Can You Spray Paint Galvanized Metal? – Detailed Guide

Galvanized metal is steel covered with zinc coating, which prevents corrosion and rusting. You can spray-paint the galvanized metal; however, it is a multi-step process. The first and foremost step is to clean the metal surface with the help of dishwashing soap and water, ammonia, or vinegar. Furthermore, sanding the surface is also important as it adheres the paint to the surface easily, preventing the paint from peeling off.

The type of paint used for the galvanized metal also plays a great role, as different paints provide different outcomes and results. The oil-based paints and alkyd paints are unsuitable for galvanized metal as they don’t stick to the metal surface and cause a reaction with the zinc coating, creating a film that prevents the sticking of the paint. Due to this, adhesion issues are created, like peeling, chipping, and cracking.

How To Spray Paint Galvanized Metal?

How To Spray Paint  Galvanized Metal

Prepare The Surface

Preparing the metal surface by cleaning it is the first and most important step. The surface can be cleaned with dishwashing soap and water. Soak a damp cloth in the mixture and wipe the surface to remove the dirt and residues. Once the surface has been cleaned, it should be rinsed with clean water. Sticky residues can be removed with mineral spirits. Apply the spirit and leave it for a few minutes to remove the glue and other sticky residues.

Use White Vinegar

As the galvanized metal is not suitable for painting, using white vinegar can make it suitable for spray painting. The best thing about white vinegar is that it contains acids that react with the metal surface, preparing the metal surface for spray painting. Another best and most effective alternative to white vinegar is the ammonia solution. It is effective to prepare the metal surface with ammonia solution. While using ammonia solution, make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area, preventing breathing issues.

Sanding The Surface

This is the most important step in spray painting galvanized metal, as it promotes adhesion. This step is necessary when the metal surface is exposed to certain elements like rusting. Grab sandpaper and rub the whole surface, making it smooth and residue free. Apply steady pressure while addressing the corners and crevices. Once the sanding step is done, clean the surface with a dry cloth or rag, removing the dust and debris.


The primer application is another critical step in preparing the metal surface for painting. Apply a thin layer of primer on the metal surface before painting. After applying, let it set for almost one hour before starting spray painting. While selecting the paint, make sure not to opt for oil-based paints as they do not work well with the primer or the metal surface. Try to find those paints that work well with the primer and form a strong bond with the surface and the paint.

Start Painting The Metal Surface

As soon as the primer is completely dry, you can start painting. You can spray-paint the galvanized metal with the help of a spray gun. Apply the thin layer of the paint over the metal surface first and let it set for one hour. After that, apply another paint coating over the surface to get a smooth finish. Furthermore, make sure that you apply the paint properly at the crevices and corners. You might be interested to see our best spray paints for metal.

Spray Painting The Rusted Galvanized Metal

You can spray-paint the rusted galvanized metal, but first, prepare the surface. Using the mixture of dishwashing soap and warm water, clean the dust and debris. The surface can also be cleaned with white vinegar. After that, use the sandpaper to remove the residues, freeing the surface residue and dust, and sanding the metal surface before spray painting provides excellent outcomes.

Paints For Painting The Galvanized Metal

Before painting the galvanized metal, as different paints deliver different results. Oil-based paints are not suitable for painting metal as they cannot form a bond with the surface. Read the label before purchasing a paint because there are various types available. The best spray paints for galvanized metals are ZRC 10001 cold spray paint, Painter’s touch latex paint, and rust oleum high-performance spray paint.

Primer For Galvanized Metal

ZRC 10001 primer is one of the best primers for galvanized metal. The best thing about this primer is that it secures and protects the underlying metal from rust and corrosion. Also, another benefit of using the primer before painting is that it keeps the metal in its original shape for a longer period. Moreover, to apply this primer, you can use either brush, roller, or spray to apply it all over the surface. Furthermore, it makes a neutral backdrop for the application of other colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind Of Paint Will Stick To The Galvanized Metal?

Acrylic paints are the most suitable option for painting galvanized metal. Furthermore, prepare the surface by cleaning it with white vinegar and then using sandpaper to remove the residues to get better results.

What Happens If You Spray Paint The Galvanized Metal?

Painting the galvanized metal without preparing the surface leads to the paint eventually peeling off. This can be due to the zinc layer rejecting the paint as it protects the steel. Due to this reason, the paint does not adhere the best.

What Is The Best Way To Paint The Galvanized Metal?

Firstly, clean the metal surface with soap and hot water. White vinegar is also useful for cleaning dust and debris. Grab the sandpaper and remove the rough edges from the metal. The primer must be applied over the paint to ensure proper adhesion.


You can spray-paint the galvanized metal. However, preparing the surface is important in offering a better outcome. Cleaning the surface with warm water and dishwashing soap is the first step. Additionally, you can clean the dust and debris with white vinegar. Sand the surface with sandpaper after that. Following that, apply a thin layer of primer and let it dry for a few minutes. The surface can also be smoothed out by applying a thin layer of paint.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund MechanicsGear. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!

Leave a Comment