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.

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.

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. You can sand the metal before painting rust and you can follow my guide if you don’t know the method.

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.

Want to get some tips on spray painting metal then check out my blog. It will for sure help you a lot if you are just a newbie.

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.

What is the best way to paint over rusty metal?

The best way to paint over rusty metal is to first clean and remove as much rust as possible. This can be done with a wire brush or sandpaper.

Then, apply a rust-inhibiting primer specifically designed for metal surfaces.

Allow the primer to dry completely before applying the topcoat of the paint. It is also important to use paint that is suitable for metal surfaces.

What happens if you just paint over rust?

If you just paint over rust without removing it or treating it first, the paint will not adhere properly and will eventually peel and flake off.

The rust will continue to spread underneath the paint, causing further damage to the metal.

In addition, the paint will not provide adequate protection to the metal, as rust will continue to form on the surface.

It is important to remove as much rust as possible and apply a rust-inhibiting primer before painting to ensure proper adhesion and rust protection.

Will rust keep spreading under paint?

Rust will continue to spread under the paint if it is not properly treated before painting. The rust will eat away at the metal and will eventually cause the paint to peel and flake off.

Rust inhibitors can be added to paint to slow down the rusting process, but it will not completely stop it, it only slows it down.

The best way to prevent rust from spreading is to remove as much rust as possible and to apply a rust-inhibiting primer before painting to ensure proper adhesion and rust protection.

FAQ’s of How to spray paint rusted metal

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.

Matthew Edward

Matthew Edward is a professional painter who loves to paint and wants to share useful tips and tricks which he had learned in many years of experience in painting. He also used many products that can be used for painting he has tried and tested each and every product to give an unbias opinion about it in his review. This blog is very useful for those newbies who want to learn painting without making mistakes.

Leave a Comment