You may be looking for the perfect primer to apply over your rusted metal surface. However, as with other products, you have found that there there are dozens and dozens of these different spray paint primers available on the market. And now you may be lost as to which you need to buy and the one that will help you get the job done.
When it comes to tackling rust and protecting bare metal surfaces, the best metal primers contain corrosion inhibitors such as zinc or epoxy. These primers provide protection from moisture, salt, humidity, and other elements that can cause rusting. They also help provide a better bond between paint and metal surfaces by providing a smooth layer that will adhere better to the rougher surfaces of rusted metals.
In addition, these primers also give added strength when it comes to stopping rust in its tracks. Basically, and in simple terms, primer coatings can act as a shield against water and salt, thus preventing further damage and rust development.
Below we put together a review of the 5 best metal primers that you can use. We also provide a nice FAQ that answers some of the most burning questions you have (see further down below).
#1. Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer – Best Overall
We think that Rust-Oleum makes the best metal primer in the industry and the clean metal primer is definitely one of their better products.
This stuff is very durable, has excellent coverage, and is easy to apply to all sorts of metal. It is also great value for your money.
Why use a primer for rusted metal?
Rust is a common problem for all metal surfaces. It can cause unsightly blemishes and degrade the structure of the metal object it’s affecting. If left untreated, rust can permanently damage metal surfaces, making them weak and unusable. To protect against these damaging effects, many people choose to use paint and primer on their rusted metals.
Using a primer before painting over rusted metal helps create a protective barrier that shields the surface from further rusting or corrosion. Primer also prepares the surface for paint applications by allowing it to stick better to the rusty surface.
Overall, the combination of paint and primer gives an extra layer of protection against water damage, resulting in longer-lasting paint jobs that will not require replacement as frequently as if only one was used.
Best Metal Primer Paint For Metal Surfaces in 2023
- #1. Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer
- #2. Corroseal Water-Based Metal Primer
- #3. Valspar 21850Q Galvanized Metal Primer
- #4. Metalize Industrial Metal Primer Aerosol
- #5. Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Primer
#1. Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer – The best primer before painting
The Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer is the best metal primer for those who want the ultimate versatile primer with the most practical applications. Rust-Oleum also sells a rusty metal and high-performance primer.
We think this stuff gives you pretty much the best rust protection out of any other brand we tried. It also topcoats in minutes and gives you superior adhesion.
Additionally, it offers superior coverage and durability and is a pretty easy and simple kit to use. And contrary to some user opinions, it is actually a decently thick primer and takes only one application.
Finally, just keep in mind that depending on the type of metal you have, you should consider other Rust-Oleum products. Anyways, you can’t do wrong with this brand.
#2. Corroseal Water-Based Metal Surface Primer
This solution allows you to paint, prime, and convert rust in just one step. It works very well in restoring metal surfaces and both preventing and removing rust from your metal. It is also non-flammable and non-corrosive.
Although it is made specifically for the marine industry since that stuff collects rust fast than others, you can certainly use it on all types of metal without harming the metal.
Also, we really like the fact that you can easily apply it with a brush and that it is easy to clean up with just soap and water.
#3. Valspar 21850Q Galvanized Metal Primer To Use
If you need a galvanized metal primer, the Valspar 21850Q is definitely the best metal primer for you. This is an oil-based white primer with superior adhesion and works on both interior and exterior surfaces.
The standout feature is that it has extremely good UV protection and water resistance and will not fade or discolor. This means it works well outdoors in bad weather.
Also, we should mention that it is definitely a tough primer, so it is quite resistant to scratches. It is nice to know that you can also use it for wood.
All in all, this primer does a great job of inhibiting rust and protecting metal. It is especially good on galvanized metal surfaces.
#4. Metalize Industrial Metal Primer Aerosol – Best Spray
This spray can is pretty easy to apply and prevents and protects your metals against rust. Also, it has excellent coverage and adhesion.
One of the best features of this spray primer is that it is very fast to dry and cure, often in less than 15 minutes, making it very easy to work with.
Finally, we just want to say that it gives you metal a very durable weather-resistant finish and protects against UV, rust, and water damage.
#5. Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Primer – Best for Rusted Metal
This particular product works best on heavily rusted metal. What it basically does is cleans up the rust and restore your metal back to something near your original piece. It will give it a nice smooth finish as well.
One of the downsides is that you probably have to give it a few days to fully cure in order to paint over it. While it is a bit annoying, its rust-stopping power is just amazing and we think overcomes this problem.
Finally, feel free to use it anywhere you want and generously. It works great in outdoor environments and damp applications.
Frequently asked questions on the best primer for rusted metal
Is it OK to spray primer over rust?
