Galvanized metal is metal that has been treated for rust prevention. Everything from a mailbox to a fence to a shed can be made of galvanized metal.

A contractor paints a metal handrail with black paint using a paint roller at a commercial-use property.

Ready to Learn How to Paint Galvanized Metal?

Galvanized metal has a layer of zinc coating on it to prevent rust.

While galvanized metal helps prevent future rust, it can also make the metal more difficult to paint without the right preparation and products. Read on for a step-by-step guide to how to paint a galvanized metal surface, including how to clean galvanized metal before painting, how to prep galvanized metal for painting and more.

Step #1: Clean and Prep the Galvanized Metal

To clean and prep a galvanized metal surface for painting, you need to assess whether the surface is new or weathered.

Weathered galvanized metal features a white powdery residue on the surface of the metal. New galvanized metal does not.

If you’re working with weathered galvanized metal, use a degreaser to thoroughly clean the metal. You should also look for signs of traditional rust and remove it if necessary.

For new galvanized metal, wipe it down with white vinegar. Then use Corotech® Oil & Grease Emulsifier to thoroughly degrease and clean the surface. Remember to do a fresh water rinse after using a degreaser.

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Helpful Tip

Do not sand galvanized metal, as the sanding process can damage the metal surface.

Step #2: Prime the Galvanized Metal

If you’re painting over previously painted galvanized metal, there is no need to prime.

If the galvanized metal was not previously painted, apply an even coat of Ultra Spec® HP Acrylic Metal Primer with a paintbrush or roller and let dry.

Step #3: Paint the Galvanized Metal

For painting galvanized metal, apply an even coat of Ultra Spec® HP D.T.M. Acrylic Enamel, which is available in low lustre, semi-gloss and gloss finishes and all 3,500+ Benjamin Moore colors. Use a paintbrush, roller or paint sprayer to apply the paint.

Step #4: Let Dry and Repeat

Allow your first coat of paint to dry completely before applying another coat. Consult the can label or the paint’s Technical Data Sheet for dry and cure times. Let your final coat of paint cure before returning the galvanized metal item to everyday use.

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Helpful Tip

Do not use any alkyd-based paints or oil-based primers on galvanized metal.

Ready for More Metal Painting Advice?

Check out more tips for how to paint metal to make your next project a success.

As always, visit your local Benjamin Moore retailer for help with all your painting needs. If you’re a painting contractor, find a rep here.