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Painting can revamp many surfaces, including metal objects such as chairs, bed frames and handrails. As with any DIY project, it is important to be fully prepared; this will minimise mistakes and ensure the longevity of the handiwork. As it is a material prone to rust, there are some particular considerations to make when painting metal.

Before painting any metal surface, identify what type of metal is being worked with as this should inform how it is cleaned. The easy way to identify if the metal is galvanised or ferrous is by using a magnet. A magnet will stick to ferrous metal, which is a type prone to rusting; this should be treated with a wire brush to clean rust spots and wiped over with a damp cloth to remove dust. Galvanised metal will not stick to a magnet, as its surface is usually oiled; this can be cleaned with detergent to prevent the paint sticking. Old or leftover paint should be removed before painting any type of metal.

Most metal surfaces will require some sort of priming or preparation before painting, but the level of perfection required will depend on what is being painted. For example, a garden bench might just need some old paint flakes removed and smoothed down, whereas more time is likely to be given to a car door which requires several layers of undercoat. It is crucial to always ensure any paint or primer is formulated for use on metal.

Less experienced decorators should take care when working with any new materials and might consider seeking professional advice from a reputable and experienced company such as Scott Anson Painters & Decorators Ltd.

As with other paint types, there are numerous varieties of metal paint available. Some decorators prefer particular brands or manufacturers and, in some cases, the ingredients in the paint will differ. General purpose spray paints are the most common choice and come in a range of types and colours: primer is typically used to create a base before applying a top coat; metallic paints use different colour pigments to create a distinct shine; heat resistant paint can cope with high temperatures; and matt or gloss top coat paints will provide a dull or shiny finish respectively.

Cost is another important consideration for many, with budget manufacturers producing cheaper paints. However, a good quality finish is usually still possible with the more cost-effective options.

Painting metal can be a straightforward project if time is taken to understand the surface and prepare.