How to Paint Zinc-Plated Metal

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Use a shed-free roller cover.
Use a shed-free roller cover. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Metal surfaces are often coated with a zinc plating that protects them from rust. Unfortunately, this layer is ill-suited for adhesion and will reject painted finishes if it is inadequately or improperly prepared. If you want to paint zinc-plated metal, pre-treat it with a primer, specifically formulated with acidic qualities that allow it to etch durable zinc plated metallic surfaces. Apply the base and finish coats, using the proper brush, or the finish may dry marred with brush marks.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-based degreasing cleanser
  • Steel wool
  • Water hose
  • Rags
  • Galvanized metal etching primer
  • Roller frame
  • Two shed-free covers
  • Polyester paintbrush
  • Acrylic enamel

Wash the zinc-plated metal with a water-based, degreasing cleanser, using steel wool. Rinse exterior metal with a hose. Use wet rags to rinse indoor metal. Allow the zinc plating to dry for two to three hours.

Coat the zinc-plated metal with galvanized metal etching primer, using a roller and a shed-free roller cover. Roll one three-by-three foot section at a time. Stop and smooth the wet etching primer, using a polyester paintbrush. Brush vertically, applying slight pressure. Allow the zinc plating to dry for three hours.

Wash the galvanized metal etching primer from the brush, using plain tap water.

Coat the primed zinc-plated metal with acrylic enamel, using the roller and a clean shed-free cover. Roll one three-by-three foot section at a time. Stop and smooth the wet enamel, using the polyester brush. Brush vertically, applying slight pressure. Allow the zinc plating to dry for three hours.

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