Painting your metal products is much easier than you might think, as long as you do the right prep.

How to paint your metal products

We've talked about the myriad of uses for welded or woven wire mesh and perforated or expanded metal before, but what if you need to paint these materials? It can add a new dimension to a completed project, whether making them stand out from, or to more cohesively fit in with, an environment. Thankfully, painting your metal products isn't difficult, but there are a few things you should know going in.


To start with you'll want to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What kind of metal are you painting?
  • How does this metal need to be prepped for paint?
  • What are the environmental conditions the paint will need to withstand? 

These questions will help you determine what kind of coating you need to use, and what the surface will need before you approach it.

Ferrous metals are those that contain (or are derived) from iron. These materials are far more susceptible to rust, and will begin to do so as soon as they are in contact with moisture. The first thing you should do with ferrous metals is remove any existing rust. Even if your sheet is brand new, it's worth brushing or sanding the surface once over as a precaution.

Aluminium and galvanised metal will require a thorough wash and rinse to remove oil, dirt, and in the case of galvanised metal, zinc chromate leftover from the galvanising process.


Ferrous metals need to be primed as soon as you've prepped the surface. Because it's so easy for these materials to rust, it's best to reduce the time they are exposed to moisture. You'll need to use a rust-inhibiting primer here, and to stay on the safe side it's recommended you do two coats. For galvanised metal you should use a corrosion-inhibiting primer because it's less susceptible to rust.

Aluminium (generally) falls into two camps. If it's anodised, you'll only need to make sure it's clean before painting. If it's not anodised, you'll want to make sure any oxidation is removed. From there, you can treat it as essentially ferrous- it must be primed as soon as possible to prevent the surface from being corrupted.


In terms of top coat, the best bet is to use an exterior latex acrylic paint. This is not the only paint that can be used, but it's likely it will suit the application of metal quite well, and will last longer than other types. It should be available in either a spray can or in larger quantities if you'd prefer a brush or roller. It's recommended you use a spray for more complex or detailed profiles.

Direct-To-Metal (DTM) coatings are also available, which basically mix the primer in with the topcoat for direct application. This can work well, but make sure you check that the DTM you're using will work for your application (both the type of metal and the conditions it will face).

For more information about perforated or expanded metal and woven or welded wire mesh, get in touch with the team at Meshstore today.

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