How to

How to paint metal surfaces

Has the metal around your home seen better days and lost its lustre? It’s easy to spruce up tired wrought iron furniture or metal balustrading with paint. But before you start wielding a brush or roller, important prep work needs to happen at the outset.

Resene paint expert Bryce McDermott advises cleaning your metal thoroughly first. “Give it a good water blast to make sure you get rid of all dirt and dust. Then machine-tool it to get rid of any rust that may be there. Use a grinder or a small angle grinder with a wire-brush attachment,” Bryce says. “You can also buy soft 3M grinding disks that are not too severe on the surface and will bring it back to a nice shiny metal without damaging it.”

Sanding dust can be harmful, so remember to always use protective equipment, including a mask and eye protection.

Once you have removed rust, dust the metal surfaces thoroughly and immediately spot prime with Resene ArmourX GP Metal Primer.

Prep your surface by removing old paint or rust, then wipe away the dust.
Apply a coat of Resene ArmourX GP Metal Primer to protect your surfaces, before finishing with your chosen Resene paint colour.

Once the primer is dry, you can recoat metal with standard Resene acrylic paint. “Or you could use a waterborne enamel,” Bryce says. “Resene Enamacryl is a gloss waterborne enamel that will give a nice, shiny surface, but you could use Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel for a lower sheen.”

When it comes to repainting metal garage doors, if there appears to be considerable film corrosion of the zinc base metal, you will need to remove all of the colour coating to expose the base metal for painting. Resene paint expert Jeff Jurlina advises, “This is best accomplished using a 3M Rust and Paint Removal Disc. Then apply two coats of Resene ArmourX GP Metal Primer and finish with two coats of any Resene exterior acrylic paint, such as Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss waterborne paint.”

If you’re looking to refresh old metal fretwork or ornate cast-iron furniture with a surface that’s tricky to prep thoroughly, it’s essential to use a good primer. Resene ArmourX Rust-Arrest anti-corrosive primer can be used on cast iron, rusted steel, steel sash windows, and wrought iron. After the primer is dry, topcoat with Resene Super Gloss in your chosen colour.

For a paint system to use on interior powder coated metal, Jeff recommends first using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner to make sure surfaces are clean and free from grease. Pay special attention to hand-contact areas.

Then apply a thin coat of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer and allow to cure without water contact for at least 48 hours. Lastly, apply two coats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen or Resene Lustacryl.

“The new paint system will take five days to develop good initial adhesion and continue to cure for an additional three weeks until full cure occurs,” Jeff advises.

In all cases, allow paint to dry as thoroughly as possible before you handle your fresh metal surfaces.

There is a huge range of metal surfaces inside and out that can be rejuvenated with paint. Ask your local Resene ColorShop team for advice for your project, or fill in the Resene Ask a Paint Expert form for free advice direct to your inbox.

How much paint will you need?

If you change data entered into the fields below, ensure you press the calculate button again to re-run the equations and get the new answers.
Calculated result: 0 Litres in total
To find the spreading rate of your Resene product, click here.
NB: Porous surfaces and shapes (ie corrugated iron) will require more paint.

About MasterStroke by Resene
MasterStroke by Resene is here to help you master your paint and decorating DIY projects. Brush up on your skills with advice, tips and ideas from our trusted experts.

Check out the latest how-to videos on our YouTube channel.