Bowers Industrial

What Type of Paint to Use on Metal?

When it comes to painting metal objects, choosing the right type of paint is important to obtain a long-lasting, attractive finish. Understanding the various types of paint for metal and their properties will help you make an informed choice whether you’re working on a DIY (do it yourself) project or giving a professional job. In this guide, we’ll explore the different options available and provide recommendations to ensure your metal surfaces remain protected and visually appealing for years to come.

Types of Metal Paint

Acrylic Paint: It sticks well to different surfaces, dries quickly and offers excellent durability. Acrylic paints have different types, some specially made for metal. They come in solvent-based and water-based types.

Oil-Based Paint: Oil-based paints are the best choice for metal surfaces. They stick well and last a long time providing a strong shield against moisture and rough weather. But here’s the thing, using oil-based paints means you need proper ventilation and have to clean up with mineral spirits. Just remember, they might need a bit more time to dry compared to some other choices.

Epoxy Paint: If you have a metal surface that is in for some serious action like facing heavy use and dealing with chemicals then an epoxy paint is the way to go. It’s like a superhero suit for metal! When you apply epoxy paint, it transforms your metal into a tough, shiny shield that says ‘no’ to corrosion, abrasion and chemical harm. This stuff is the go-to choice in the industrial and automotive worlds when it’s all about staying strong. It’s like a shield for your metal, ensuring it stays resilient and looks good despite the toughest challenges.

High-Temperature Paint: High-temperature paint is necessary when painting metal surfaces that are subjected to high temperatures, such as grills, fireplaces, or exhaust pipes. High temperatures won’t harm this type of paint and it won’t peel or crack either. It is often provided in spray cans for simple application. Therefore, to keep things looking sharp and well-protected, check out our high temperature and heat resistant coatings for all your needs involving heat-exposed metal.

Metallic Paint: If you want to add a decorative touch to your metal surfaces, metallic paint is an excellent choice. It contains metallic pigments that create a shimmering, reflective finish. Metallic paints are often used for ornamental pieces, artistic projects and automotive customization. They come in various metallic shades, allowing you to achieve a unique look.

Primer: Before applying any type of paint to metal, it’s essential to use a suitable primer. Primer promotes better adhesion and helps prevent issues like rust and peeling. There are primers specifically designed for metal surfaces such as rust-inhibiting primers and self-etching primers.

Rust-Oleum: Rust-Oleum is a well-known brand that specializes in rust-preventative paints. These paints are formulated to inhibit rust formation on metal surfaces making them ideal for protecting and beautifying items like outdoor furniture, fences and metal tools. Rust-Oleum paints are available in various finishes, including matte, glossy and metallic.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Metal Paint

Surface Preparation: Proper surface preparation is the key to a successful metal painting project. Ensure the metal surface is clean, dry, free from rust, grease and other contaminants. Sanding or wire brushing may be necessary to remove loose paint and rust.

Environment and Use: Consider the environment in which the painted metal will be placed and how it will be used. Outdoor metal surfaces will require paint that can withstand UV rays and harsh weather conditions. Metal items subject to heavy wear and tear may benefit from more durable options like epoxy or oil-based paints. Indoor metal surfaces will require water-based paints.

Finish and Appearance: When you are thinking about how your metal project should look let your imagination run naturally. There is a world of possibilities to explore. Different paints offer a range of finishes from the timeless matte to the refined satin, the glossy shine or the eye-catching metallic. Each finish gives your project a different view so take your time and pick the one that matches your vision perfectly.

Application Method: This also influence your choice of metal paint. Some paints are better suited for brush or roller application, while others work well with spray guns.


Acrylic, oil-based, epoxy, Rust-Oleum, high-temperature and metallic paints each have their unique properties and applications. Before starting your project, thoroughly assess your needs and consider factors such as surface preparation, environmental conditions, finish and application method.

You can turn your metal surfaces into long-lasting, attractive features by making an informed decision and using the right preparation and application techniques. So, go ahead and paint that metal fence, garden furniture, or decorative metalwork with confidence, knowing you’ve chosen the right paint for the job.

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