Typically, painting in the DIY sense usually involves painting walls, skirting boards, cupboards and other household objects, but when it comes to painting metal and metallic objects, the steps involved in getting a good finish can be a little more involved.
Firstly, there are quite a few different types of paint that can be used and the object you are painting can in many ways, dictate to you what type of paint you use.
Secondly, if you are working on an object such as a car body part e.g. a bonnet or wing then you are going to want the finished job to match the existing paint finish.
When this is the case, there are quite a few steps involved to get a totally flat and smooth result such as sanding off and flattening the existing paintwork, making any repairs and then sanding these off flat, laying on undercoat and then flattening this and then eventually getting your top coat on.
As I’m sure you would agree this is quite an involved process and one that would require a fair bit of skill to get right but with practice and the right tools and products, one that any one can achieve.
Types of Paint for Metal
When it comes to paint, you have quite a few more options than the traditional domestic paints e.g. matte and emulsion, here are just a few:
- Matte and Gloss: Usually reserved for describing the type of top coat finish, matte paints tend to produce a dull finish whereas gloss tends to be shiny
- Metallic: Again, this is a type of top coat finish but is normally made using slightly different colour pigments and aluminium flakes to produce a finish with depth and texture
- Textured: Normally available as a gloss, this paint is mixed with very fine particles such as sand to give a top coat that has texture
- Heat Resistant: A special type of paint that is resistant to very high temperatures making it ideal for BBQ’s etc….
- Hammered Finish: You will probably know this paint by the brand most famous for it; Hammerite. This produces a look that appears as if the object has been “hammered”, hence the name
Painting Metal Objects
When it comes to getting the paint on to the object you are working with, there are really only two ways to do this, you can either paint it on with a brush or spray it on.
Again, the object that you are working with will pretty much dictate how this is done, but not always.
If painting an old garden bench to give it a fresh new look, you will probably want to use a hammered finish and you may not necessarily be wanting it to look like its just come out of a professional spray shop.
You will probably be just looking to protect it and give it a fresh new look, in which case brushing the paint on will give you a finish that’s more than good enough.
However, if your goal is end up with a nice flat and even finish, then spraying is the way to go and here again you have several options;
- Spraying with cans – Compressed air cans can be purchased in almost any colour imaginable. You can also buy them mixed to specific colour of your choice. They are very easy to use and with some prior test runs to judge how much paint is delivered, you can get a great result
- Spraying with a spray gun and compressor – A more involved and intensive process, but using the same principles of the above method. A compressor generates the compressed air and then feeds it via a flexible hose to the spray gun, which in turn pushes the paint out of the nozzle. This method does require a fair bit of knowledge to get the paint on even and with no runs faults
Preparing for Painting
As it is for pretty much everything we do – you only get out what you put in.
This adage can be applied to almost everything we do, including DIY. You have to put the time in to get the benefits.
This rings very true when we are preparing a surface for painting in that for the paint to stick and remain on the surface to give a long lasting finish, the surface you are applying it to must have been prepared correctly.
This means sanding it down flat, removing any and all traces of rust, removing any flaking or loose existing paint or any other covering that’s present, removing any dust and debris and also removing any grease and contaminants that might prevent your paint from properly bonding with the surface.
Only by doing this will you stand any chance of getting your desired outcome of a lasting covering.
The above is a very brief run down on what’s involved in painting metal surfaces and objects, but if you are after a more in-depth guide, check out our painting metal surfaces project here