Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Painting Metal

Hi.  I live in a mobile home.  We picked up a carport from another mobile home that had a fire, and we have tried to paint it but it keeps peeling, Do know if there some type of paint we can use to seal it?  We paint and then it peels again.  I hope you can help us.  Thanks, Dolores.


Painting requires prep and proper application techniques to ensure a good bond and the longevity the paint is designed for.  Painting metal can last longer than wood, especially if the metal is clean and free of any dust, soot, loose rust or oil.  Here are some techniques for painting metals.  Some of these suggestions come right from the back of the can.


Selecting a finish

Metal paints are specifically designed for metal, especially the primers.  Oil primers are best for metal bonding, and you can use a finish coat using latex with all-acrylic binders.  Previously sound finishes on gutters, downspouts, flashing, windows, etc. are fine to recoat without priming.  For harsher environments, marine specific paints have plasticizers to help them deal with extreme expansion and contraction, UV degradation, and have abrasion resistance.



Paint preparation is 80% of the effort; so trying to save money by using cheap products is meaningless, simply wasting your time and effort.


Wear eye, skin and respiratory protection.  For surfaces that MAY contain lead, typically anything coated before 1978, use a P-100 mask.  Prepare in confined area, contain you dust, and wear clothing you can remove before entering your house or hugging your kids.


For fire-damaged metal, mix 2 cups of oxygen bleach and 2 gallons of hot tap water in a bucket. Mix with a paint stirrer until the powder is dissolved.  Saturate a large sponge solution and rub it on, adding more solution as necessary. Allow the solution to sit for 30 minutes.  Dip a scrub brush in the solution and scrub to remove the soot.  Rinse the walls with plain water, using a hose or a sponge.


Treat any mildew with a 3:1 water and household bleach mixture or white vinegar.  Leave it on for 20 minutes and add more as it dries.  Rinse with water thoroughly.


Chalking, peeling or rusting.  Scrape, wire brush, and sand the metal until it is smooth and free of imperfections.  Remove dirt, chalk, treated mildew, loosened paint and rust, etc. by scrubbing with a detergent and water and rinse thoroughly.  Power wash or rinse with plain water.


For new metals, wipe down with a denatured alcohol or mineral spirits to remove any surface oil.



Spraying is fine for smaller, controlled areas that are prepped well, unless you have a spray booth with proper venting.  Rolling and brushing is more controlled, work into the nooks and crannies better, and can reduce the smell.  Complete the work in a well-ventilated area, without the threat of rain or moisture.


Use oil-based primer on bare or rusted metal.  There are special primers that help neutralize surface rust, although it does not stop flaking rust.  You can use two coats of primer for maximum corrosion resistance.  For copper, brass or other copper-containing alloys use only a primer recommended for these materials, or discoloration of the finish coat may occur.



Use top-of-the-line exterior 100% acrylic latex house paint in flat, satin, semi-gloss or gloss.


Decorative Metal Care


Untreated copper exposed to air oxides to create a natural patina.  This patina acts as a protective coating for the raw copper underneath.  If left to patina naturally, periodic checks should be executed to check for corrosion.  If corrosion is present, clean affected area with a mild solution of vinegar, water, and lemon juice.  Rinse clean.


To seal copper us a copper polish and clean with a cotton cloth.  Rinse copper using mild dish detergent and water.  Apply exterior copper sealant.  Repeat every 10-12 years.



To prevent excessive staining from raw iron hardware on front door, ironwork can be treated with a wax polish to reduce oxidation.  Frequent applications may be necessary.



Leave a Reply