5 Things to Know Before Painting Metal

calander Jun 15 , 2020 user-icon Nash Painting

Wood is often at the center of painting discussions, mainly because it’s one of the most common construction and finishing materials. However, homes, buildings, and other features can be made of so much more. Metal, for instance, can be found in and outside most properties. And while some might leave their metal bare, others might wish to coat it for aesthetic and/or protective reasons. If your house exterior or interior features metal surfaces that you wish to paint, here are five things to know before you get started.

1. As Always, Prepare the Surface

Properly painting metal requires the same preparation strategies used for painting any other material. That is to say, a brand new, bare metal surface should be gently cleaned and sanded before painting. Older and/or previously painted metal necessitates additional effort to ensure the best results. Namely, the surface should be thoroughly cleaned, either via manual scrubbing with a wire brush or via pressure washer. Any old, loose paint must also be removed from the surface with the aid of a sanding tool. It’s okay for some old paint to remain on the surface, as long as the surface is clean and smooth (and therefore receptive to a new coating).

2. You Must Remove Loose Rust

One of the major differences between metal and other materials like wood or masonry is that metal oxidizes (rusts). This process results from a chemical reaction between oxygen and water (including moisture in the air). Once present, rust can be difficult to remove, but in the process of cleaning and sanding the surface, any loose rust should fall away. It’s important to remove as much rust as possible -- otherwise, your paint will have trouble sticking to the metal. You can paint over more stubborn rust, so long as it is still surface-level. If the rust has gone deeper and begun to eat away the metal, you will have to make repairs or replacements.

3. Prime Properly

Primer is important for most interior and exterior home painting projects, and painting metal is no exception. However, you must ensure that the primer you use is made for metal in particular -- and the right type of metal at that. Fortunately, most metal primers are labeled as such. Ideally, the primer you use for metal should be oil-based and designed to prevent rust and corrosion, guard against moisture, and facilitate strong paint adhesion.

4. Use the Right Type of Paint

Just as you must choose the right primer for the job, the type of paint you use matters, too. Generally speaking, oil-based exterior house paint is the way to go (except for galvanized metal surfaces), providing a more durable, water-resistant coat with fewer fumes and faster dry times. Better yet, look for a product with built-in fade protection and extra heat-resistance, especially if you’re painting a surface that regularly experiences high temperatures (i.e. a grill, radiator, etc.).

5. Seal the Deal

Lastly, it’s often a good idea (though optional) to complete your metal painting project with a final coat of lacquer sealant. While the primer and paint will work to protect the metal surface, this additional layer adds one more protective element while also enhancing the look of your metal surfaces with a strong shine.

Just like every other building material, metal has its pros and cons. And if you want to get the most out of your metal features, you’ll want to coat them the right way. If you need assistance in these efforts, professional local painters can help. The experts at Nash Painting have plenty of experience painting all types of metal surfaces for homes and businesses alike. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!