adhere better to the metal. 
  • Primer: The last major step when dealing with rusted metal is to use a primer (some paints include a primer which reduces the number of steps). After sanding, primer will help the paint adhere to the metal better, and minimize any discoloration caused by the rust or a previous color. 

2 - Clean Your Metal 

  • This is an important step if you’re painting something that has been sitting outside for a while and become rusty. However, rust isn’t the only thing that could affect how well the paint adheres to the metal. Dirt, dust, grime, and other pollutants can affect the surface of the metal and make paint bubble, blister, flake, or dry unevenly. For the best results, clean the surface thoroughly with a damp cloth or soft metal brush. If you use a metal brush, be sure to wipe the surface after to remove any dust particles.  

3 - Prep Galvanized Metal 

  • Galvanized metal is a different situation. Galvanized metal has a layer of oil on its surface that helps prevent rust, but it also makes it harder for your paint to stick. Clean galvanized metal with a warm soapy solution and let it dry before trying to apply any primer and/or paint. 

4 - Use Metal Paint 

  • Maybe you recently painted a room in your house, have some paint left over and are planning to repaint those metal deck chairs with the extra paint. Unfortunately, you probably wouldn’t be able to use the same paint and here’s why: A metal surface is very different from wood or drywall (which are much smoother). Therefore, you should use a paint or spray paint specifically design for metal. This will save you time, effort, and produce better overall results the first time. 

5 - Spray Paint for Metal 

  • You’ll not only want to make sure you are using a paint that is specifically design for metal, you’ll also have to decide between using traditional paint (from a can) or spray paint. Spray paint offers some major advantages. When properly applied the spray provides a more even coat, especially when dealing with an uneven surface or metal piece that has a lot of detail.  

Related Topic: Want to Spray Paint Perfectly? Avoid These Mistakes 

6 - Take Your Time 

  • After it’s all said and done, patience is the key to many successful paint projects. Since several steps may involve waiting, especially if you’re painting a galvanized surface. You may need to wash the surface, let it dry, prime it, let dry, then paint it and let dry. This all takes time. Letting the appropriate amounts of time pass is important to the overall quality of your project, and will ultimately determine its success. 

Time to Paint  

As is true with many projects understanding what you need to do to make the project a success is just as important as the actual work. Now that you know the 6 things you need to do to make painting metal a success, it’s time to get started!  

If you need help with your bigger painting projects, contact your local paint pros at Five Star Painting. We have the experience, expertise and tools to give the interior or exterior of your home a fresh, new look. To learn more, give us a call at (888) 261-3633 or request a free estimate online