Can You Paint Stainless Steel? Pro Tips You May Not Know Yet


Although we all agree that stainless steel already looks good by itself, give it some color still might be better in some ways. However, it is not easy to paint stainless steel when the surface is too smooth. So, how to keep the paint layer stay on the metal? 

Well, you come to the right place. This article is the only guideline you need to know how to give your stainless steel a good, beautiful painting color. Let’s jump right in!

What kind of paint is compatible with stainless steel? 

When planning on painting stainless steel, you will need good preparation for it. Not every paint is compatible with stainless steel, especially normal paint. The reason is that stainless steels usually have a smooth surface which is too hard for the layer of paint to hold on to it. As a result, the paint will fall right over, as it will never bond to the surface. So, the question here is: “what type of paint should we use for stainless steel?” 

The most effective paint in this situation is epoxy paint. Epoxy is the toughest and most durable paint available today on the market. They are usually being used on the floors for a little extra shine, but it is also a great choice for stainless steel. Since epoxy paint is highly adhesive, it is perfect for smoothness and resistance to bonding surfaces like stainless steel.

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Cleaning and Preparation

So you have found what is the right paint to buy, what are other things you need to do to prepare? The surface of the stainless steel always has to be clean and free of dirt before doing anything, especially painting. If there is still dirt, debris, or grease on the surface of the steel, the paint will not bond perfectly. Clean your stainless steel with some specialized steel cleaner then dry the steel with a towel to prevent water drops. Remember to follow the instructions on the drying times on any cleaners that you use. 

Before painting stainless steel, you should have your preparation as well to prevent any harm to your health and body. During the process of painting, you must wear a mask, goggles, and gloves. Prepare these basic things to keep the job done for yourself!

Paint the stainless steel

Can You Paint Stainless Steel?

Step 1: Primer coating

Usually, you will need to prime your brand new stainless steel to help the paint stick better to the surface. However, if your stainless steel is too old and has patches on it, you might want to do some scrapping. 

A primer coat to your stainless steel will be the main reason that the paint will stick. In another word, primer helps the epoxy paint to better adhere to the metal. Our recommendation is to follow the paint manufacturer’s instruction of what kind of primer to use that will work the best for the process. 

Once you have done priming your stainless steel, leave it to rest to dry before we do the final step, which is applying the paint onto the stainless steel. 

Read more: 5 Best Paint and Primer in One Review with Buying Guide

Step 2: Applying the paint

There are numerous ways to paint stainless steel, such as using a brush or roller. However, to achieve a better and faster result, in this article, we will focus on spray painting only. Using spray paint as the final layer on top of the primer coat will give you the smoothest result. 

Put the object on cardboard, and spray it nicely and evenly so the color will spread beautifully on the object. Normally, one layer of paint on top of the primer coat is enough, but you can add one more layer if you want. However, remember to wait for the first layer to dry before adding the second layer. 

Normally, painting stainless steel is not necessary. However, it is a great decision if you want to change the design of the object to fit with the design of the house, giving your furniture and decoration a little update. Furthermore, painting stainless steel also helpful in maintaining the durability of your furniture in your house. In that case, painting stainless steel is a choice that you don’t want to miss. 

Useful tips and tricks

  • When using the sprayer to paint stainless steel, remember to keep the sprayer far 12 to 18 inches from the object, which will result in a mist spray rather than steam that may end up drips on the surface of your object.  
  • If you using a brush, you can stroke in any direction that you want to have some “grains” look on the object.
  • The paint roller is only useful if the surface is wide enough. 


What kind of paint do you use to paint stainless steel? 

As mentioned above, we recommend you to use epoxy paint, as it is the toughest and also, the most durable paint. The epoxy is great for smooth surfaces, especially stainless steel because of its greatly adhesive. Therefore, to paint stainless steel, remember that epoxy paint is your best bud. 

Does colored stainless steel fade? 

The best thing about stainless steel is that the color of it will never fade. Unlike any metal, stainless steel is unharmed to use, the quality is still very high, and the paint color does not fade at all. 

How do you fix discolored stainless steel? 

To fix discolored stainless steel, firstly, you will need to mix baking soda with dish soap. Next, apply the mixture with a soft cloth and gently rub it at the stained part of the object. Finally, dry it with a towel and we are done, quite easy, right? 

How to paint stainless steel so your steel can have an antique look? 

If you want to give your stainless steel a little touch of an antique look, there are several ways that you can try. The best way is to use vinegar or some kind of abrasive chemical which usually will ends in a great result, a natural look of old, vintage stainless steel. However, it is quite harmful and also takes a lot of preparation and time. For a faster process, try heat staining or just painting the stainless steel the way you want, of course. 

Can You Paint Stainless Steel?