Most amateur do-it-yourself enthusiasts don’t know how to paint metal surfaces and their best efforts tend to produce ugly finishes that ultimately peel away. You cannot paint metal as you would drywall of wood items, because bare metal surfaces will not bond with oil or latex paints. Learn the proper way to generate a lasting finish on metal items, or paint failure will eventually follow.

Priming Metal

Before attempting to paint metal surfaces, such as doors, patio chairs, roofs, cabinets or siding, apply an acid-based metal etching primer. Once the metal surface is primed, it will accept most any type of paint.

Painting Metal

Painting metal is easy once the surface is properly conditioned with an etching primer base. Most amateurs prefer to roll paint over metal surfaces. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to ugly roller marks in the finish. For a slick finish, smooth the wet paint, using a polyester paintbrush.

Spray Painting Metal

Spray painting metal is the only way to ensure a professional-looking finish. Because metal is slick, it will reveal brush strokes and roller marks. Spray cans are well-suited for spray painting smaller metallic items. If you need to paint a large metal surface, rent a spray rig.

Painting Galvanized Metal

Galvanized metal has a layer of zinc that inhibits rust. Fortunately, this layer is not impervious to standard metal-etching primers. Painting galvanized metal is no more difficult than painting any other metal surface, such as steel, wrought iron, aluminum or tin.

Best Paint for Metal Surfaces

Once metallic surfaces are primed, they’ll accept most any paint. There is no best paint for metal surfaces; however, some are better suited for certain types of metal. Paint metal siding with an acrylic latex paint; paint metal furniture and any other surfaces subject to duress, using enamel.


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