How to spray paint rusted metal

One of the most frequently asked questions I see on social media is “Can I spray paint over rust? You may be surprised to find that the answer is yes and, in this guide, I will explain each step on the topic of how to spray paint rusted metal.

But you must prepare your surface properly first. In this blog, we will look at surface preparation for spray painting.

How to spray paint rusted metal

If you are a newbie then you should follow each point I have explained in this blog post in order to achieve the results which you desire.

How to spray paint rusted metal?

Here are the points which I will explain now and which I personally follow whenever I spray paint rusted metal surfaces. These key points are also for beginners who are new to this painting work.

Project Overview

Working time on metal

20-35 mins

Total time

1-3 hrs

Skill level needed


Tools you need to spray paint rusted metal

Tools you need to remove rust

  • Angle grinder
  • Corded drill
  • Wire brush
  • Wire wheel
  • Sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Grinders
  • Chemical rust removers (CLR)
  • Sandblasting
  • Electrolysis
  • Ultrasonic cleaner
  • Pulse laser (expensive)

You can use any of the above tools to remove rust from the metal surface

  • Rust-inhibitive primer
  • Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer

Remove Loose Rust and previous Paint

There are a few ways to remove loose rust from metal surfaces. A wire brush can be used to scrub the rust off, or sandpaper can be used to sand it away.

How to spray paint rusted metal

Chemical rust removers are also available, and these can be effective at removing rust without damaging the metal underneath.

You can also use a sandblaster for removing rust from metal surfaces. You can also use other methods to remove the rust from the metal surfaces before spray painting.

Protect metal from rusting again

If you’re looking to protect your metal surfaces from rust, you’ll need to use a rust converting primer. This type of primer contains a chemical that converts rust into a protective coating.

It’s important to follow the instructions on the primer label, as application methods can vary. In general, you’ll want to clean the metal surface with a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any loose rust.

Then, you’ll apply the primer with a brush or roller, making sure to cover the entire surface. Once the primer is dry, you can paint over it with a topcoat of paint.

Apply rust preventative primer

If you’re working with metal that has already been rust-free, you can apply a Rust Preventative Primer to help keep it that way.

This type of primer contains a rust-inhibiting agent that will help to protect the metal from future rust and corrosion. To apply the primer, simply follow the instructions on the product label.

Spray paint metal

After you have cleaned the metal surface, dulled it, and dried it completely, you are ready to start spray painting. Make sure to use an appropriate primer for the best results.

Begin by holding the can of paint about 10-12 inches away from the surface. Use smooth, even strokes to apply the paint evenly. Allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step.


You can’t paint directly over rusted metal because the rust will continue to spread and will eventually flake off, taking the paint with it. You need to remove the rust first by sanding or using a chemical rust remover. Once the rust is gone, you can paint over the metal with a primer and then paint.

If you’re looking for paint that will stick to rusty metal, pick anti-rust paint. This type of paint is specifically designed to adhere to metal surfaces, and it will help protect the metal from further corrosion. To apply the paint, first clean the surface of the metal to remove any dirt or grime. Then, apply a thin layer of paint, using a brush or roller. Once the paint is dry, apply a second coat for extra protection.

Vinegar is a common household ingredient that can be used for a variety of purposes, including cleaning. One common use for vinegar is removing rust from metal surfaces. Vinegar is acidic, and this acidity can help to break down the rust and remove it from the surface. There are a few different ways to use vinegar to remove rust, and the most effective method may vary depending on the severity of the rust. For light rust, you can simply soak the affected area in vinegar for a few hours or overnight. For more severe rust, you may need to scrub the surface with a vinegar-soaked rag or brush. Vinegar is a natural and effective way to remove rust, and it is also safe to use around children and pets.

Paint is a common and effective way to stop rust. It works by creating a barrier between the metal and the oxygen in the air. This barrier prevents the oxygen from coming into contact with the metal, which is what causes rust. Paint can also provide a protective layer that will help to prevent rust from forming in the first place.

Conclusion on how to spray paint rusted metal

I hope the article on how to spray paint rusted metal has helped you get started and you have all the information you need to get started. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please leave them below in the comments section. I try to respond to every question or comment as soon as I can.

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