Home Decorating Tips

Paint for Metal: Proper Application

metal paint application guide and technique

Home Decorating Tips

Paint for Metal: Proper Application

Posted on September 18, 2015

Just like how wooden furniture needs refurbishing from time to time, metal parts of your house such as a gate, a roof vent, or a fence on your yard needs repainting too. A couple of well-applied coats should not only freshen up your fixtures’ look, but should also reinforce and protect your substrate from environmental factors that weaken metal.

So, gather up your materials, the right paint for metal, and let’s get to painting!


Repainting metal surfaces is a lot similar to painting concrete or wood. It is important to understand however that metal has a different makeup than those of wood and concrete. There are two kinds: ferrous (with iron) and non-ferrous (without iron). It is important to establish where the metal you’re dealing with falls into, as this should be a deciding factor in what specific type of paint for metal to go for.

A simple trick to find out if your metal is ferrous or non-ferrous is to use a magnet. If it’s ferrous, the magnet should stick to any part of the surface. A clear indication that your surface is not ferrous is when nothing happens.


True to any paint job, surface preparation is key.

  • If you’re tackling metal with a surface that has been previously painted, sand or use a wire brush to completely remove the old paint and rust off of it.
  • Apply metal primer that suits the type of metal you’re dealing with.

Although some professionals advise on skipping the primer step with prepainted substrates, pushing through with it ensures that your paint for metal adheres well and lasts longer than normal.

Basic chemistry tells us that ferrous metals rust and corrode. Stainless steel has a layer of oxide that makes it material counters stains, rust and what have you. It should follow that the kind of primer that’s best for a paint job involving ferrous metal or iron is one with oxide. Island Metal Primer Red Oxide factors in time and ease of application with an anti-corrosion formula enhanced with improved penetration and surface wetting.

Island Metal Primer Red Lead offers full protection with added sturdiness and durability. The name might limit it to being paint for metal, but did you know that red lead is also considered as a reliable coating for wood boats?


Prepping your surface gets a bulk of the work out of the way. Now all you need to do is to apply two finishing coats and wait for it to dry.

While there is no special stroke or any technique when it comes to painting metal substrates, there is definitely the right kind of paint to use for the paint job. Sources agree that the best paint for metal is oil-based. Why? It’s easy to clean, it’s durable, doubles your primer’s stain-resisting quality, and easily covers surface imperfections.

Need to know more tips for painting metal? Send us a query!

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