How to Finish Metal Poles in a Basement

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Things You'll Need

  • Water-based degreaser

  • Coarse sponge or plastic brush

  • 2- to 3-inch latex paintbrush

  • Blue painter's tape

  • Fabric drop cloths

  • Galvanized metal etching primer

  • Satin or semigloss latex paint

  • Blue painter's tape

  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloths

Homeowners spend thousands of dollars remodeling their dull concrete basements into recreation areas and extra family rooms. Many such converted basements contain metal support poles that can stand out like sore thumbs. You can help these support poles blend in better by applying a finish coat. However, because metal is a nonporous surface, ill-suited for adhesion, you will have to condition the poles' surfaces to accept paint, or the finish coat will eventually chip and peel.


Step 1

Scrub the metal basement poles with a water-based degreaser, using a coarse sponge or plastic brush. Rinse the poles and allow them to dry.

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Step 2

Use a low-tack painter's tape to cover areas you do not want painted. Cover the basement floor adjacent to the metal poles with a fabric drop cloth.

Step 3

Coat the clean metal basement poles with a galvanized metal etching primer, using a 2- to 3-inch latex paintbrush. Wait six hours for the primed poles to cure.

Step 4

Wash the brush with water.


Step 5

Coat the primed metal basement poles with a satin or semigloss latex paint, using the clean 2- to 3-inch latex paintbrush. Wait two hours for the finished poles to cure. Apply another coat if the primer shows through.


Never paint over metal basement poles unless you have abraded them with an etching primer first, or the paint will peel.

Do not use a plain oil-based or acrylic primer on metal basement poles, or the finish will eventually chip.


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