No matter what kind of paint you use to coat embossed metal, you'll eventually see chipping and peeling after the paint dries. That is because, unlike wood surfaces, metallic surface are slick and nonporous. As a result, the paint won't adhere properly because the surface isn't coarse enough to promote adhesion. In addition, the paint cannot soak into the metal, further complicating the bonding process. If you need to paint embossed metal, you'll need to use a special kind of primer that can abrade the metal to create a rougher surface more conducive to good paint adhesion.
Things You'll Need
3- to 4-inch oil-based paintbrush
3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush
Acrylic latex paint
Wash the embossed metal using dish soap. Scrub it clean with a coarse brush. Rinse the surface thoroughly or you may have adhesion issues.
Apply etching primer to the embossed metal using a 3- to 4-inch oil-based paintbrush. Clean the paintbrush using mineral spirits.
Allow the etching primer to cure and dry for four hours.
Apply acrylic latex paint with the 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush. Allow the surface to dry for two hours, then apply another coat if necessary.
Clean the latex paintbrush with warm water.
If you are painting over an embossed metal surface that will be underfoot, you should use a latex floor paint instead of acrylic latex paint.