10 Best Paints for Metal 2017

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a faded wrought iron headboard or a rusty old bicycle that’s been collecting dust in the corner of the barn for the last 20 years.

The key to making that paint job last, however, is by using a paint that will adhere well to metal.

Will the chalk paint that 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 be answering those questions and highlighting some of the best paint for metal surfaces both 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 Table

PictureNameTypePriceRating (1-5)
PictureNameTypePriceRating (1-5)
1. Rust-Oleum 7777730 Protective Enamel Paint, 8-Ounce, Satin BlackOil-Based$$$4.5
2. Krylon RTA9232 'Rust Tough' Silver Metallic Rust Preventive Enamel - 12 oz. Aerosol Spray Enamel$$$4.4
3. Rust-Oleum 7881830 Appliance Enamel 12-Ounce Spray, White Epoxy Spray$4.4
4. Rust-Oleum 7770830 Stops Rust Spray Paint, 12-Ounce, Gloss Almond Spray Paint$4.4
5. Design Master Premium Metallic Spray Paint, 11-Ounce, Rose Gold Spray Paint$4.3
6. Renaissance Chalk Finish Paint - Chalk Furniture & Cabinet Paint Chalk Paint$$$$4.1
7. Krylon K05160207 Colormaster Paint & Primer, Black, Flat, 12 oz Spray Paint + Primer$$$4.0
8. FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Furniture & Craft Paint in Assorted Colors Chalk Paint$$4.0
9. Krylon KSCB004 Short Cuts Brush-On Paint, 1-Ounce, Chrome Enamel Paint$$3.9
10. Diamond Brite Paint 31250 1-Gallon Oil Base All Purpose Enamel Paint Tile Red Oil-Based$$$$3.9

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 make sure 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 are, and they also 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 to it will adhere to the surface and make your paint job last.

Chalk paint is popular for DIY furniture restoration gurus, but it will also adhere to metal surfaces if you prefer to have 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 a variety of factors you need to take into consideration before choosing one.

  • Indoor or Outdoor. Objects that will be exposed to the elements need to be coated in paint that can withstand the 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 rusting.

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 use on indoor metal appliances.

  • Primer. As we mentioned earlier, 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 prime other surfaces, as well?

Priming is always a good idea, but preparation is equally as important which is what we will discuss next.

  • Ferrous Metal vs. Galvanized Metal. Ferrous metal is mostly iron while galvanized metal is either steel or iron that has been coated with a protective layer of zinc; this coating will help prevent it from rusting.

When painting ferrous metal, you need to make sure that you 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 3 Best Paint for Metal Reviews

1. Rust-Oleum 7777730 Protective Enamel Paint

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 out there, and we love that you can use this on both 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 and wood in addition to metal surfaces, and it covers quite well.

Be patient with this paint, as it does take some time to dry.

2. Krylon RTA9232 ‘Rust Tough’ Rust Preventive Enamel

While we do suggest using primer for your projects, we know that not all of you will bother with the extra step, which is why a spray enamel like this is exactly what you need.

It helps prevent rust from forming on metal surfaces without the need for a primer, and it 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 on a regular basis. As a spray enamel, you will also be able to achieve a more even application.

They offer a wide selection of colors and finishes, and we love that it dries to the touch in just 30 minutes. The previous paint takes much longer.

3. Rust-Oleum 7881830 Appliance Enamel

Not just any old paint will do when it comes to coating a refrigerator, washing machine or a dishwasher, and Rust-Oleum knows this!

Their Appliance Epoxy is perfect for indoor appliances that need a facelift, and the great part about it is that you can wash the appliances without having to spray on any additional sealants or finishes.

While the product works well and is durable once applied, the application process can get a bit 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.

For craft projects, this paint won’t be of much use to you, but for appliances or even old dingy bathtubs that could use a fresh coat of color, this stuff works great!

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