If you’ve ever tried to paint a galvanized metal surface, you know that it doesn’t work all that well. The truth is that paint will not adhere to galvanized steel. The layer of zinc left on the metal after the galvanization process is meant to reduce corrosion, but it also rejects paint, eventually causing it to peel or shed.
Fortunately, there is a solution. You can still add a coat of paint to your galvanized metal surface as long as you have a few important household tools and you follow these simple steps:
1. Clean the surface
The goal is to remove any dust, dirt, or other particulate buildup that could affect the texture of the metal surface. No matter what the material, it’s hard to apply a proper coat of paint if you’re brushing over bits and particles.
2. Introduce your secret weapon
The secret to painting galvanized steel is white vinegar. If you have a kitchen, then you probably already have this handy solution. White vinegar is both effective and non-toxic, so it is much safer to use than your average industrial solvent. All you have to do is simply apply the vinegar to a clean rag and then wipe down the galvanized surface. The acidity of the vinegar will react with the metal, treating the surface to promote paint adhesion.
3. Choose a type of paint
You may or may not need to prime the surface depending on the type of paint you choose. Some people use acrylic latex paint, which is not designed specifically for galvanized metal, so you will want to prime the surface before painting. Paints that are made for galvanized surfaces will require less prep work and will adhere better than other kinds of paint. Do not use alkyd-based paints or oil-based primer.
4. Paint away!
Now that your surface has been prepped and you have all the right tools, it’s time to paint. The painting process is actually very straightforward, because the surface of galvanized steel is relatively smooth and consistent.
Galvanized steel is a great material to use for a variety of tools, products, and projects, and it’s environmentally friendly. In fact, roughly 69% of steel is recycled in North America each year. Want to change the color? No problem. Just follow the steps listed above.