How to Prep Metal Surfaces for Painting

Metals are all around us. They’re used for everything from jewellery to handrails and cars. If you’re new to painting, you’d probably think you can just apply paint as needed on a metal surface. But the truth is, it needs to be readied first—cleaned, primed, etc.

Later on, you’ll need to apply metal top coat paint to give it a more pleasant finish and added protection from wear and tear. But before that, here are some things you should do before applying any kind of paint on a metal surface:

  1. Clean the metal surface – You need to remove any dirt and grease from the surface so you have a clean base for your primer. Use Trisodium phosphate (TSP) or other strong detergents to get rid of grease and oil. You may also use an abrasive pad like steel wool if there is heavy rust on the metal.
  1. Sand the metal surface – This will give you a rougher surface that can hold onto paint better than smooth surfaces do, especially in areas where moisture might be present, such as welds or rivets. If your metal piece has sharp edges, then consider using sandpaper with very fine grit (like 220). Otherwise, regular wet dry sandpaper should work great. Wipe off all dust before applying primer.
  1. Repair any cracks – You want to repair any cracks so they are not filled with primer. Sometimes it is possible to fill the crack with a metal putty that will match your paint colour. But if you can’t, then use an epoxy or wood filler before painting on the metal surface.
  1. Apply metal primer – When it comes time to apply your top coat paint, you need to 

ensure that the metal surface is completely flat and free of any oil or rust. For this, you’ll need to apply a thin coat of primer directly on top of your cleaned metal surface. Make sure not to miss any areas (you may want to use painter’s tape if there are sharp edges).

The primer can be used for bare metals like steel, iron, copper, etc. as well as painted surfaces with lead paint (make sure it is labeled safe for this type of application before using it!).

  1. Allow metal primer to dry – Let the primer set up according to the manufacturer’s guidelines before continuing onto the next step. This is crucial because if you put another layer over primed metal, then some adhesion problems will occur due to the lack of bonding between coats. Don’t rush things here!

Once the primer has dried, you can apply your metal top coat paint. Make sure to get good coverage on all surfaces and use multiple thin coats rather than one thick layer of paint. This will help prevent dripping or run marks in your final project!

As you can see, there are important things to do before painting a metal surface. If you don’t know them, it can be tempting to just paint without thinking about what the consequences might be!