Painting Over Powder-Coated Steel

Among home paint jobs, painting over powder-coated steel may seem the most frightening for the do-it-yourselfer. This work really does not need to be this tricky. A little basic prep work and cautious paint choice will likely have your powder-coated steel cabinets, furniture and entry doors seeming bright and brand new in no time.

Prep Work

If you’re able to, move the work to a tidy, well-ventilated space, or outdoors. Clean powder-coated surfaces thoroughly with all-purpose cleaner. If grime or grease remains, use mineral spirits and also medium steel wool to eliminate it. If the surface has peeling or delicate paint — it scratches with a fingernail — eliminate it with a putty knife or a razor blade scraper. Smooth the remaining paint and then give it a scratchy texture with 220-grit sandpaper. Sand rusty surfaces to bare metal, then wipe with mineral spirits.


Wash, powder-coated surfaces don’t require priming. Prime rusty surfaces with metal primer. Prime, too, surfaces with stubborn grease and grime. You don’t need to prime the entire job, just the affected regions. Pick light, light or dark primer to approximate the value of your top coat. Spray primers result in fast work and fast drying. Use exterior primer for exterior surfaces, such as steel entry doors.

Spray Painting

Painting with cans of satin, satin or gloss spray paint makes it easy, fast work that rather approximates the appearance of new powder-coated steel. Read the label instructions regarding temperature recommendations, drying times and other details about your goods. Holding the can 10 to 12 inches in the work, start spraying the surface off before spraying the true bit, moving the could from 1 end of the work until you’re off the surface in the opposite end. Repeat for complete reporting. Use the paint in several thin layers to cut back sags and drips.


If you can not move your work to a ventilated place, spraying may not be sensible. Use latex paint along with a synthetic brush, applying the paint in long, smooth strokes. On steel entry doors, use a brush and exterior latex paint to approximate the painted finish of a wooden door. Brush “with the grain” — where the grain could be about a wood door — for a realistic, hand-painted wood appearance. On cabinets and furniture, brush on doors and sides, and horizontally — or left right — about tops and drawer fronts.

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