Can You Use Metal Paint on Wood? (Yes, but only if…)


If you have a half-used tin of metal paint lying around, you definitely won’t want it going to waste because paint isn’t cheap. So this might leave you wondering whether or not it’s okay to use metal paint on wood.

With the right preparation, you can use metal paint on wood surfaces. In order to paint wood with metal paint, it’s important to use primer to ensure that the wood tannins do not bleed through the paint. You must also make sure that the wood is clean and fully dry before applying metal paint.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to properly paint wooden surfaces with metal paint for a long-lasting finish, some handy extra tips, and which primer is best suited to the job.

When can you paint on wood?

Areas such as doors, windows, and trims are all suitable to be finished with a coat of metal paint. Using metal paint instead of traditional wood paint can give your wooden surfaces a little something extra if you really want it to stand out.

However, although it’s possible to use metal paint on wood, you must remember that it should not be used for any projects where non-toxic paint is required. This includes anything that is going to be used by children or animals in case any small pieces of paint are accidentally ingested.

You can use either water- or oil-based paint on wood so long as you use a primer first. Sometimes metal paint is not as long-lasting as a traditional wood finish, although this can often be down to poor preparation of the surface.

I’ll now walk you through the necessary steps to prepare and paint wood using metal paint that’ll ensure a long-lasting and professional finish.

How to use metal paint on wood

There are a few things you need to do when you are using metal paint on wood, and the following steps will take you through them.

1. Preparing the surface

To prepare your wood for the metal paint, you should sand it with medium-grit sandpaper first to make the surface as smooth as possible. You will then need to wipe the wood with a damp cloth, followed by a dry cloth to dry the wood. You can prepare both bare and painted wood the same way.

2. Masking sections of the wood

If there are any areas of the wood that you do not want to paint, then it’s a good idea to use some painter’s tape to cover those areas. Also, you should probably use either some newspaper or drop cloths to cover the floor and surrounding areas where you are working to catch any drips.

3. Apply primer

Always use primer on wood before painting with metal paint (my primer recommendations coming later on) as porous woods readily soak up metal paints, which can cause unwanted bleeding through the paint.

You should add your primer to a paint pot and make sure that you mix it thoroughly, then use a paintbrush to apply it to your wooden surface. You’ll then need to leave it to dry fully, which will take around three hours.

4. Stir the metal paint

Once you have allowed sufficient time for the primer to dry, you can start preparations for applying the metal paint. Before you apply the paint, you must stir it thoroughly to ensure that all of the ingredients are mixed together properly.

5. Apply the metal paint

You can use a paintbrush to apply it, but you will need to make sure that you only apply a light coat so that you don’t end up with lots of drips or splashes of paint on the surface.

6. Apply the next coat

Once you have finished applying the first layer of paint, you will need to leave it to dry fully, sometimes for several hours, before you can apply the next coat.

Once it is fully dry, you can apply the next coat, or coats, of paint until you are happy with the finish. After each coat has dried, you should use some fine-grit sandpaper to sand the surface before applying the next coat.

Useful tips

Here are a few useful tips that will definitely come in handy when you are painting wood with metal paint. The following tips will help you achieve the best results for your project.

  • Always remember that metal paint might not last as long as a traditional wood finish.
  • Only apply gentle pressure when sanding your wood, especially when sanding between coats of paint, and use sandpaper that is around 280-grit.
  • Paint from top to bottom to prevent drips.
  • You should always check how much moisture is in your wood and allow it to dry if necessary before beginning.
  • Consult an expert if you need advice on which paint to use and how to apply it.
  • Follow the instructions on your paint packaging to make sure that you are using the paint in the correct manner.
  • It is always best to use a primer before you apply metal paint.
  • Only apply thin coats of paint as it is much better to have a few thin layers than one thicker one.
  • Allow sufficient time for each coat of paint to dry before applying the next one.

What’s the difference between metal and wood primers?

It’s always important to use a primer before you apply the paint as it will act as a foundation for the paint to stick to and will help to make sure your project looks the best it can be.

Wood primer is specially formulated to prevent the natural tannin acids found in wood from bleeding through the paint. Metal primers are formulated with special additives to combat and prevent rust from forming on the surface of the metal.

Although there are many types of primers available for pretty much every surface type, the ones that are used most often are metal and wood primers as they are particularly important when you are painting these two surfaces.

The purpose of these primers is to create a surface that is slightly textured so that the paint can stick to it. This helps the paint to last much longer and can also hide any imperfections that are on the surface you are painting.

Despite the two primers essentially doing exactly the same job, they go about it in different ways to suit the surface they are being used on.

What type of primer should I use on wood when using metal paint?

Of course, if you were using wood paint, you would use wood primer. But what type of primer should you use on wood when painting with metal paint?

You should always use wood primer on any type of wooden surface. Because paint readily adheres to wood, using a wood primer first can prevent bleeds from wood tannins by forming a protective barrier. Wood primer also creates an even surface to paint on, especially for wood that has a pronounced grain.

Although tannins do not seep through oil-based paint as easily as they do water-based paint, you should still use a wood primer first to create a good foundation for painting on.

When purchasing a primer for wood, you will need a stain-blocking primer. You should always ensure that you choose the one that is most suitable for the type of paint that you are going to be using. Use an oil-based primer with oil-based paint and a water-based primer with water-based paint.

Thanks for reading!

Graham Walsh

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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