It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a faded wrought iron headboard or a rusty old bicycle collecting dust in the corner of the barn for the last 20 years.
However, the key to doing that paint job last is using paint that will adhere well to metal.
Will the chalk paint you use for your weekend furniture refurbishing projects suffice? What kind of spray paint can you use on your bathtub?
In our detailed guide, we will answer those questions and highlight some of the best paint for metal surfaces, indoors and outdoors.
Even if you don’t know much about paint, our simple guide will make it easy for you to find the right products.
Top 10 Paints for Metal Comparison Table
|1. Rust-Oleum 7777502 Protective Enamel Paint||Oil-Based||$$$||4.7|
|2. Krylon RTA9232 'Rust Tough' Silver Metallic Rust Preventive Enamel - 12 oz. Aerosol||Spray Enamel||$$$||4.5|
|3. Rust-Oleum 7881830 Appliance Enamel 12-Ounce Spray, White||Epoxy Spray||$||4.6|
|4. Rust-Oleum 7770830 Stops Rust Spray Paint||Spray Paint||$||4.7|
|5. Design Master Premium Metallic Spray Paint, Rose Gold||Spray Paint||$||4.6|
|6. Renaissance Chalk Finish Paint - Chalk Furniture & Cabinet Paint||Chalk Paint||$$$$||4.6|
|7. Krylon K05160207 Colormaster Paint & Primer, Black, Flat||Spray Paint + Primer||$$$||4.6|
|8. FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Furniture & Craft Paint in Assorted Colors||Chalk Paint||$$||4.6|
|9. Krylon KSCB004 Short Cuts Brush-On Paint, Chrome||Enamel Paint||$$||4.4|
|10. Diamond Brite Paint 31250 1-Gallon Oil Base All Purpose Enamel Paint Tile Red||Oil-Based||$$$$||4.2|
What Type of Paint Can I Use on Metal Surfaces?
Oil-based paint, chalk paint, certain spray paints like colored enamels, and epoxy sprays are usually your best options. However, you should always ensure that the manufacturer states that it will adhere to metal somewhere on the label before making any assumptions.
Many prefer oil-based paints because they are more durable and resistant than latex paints and come in a wide variety of finishes.
Do you want to use acrylic paint? Not a problem. Just be sure that you use an oil-based primer underneath so it will adhere to the surface and do your paint job last.
Chalk paint is popular for DIY furniture restoration gurus, but it will also adhere to metal surfaces if you prefer a more versatile paint that you can use for various craft projects around the home.
How to Ensure You Choose the Right Paint
The best paint for metal varies from project to project, so there are various factors you need to consider before choosing one.
- Indoor or Outdoor. Objects exposed to the elements need to be coated in paint that can withstand harsh weather conditions. From the blazing hot sun to constant rain, a product like Rust-Oleum’s Satin – Smooth Protective Enamel is formulated to resist harsh weather conditions and rust.
Indoors, you have a bit more freedom with the paint you use. Chalk paint, for example, is intended for items that will remain indoors, while the Rust-Oleum Appliance Epoxy is formulated for indoor metal appliances.
- Primer. As we mentioned, using a primer if you want to use acrylic paint for a small craft project or something simple that will remain indoors is important, but should you also prime other surfaces?
Priming is always a good idea, but preparation is equally as important, as we will discuss next.
- Ferrous Metal vs. Galvanized Metal. Ferrous metal is mostly iron, while galvanized metal is either steel or iron coated with a protective layer of zinc; this coating will help prevent it from rusting.
When painting ferrous metal, you must remove all rust and clean the surface thoroughly before priming it.
Galvanized metal should also be cleaned, but since it probably won’t have any rust, you will only need to roughen the surface by sanding, thus creating a surface that the paint can adhere to better.
Top 7 Best Paint for Metal Reviews
Rust-Oleum makes some of the best paint for metal surfaces on the market, and the versatility of this mixture makes it hard to pass up.
As an oil-based formula, it will resist fading, abrasion, and chipping much better than many other formulas. We love that you can use this on indoor and outdoor surfaces.
It is weather-resistant and corrosion-resistant, so if you are painting the latest yard sale find so you can transform it into a funky flower pot for your patio, this paint would be a good choice. You can use it on concrete, wood, and metal surfaces, which covers quite well.
Be patient with this paint, as it does take some time to dry.
While we suggest using a primer for your projects, we know that not all of you will bother with the extra step, which is why a spray enamel-like is exactly what you need.
It helps prevent rust from forming on metal surfaces without needing a primer and also adheres well to metal surfaces on its own.
