Can I Use Metal Paint on Wood? Types of Spray Paints to Use

Last Updated on May, 2024

You’re in the final stages of your woodworking project, and you find out that the paint you’ve been using all this time is coming to an end. So you come to your storage only to find that there’s no other wood paint left, and the only thing you have in there is some leftover metal paint. 

If used on a metal surface, Metal Paint can produce outstanding results. However, since this is wood, the question is, will it get along properly? 

Most people have this question, and the answer to this is pretty straightforward.

Read on and find out “can you use metal paint on wood!”


Is it Possible to Use Metal Paints on Wood?

Using metal spray paint on wood

Yes, it’s absolutely possible to use metal paint on wood. 

Even though it is intended to be used on metal surfaces, it can produce great results if applied properly on wood. 

However, don’t expect the metal paint to provide results just like wood paints if used on wood. They can most likely look a little less flattering along with less durability and flexibility.

Also, you need to ensure two things before applying metal paint on your wooden surfaces to get maximum results. I’ll discuss both of these below, but before that, you need to know the type of metal paint that can be used on wooden surfaces. 

Types of Metal Paints to Use While Painting Wood

Types of metal paints

Paints are mostly made up of oil and latex and can be used on most surfaces, including metal, wood, glass, ceramic, and plastic, to name a few. 

So, both latex and oil-based metal paint can be used on wood.

However, everything comes down to which paint works best on the surface and the type of finish you’re trying to achieve. Let’s take a look at that.

We’ll start with oil-based paints first. These work in harmony with both metal surfaces and wood surfaces, and if you want durable finishes, this is probably the one you should go with.

The durability also comes as an added advantage because it can stand even in the most extreme weather conditions. This is great if you’re thinking of using the paint for outdoor woods.

When compared to water-based paints, oil-based paints dry slower. This is not a downside; instead, it’s a great advantage as it’ll make the surface more smoother. And not to mention, it’ll provide you with more time to work.

So, all in all, if oil-based metal paint is what you have, there is a high chance that it’ll work better with wood. 

Latex paint is up next and, similar to oil-based paint works very well with both metal surface and wood surface. This type of paint comes in two forms; interior and exterior. 

Exterior latex paint, even though it is made to deal with heat and humidity, may not hold up under harsh outdoor conditions, and the same goes for interior latex. As a result, they’re even less durable than the exterior and provide less protection. 

So, with all things considered, the oil-based paint is a better option and can work much better with a wooden surface.

Getting the Wood Prepared Before Applying Metal Paint

wood sanding

Getting your wooden surface prepared properly is more than essential before using metal paint on it. If the surface isn’t prepared properly, the paint won’t be sticking to the surface properly. 

Even the finish won’t turn out to be what you were hoping for. So make sure you prepare the wood that’s being painted properly. To do so, here are some tips you can follow. 

  • Clean The Wooden Surface. Getting your wood cleaned up thoroughly before painting is very essential. Everything that’s on the wood; dust, dirt, wax, and other materials, should be gotten rid of before you apply metal paint. First, using a wet cloth and following it up with a dry cloth would be ideal. Or else, you can clean with a vacuum and use a soft cloth to wipe everything up. No matter what you use, make sure you have a clean and dry surface to start the painting in the end.
  • Repairing. After a thorough cleaning, if you find any holes and cracks in the wood, you’ll have to repair and fill it. Also, if you encounter any rough patches, sand them and get them smoothed out. If your wood has previously applied paint in them, you’ll have to sort it out too. To do that, a paint stripper or sanding can help. After everything’s done, use fine grit sandpaper to smooth the surface out.
  • Cleaning Once More. After repairing, you’ll have to go through the cleaning process once again. Follow what’s mentioned above and get the wooden surface cleaned for optimal results.
  • Let The Wood Dry Completely. To get all the trapped moisture off the wood, you’ll need to let the wood dry out. Doing this is essential because if there’s any moisture in the wood once the painting is done, it can lead to the structure of the wood getting damaged and can cause warping and splitting. This will take around 24 hours.
  • Cover The Areas You Don’t Want To Apply Paint. Cover up the wooden surface areas where you don’t want paint. Use a painter’s tape for this purpose. It’s also better to cover the surrounding area with old newspapers or plastic drop cloths.
  • Use Acrylic Latex Bonding Primer Or Any Other Suitable Primer For Your Paint. The wooden surface should be thoroughly primed with a suitable primer for your paint. This will ensure the metal paint stays perfect after being applied without peeling off the surface or cracking. Once the primer is applied, wait for at least three hours so that it can dry.

Using a primer before painting is very important as it will prevent the wood from soaking up all the paint plus. 

So, these are the steps you’ll need to be following before actually starting the paint job. Make sure to follow it thoroughly for maximum results. 

