man painting and protecting metal with CIP

How to paint metal

Do you have a metal gate, fence or piece of furniture in your yard that you want to paint but are not sure how to go about doing so?

Some people are put off of painting metal surfaces as they can be a little tricky to get a good finish. However, you need not to worry as it is easier than you’d think! As always, the best way to get a perfect finish isto put in the time and effort of preparing the surface.

We recommend you have a few things to hand before starting.


  • Metal stripper – If the metal has a previous coating that is peeling and flaking, this will need to be removed. You could use a stripper such as our Marine Strip. Although typically used in the marine environment, it can* be used on most metals
  • Paint – We recommend using a flexible paint that will not peel or flake and that also offers corrosion protection, such as our Owatrol ALU paint.
  • Paint brushes – Depending on how large the surface you are painting is will require an appropriate size and type. Take a look at a previous blog post about a paintbrush guide.
  • Wire brush – It may be necessary to use a wire brush if your surface has lightly rusted areas.
  • Oil – It may also be necessary to oil the surface prior to painting. You will need to do this if the surface has rust or is previously coated but in good condition. We recommend using a product such as our penetrating rust inhibitor Owatrol Oil.
  • Protective clothing & area protection – Be sure to have protective clothing, gloves and things such as ground sheets to protect the area you are working in. Also, try to work outside where possible.

Depending on the state the surface is in will depend on what tools you will need.


Man painting a metal fence

Prepare your work area before painting. Depending on what you’re working on will depend on what kind of protection you will require. If you are painting a metal gate, for instance, you should try to protect the floor and surrounding area from paint that may drip from your brush.

We recommend using fabric drop sheets for this as they are reusable and will not fly up into the air as a plastic sheet would with the slightest breeze!

Next, get yourself protected! Get yourself some paint coveralls or old clothing you don’t mind getting paint on and a pair of gloves. If you have to work indoors, remember that some paints have a high VOC level and so you should try to get as much ventilation as possible. Keep doors and windows open to allow for the best airflow.

Once both you and the surface are prepared and you have your tools, you are now ready to paint.

Be sure to follow the paint directions carefully. Various brands will require different amounts of coatings and have different drying times.

If, for instance, you are using Owatrol ALU, you will need to apply 2 coats to a prepared surface.

Whichever paint you opt to use, we recommend applying a small amount at a time and applying it gently to avoid brush marks. You will very likely need to apply at least 2 coats, so do not try to get good coverage on the first application. Having too much paint on the surface will mean you can’t smooth it out and will result in an untidy finish.


Maintaining your paint job should come easy. We recommend using a product that is flexible and so will not peel or flake. The occasional touch up may be required, especially if the surface is used a lot (such as a garden gate).

And there you have it! We hope these ‘how to paint metal’ tips and advice were helpful and that you now have the information you need to get your metal looking at its best!

*Marine Strip will not remove the following type of coatings:

  • 2 pack or baked on paints
  • Polyurethane paint and varnish
  • Do not use on aluminium
Owatrol Team
About Owatrol Team

Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol US has the solution you are looking for.

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