Krylon recommends using this on things like mailboxes, outdoor furniture, lamp posts, tools, and other similar objects that will be outside regularly. As a spray enamel, you will also be able to achieve a more even application.
They offer a wide selection of colors and finishes; we love that it dries to the touch in 30 minutes. The previous paint takes much longer.
Not just any old paint will do when it comes to coating a refrigerator, washing machine, or dishwasher, and Rust-Oleum knows this!
Their Appliance Epoxy is perfect for indoor appliances that need a facelift. The great part is that you can wash the appliances without spraying on any additional sealants or finishes.
While the product works well and is durable once applied, the application process can get messy since Rust-Oleum doesn’t have the best spray nozzle on the tip.
It tends to spit the liquid out in the beginning, causing paint droplets to land on the surface, which would be quite noticeable if you didn’t wipe them off.
This paint won’t be of much use for craft projects, but for appliances or even old dingy bathtubs that could use a fresh coat of color, this stuff works great!
The Rust-Oleum 7770830 Stops Rust Spray Paint is an enamel and oil paint. It works to increase the resistance of chipping, fading, or abrasion. It is a paint that will dry up completely in about four hours maximum.
Having been manufactured using the oil-based formula, it can offer a protective coating that will resist rusting and will last for a long time.
The paint is weather resistant and will not corrode. It gives a glossy fresh shine look on the applied surfaces.
The Design Master Premium Metallic Spray Paint is a USA-made paint that will provide a couture metallic trend color on the surface. It gives a metallic solid finish. It dries up quickly.
The paint in one pack will cover a large area since it comes in a spray form. This paint is safe for flowers and other organisms on your premises.
It will give a protective coating to the painted surfaces, thus preventing rust formation. This paint does not corrode easily and will give the surface a smooth, fresh shiny gold color.
The Renaissance Chalk Finish Paint provides superior coverage in one or two coats with incredible adhesion. It will give a glossy finish. It will work well for your furniture, offering a perfect new look.
It works well for both the interior and exterior parts with precision and effectiveness. A golden tip to follow when it comes to the interior and exterior parts is to ensure you have used a marine finish topcoat.
This paint dries up within half an hour. Additionally, this paint is safe to use and eco-friendly. It does emit an odor and has an Ultra-low VOC.
The Krylon K05160207 Colormaster Paint fits outdoor and indoor projects, and the results are brilliant. It gives the surfaces a perfect finish that is silky smooth.
This paint will work well on wood, metal, and plastic surfaces. This paint will dry up perfectly in just ten minutes. It is designed with durable Covermax technology giving it a brilliant color and perfect premium coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Enamel Paint for Metal?
Rust-Oleum 7777730 Protective Enamel Paint is a great enamel paint for metal. Its oil-based formula provides a durable, protective, and corrosion-resistant coating.
Do I Need to Prime Metal Before Painting?
Metal surfaces are susceptible to rust. Use a rust-inhibitive primer or rust converter. You don’t want rust to get to the metal surface, or you will have to paint it again.
Depending on the metal surface’s exposure, moisture can easily soak through the primer. Avoid using latex or water-based primers.
How do you Get Paint to Stick to Metal?
Preparing the surface you want to paint is very important. Properly clean the metal surface from dust using a mild detergent solution.
If there is any existing paint that is loose or peeling, remove it. This step can take some time if you do it by hand. Using a power tool can help speed up the process.
Check if the metal surfaces have any rust. If so, remove the loose rust if possible. If not, use a primer to cover up the rust spots.
Cover any holes or dents that exist on the metal surfaces. Use an epoxy-based composite into the hole for small holes and dents.
Use metal primers before painting the metal surfaces. Priming is important to prevent dust or dirt from accumulating on metal surfaces.
Can you Use Acrylic Paint on Metal?
Yes, but prepare the metal surface before painting it. Refer to the answers above for recommendations.
If the metal surface will be placed outside, use two coats of paint. Be sure to wait for the first coat to dry before applying the second one. You can use the same or different colors.
Is Enamel Paint Good for Metal?
Painting metal with enamel provides a durable protective coating. Enamel paint produces a hard, durable finish that stands up extremely well to traffic and wear.
It is best suited for the outdoors that are exposed to severe weather. It is also used indoors in areas with heavy general wear. The high gloss finish makes it easy to clean and resistant to stains.
Finding the best paint for your project can be a daunting task. With so many options on the market, it is hard to know which one will work best for you. We hope our guide has helped you narrow down your choices and find the best paint for your needs.