This is a common question among DIYers and home improvement enthusiasts.
The answer depends on the severity of the rust. If you have only light, surface-level rust, then priming over the rust can be done. However, if there is extensive or deeply embedded corrosion present, then you must use a product such as a rust converter or other form of treatment before applying primer.
Note that a rust converter may not remove all rust back to bare metal. It will help create a stable compound that is ready for repainting. As such, any metal surface will not fully recover from all traces of rust.
Spray painting directly over existing rusty surfaces may seem like an easy solution to spruce up an item; however, in order for spray paint to adhere properly and last long-term it is important that any existing rust be treated. To ensure a durable finish and lasting protection from corrosion, use a quality primer that has been specially formulated for metal surfaces containing heavy levels of corrosion. Or just start using some sandpaper and prepare the surface to be free from rust (I really do not like sanding rust, but sometimes we are obliged to do this).
Is oil-based primer good for metal?
Oil-based primer is a great choice for painting metal, as it can help to prevent rust and ensure the best possible results. The oil-based primer works by forming a barrier between the metal surface and moisture or other corrosive elements in the environment. This means that when you apply an oil-based primer to metal, it acts like a protective coating and helps stop corrosion before it even starts.
In addition, oil-based primers also provide excellent adhesion for topcoats, which is especially important when you’re working with metal surfaces. It’s easy to apply and forms a strong bond with the surface of the metal in order to create an even better seal against moisture and corrosion. Furthermore, because oil-based primers are designed to be durable enough for outdoor use, they will protect your painted furniture from the elements all year round.
Why Use the best primer paint for metal surfaces?
Painting metal surfaces often requires more than just applying a single layer of paint. In order to ensure that the paint job looks its best and lasts for years to come, it is important to use a primer before painting the surface with a topcoat. Primers not only provide an even surface for the topcoat to adhere to, but they also protect against rust and corrosion.
This is why using the best primer for metal is essential in order to achieve optimal results. What you need to know is that primers designed specifically for metal surfaces are available in mainly oil-based and water-based forms. Oil primers act as protective barriers against moisture, which can lead to rusting, as well as other environmental factors that could cause wear on your painted finish over time. Not only do these primers protect against moisture damage, but they also provide superior adhesion properties so your topcoat will stay looking great longer.
Note that water-based primers are not really widely used for metal surfaces, though they are still made available by manufacturers.
What is the purpose of a metal primer?
We have already answered this question above but would like to add a little bit of information. The purpose of metal primer is to provide a protective layer between the metal and the paint. That’s it.
Now, primers play an important part in providing additional protection against rusting, moisture, and other environmental conditions that can damage metallic surfaces. As such, applying a primer prior to painting helps ensure that you will get the best coverage possible from your paint job.
Primer also improves the adhesion and durability of the finish painting coat.
In essence, primers are formulated to help prevent corrosion on metal surfaces by creating an adhesive base for paint which helps it bond better and last longer than if applied directly onto bare metal without primer.
By ensuring a tight bond between the surface and paint, primers form a barrier against moisture, dirt, oil, pollutants, chalking, and UV rays. Additionally, primers provide an even base color which helps increase pigment load in topcoat paints for more vivid colors.
When Should You Apply A Primer For Metal?
You should apply a metal primer to properly prepare the surface before painting. This is an essential step so that you get strong adhesion and long-lasting results from the paint coat.
Generally, any bare or exposed metal should be primed prior to painting in order to protect it from moisture or corrosion. If a previously painted surface is being renovated, applying a new coat of etching or bonding primer can help ensure that the top coat adheres better and lasts longer than if no primer were used.
Additionally, oil-based primers should be applied to rusty metals such as iron or steel before painting with latex paint in order to block out moisture and prevent further oxidation from occurring on the surface.
How many coats of primer are on the steel before spray paint?
Generally speaking, if you’re painting over galvanized steel or bare metal, then two coats of high-quality rust-inhibiting primer should suffice. This type of primer should also be applied in thin layers with a brush. It’s best practice to let each layer dry completely before applying another coat for optimal adhesion and durability.
Does primer stop rust from spreading?
Rust is a common problem for metal surfaces that are exposed to the elements. Rust can spread quickly, leading to expensive repairs and replacements.
Primer is indeed an effective way to stop rust in its tracks and protect the paint on metal surfaces from further damage. Priming your metal surfaces before painting them creates a barrier that stops moisture from getting inside and prevents rust from forming or spreading further. Primer also helps the paint adhere better to the surface so it lasts longer, ensuring your metal remains free of rust for years to come.
To get the best results when preventing rust, make sure you use a quality primer specifically designed for rusty metals and follow all instructions carefully when applying it to your surface.