How to Paint a Galvanized Trailer


The key to success when you paint a galvanized metal trailer is in the surface preparation. Galvanized metal is pre-coated with an oil that is designed to prevent rust from forming. Paint will not adhere to the oily residue. The oil must be removed and the metal primed prior to painting. These two steps are vital to preventing the paint from flaking and peeling later. Use a wire brush to remove rust and clean the trailer well with a degreasing cleaner such as TSP. Prime the trailer with a metal primer to be followed with metal paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective eyewear
  • Protective gloves
  • Wire brush
  • Scraper
  • Trisodium phosphate cleaner
  • Galvanized metal primer
  • Galvanized metal paint
  • Remove all rust from the metal using a wire brush. Remove flaking or peeling areas with a scraper.

  • Wash the metal trailer with TSP (trisodium phosphate cleaner) degreasing cleaner to remove all grease and grime. Rinse the trailer with clear water using a hose. Allow the trailer to dry completely.

  • Apply a coat of galvanized metal primer to the trailer. Allow the prime to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. When the primer is dry, apply a second coat.

  • Apply a coat of metal paint to the trailer. Allow the paint to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. When the paint is dry, apply a second coat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use oil-based paint with oil-based primer. Use latex paint with latex primer.
  • Wear protective eye wear and gloves when using Trisodium Phosphate Cleaner.

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  • Photo Credit red horse trailer image by studio vision1 from
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