Applying the Metal Paint on the Wooden Surface Properly

Spraying paint on a wood

Now that your wood is perfectly prepared, it’s time to apply the paint. You can’t just apply as you wish; there are some important factors that you’ll need to follow if you want that perfect finish. So, here’s what you need to know about it. 

  • Mix Up The Paint First. Before getting started, it’s essential that you mix the metal paint properly. Doing this can get the ingredients of the paint mixed up well, which’ll lead to a better overall result. 
  • Apply Thin Layers Of Paint. Once everything’s mixed up, you’re ready to get started. Make sure the layers of paint you apply are thin. Applying thick layers of metal paints can make them look dotty. That’s not the only reason to go with thin layers. If you apply the paint in several thin layers, it can make the paint become more flexible. 
  • Wait For The First Layer To Dry Before Applying The Next. This is vital. You need to wait for the very first layer to dry thoroughly before going for the next (the time it takes to dry depends on the type of metal paint you’re using). 
  • In The End, Apply A Clear Sealer. After you’re done painting, the next process is to apply a clear sealer on top of the painted wood. As you may know, wood gets affected due to many factors, and to combat this and provide the wood with some extra protection, a wood sealant is ideal. It’s even better if the sealant is waterproof.

Things to Keep in Mind While Using Metal Paint on Wood

There are some important things to keep in mind while you paint wood with metal paint to make the results more evident. Below I’ll list some of those.

  • Before everything, it is important that you check the moisture content of the wood you’re about to paint and make sure it is dried enough. Not doing this can lead to the wood being painted degrading faster or even can mess up the paint job.
  • If everything’s perfectly dried, apply a primer before actually painting. 
  • Apply thin layers of metal paint instead of thick ones as it can improve the final result. 
  • It is important that you only apply the next coat after the previous one dries. 
  • Stability and durability-wise, don’t expect too much because, as you may know, metal paint is not made with wood in mind. 
  • The right coating should be used for the right surface, plus don’t forget to follow everything mentioned under the instructions thoroughly. 
  • Seek expert help if you’re struggling to get info about the paint you have and how to use it.
  • The general rule while painting on wood is to move the paintbrush starting from the top. That’ll help with dripping paint.
  • A 280 fine-grit sandpaper should be used while sanding the surface that you’re about to paint. Also, be gentle. 

Can a Metal Paint Be Used on Any Type of Wood? 

Spraying metl paint on wood

Metal paint can be applied on wooden objects and surfaces, but the process and the way of applying the paint will be different from one another. Let’s take softwood and hardwood as examples. 

If you have softwood, you’ll need to care extra while painting them. The main reason is that they’re known to rot. In some instances, the type of wood also has knots; there’s a chance of this getting popped while painting if proper care is not taken. 

Those knots could be a major headache while painting, so shape them up before starting. 

And the next thing is blue stains, another problem the softwood is known to get affected with. If your wood has gotten affected, grab a chemical stripper, which’ll help you loosen the finish. Once that’s done, use a steel wool to get rid of the spots.

Next is, you’ll have to apply some treatment to the wood before painting because the softwood also needs more protection against fungi. 

Compared to softwood, hardwood is much better in almost every aspect. Overall, hardwoods require less treatment and maintenance. However, it is more expensive than softwood.

That said, the takeaway is that if you have hardwood, your life will be much easier. All you have to do is follow everything mentioned above.

Will Using Metal Paint on Outdoor Wood Work?

Yes, you can apply metal paints to outdoor wood. 

Window frames, doors, and other similar outdoor woods go through a lot that’ll significantly take a toll on the finish. 

Over time the wood also gets damaged much quicker due to heat, rain, snow, and other factors. 

Metal paints, in that regard, are designed to be more protective. They can withstand almost all harsh weather conditions with no problems. So painting outdoor woods with metal paint adds that extra durability. 

If you’re painting your outdoor wood with metal paint, you have to follow the same process mentioned above. 

What About Metal Primer on Wood?

Metal Primer on Wood

As we’ve mentioned above, priming is one of the important factors that should be considered before painting. It is what makes the metal paint stick to the wood properly. 

To prime a wood, you should have either a high-quality latex primer, oil-based primer, or even a stain-blocking primer, depending on the wood you have.

But what if you don’t have these? The only thing you’ve got is a metal primer?

If that’s the case, I have bad news for you! 

Unlike using metal paint on wood, you can’t use metal primer on wood. This is because it won’t get along very well and can lead to wastage of paint and time.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! 

Painting wood with metal paint is possible. However, there’s a lot to consider before you start the process. Go through everything mentioned above and follow them properly if you want the best results.

Just don’t use metal primers in the process. Keep that in mind!


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