Best Paint For Metal Cabinets: Expert View

Compositions for painting metal must conform exactly to the characteristic indicated on the label. The main feature of metal paints is to prevent corrosion and increase the service life.

What types of paints there are, how do determine the quality of metal and how do properly paint metal surfaces, and what is the best paint for metal cabinets?

We will learn about this in our article.

Let’s start with the last question if you need to hurry up and don’t have much time. After that, you will learn why I chose this product.

THE ONE Paint & Primer: Best paint for metal cabinets

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets
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If you are pressed for time and want to paint your metal cabinet in the shortest possible time, THE ONE Paint & Primer is what you’ve been looking for! The unique formula of this product allows you to do without pre-painting because the name speaks for itself: you have both primers and paint in your hands. That makes it the best paint for metal cabinets.

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets

This amazing product has the following unique properties: non-toxic, water-based, low odor, and ultra-low VO. It contains no heavy metals and is made in the UK.

How does THE ONE Paint & Primer work on a metal cabinet surface?

Very easy and simple! You can use either a brush or a paint gun — this paint does a great job with these tools. It’s better to clean the cabinet of dust and rust beforehand for better adhesion, but trust me: this paint goes equally well on a rusty or cleaned surface.

What’s more, it can be used on metal, plastic, brick, stone, concrete, and more surfaces. This product will evenly coat almost anything!

Personal experience with THE ONE Paint & Primer

For my experiments, I needed to paint a small metal cabinet in my garage a black, glossy color. A close friend of mine recommended THE ONE Paint & Primer because he had recently painted his kitchen and was very enthusiastic about the paint. Well, I decided to take it and I was right!

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets

Since my cabinet had been sitting idle for a long time, I had to dust it off beforehand and scrape the rust off the corner with a metal brush for rayon adhesion. Also, I used a grinder to prepare the surface for the best adhesion of this paint.

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets

I took a simple wide brush, opened the can of paint, stirred it thoroughly, and began applying the first coat. The paint was applied tightly and covered the painted surface perfectly.

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets

Believe me, even on the first coat of paint I wanted to stop because the result was excellent! The manufacturer claims it dries quickly, in about 2 hours, but it took me about 3 hours to wait to cover with a second coat. Maybe it depends on the temperature conditions, I had it quite cool.

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets


The best paint for metal cabinets. Virtually no odor, dries quickly, and has an extensive color selection. Two coats are required for best results. On the downside: small volume for the current price and the white color is a bit gray, which is quite strange. Other than that, it’s a super product!


  • Innovation formula 2-in-1 solution (primer+paint)
  • Water-based paint
  • Low VOC
  • Low odor
  • Need 1 or 2 coats for idea result


  • Need more time for drying whether in advertising (about 3 hours)
  • Not so many colors and the problem with the white one

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Why do you need to paint metal?

Gates, canopies, garage boxes, or any other metal structures over time begin to deteriorate and require updating. This is especially true for structures that are outdoors.

The main enemy of all metals is water (especially salt water) and oxygen. The reaction of oxygen and water triggers oxidation processes that are not easy to stop.

There are types of metals that do not succumb to corrosion, for instance – aluminum, which is covered with a special protective layer – aluminum oxide.

But if you do not treat the surfaces with protective coatings, the parts will quickly rust, and the structure itself will be fragile and in some places may burst.

Metal parts have a smooth surface: for this reason, they have poor adhesion (adhesion to surfaces of solids or liquids). This means that not all paint compositions may be suitable.

High-quality anti-corrosive paint for metal must not only “lie down” well, but also protect the metal from moisture. If you choose a bad material, then not even a year will pass and the gate will be covered with rust and start creaking.

Pre-primer: types of the mixture, which one to choose?

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets

Before painting, it is recommended to apply a layer of primer to the metal – the solution not only reduces the consumption of paint and varnish materials but also improves adhesion to the surfaces, slows oxidation processes, and enhances the protective function of the structure.

Primer varies in composition, and the choice of solution depends on the degree of damage.

Types of primer for metal cabinets

  1. Passivating – thanks to the salts of chromic acid (chromates), the metal becomes less susceptible to moisture. The more chromates in the composition, the slower the rust is formed.
  2. Insulating – primer with the addition of epoxy or alkyd compositions. Economy option, suitable for black metal, the parts are covered with a protective, water-repellent film.
  3. Phosphating – most often treated with galvanized iron, the primer is more related to passivating compositions (suitable for restoration of non-ferrous metals).
  4. Protective – contains phosphoric acid, which forms a water-repellent film on the metal, suitable for the treatment of old, rusty structures.
  5. Inhibiting – a relatively new composition on a water basis suspends the formation of rust and increases the shelf life.
  6. Regardless of the composition and its purpose, the primer compound comes in different colors and is never transparent – so when painting, it’s easier to see missed areas and paint over them.

What criteria to choose a paint for metal cabinets: types and characteristics

The enamel helps protect metal surfaces from the negative effects of ultraviolet and moisture. The main thing is to choose the right paint material.

Paint for metal surfaces differs in temperature of application.

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets

To lay a layer evenly, follow the instructions on the jar – if the temperature is specified as 36 F ° or 52 F °, then you need to paint the fence only at this temperature.

Also, do not forget about the maximum indicators after the paint dries: if you exceed the marked temperature, the surface will begin to deteriorate.

It is important to know what solvents can dilute the materials.

Water-based paints do not have a pungent odor, and the addition of a solvent increases not only the toxicity but also the cost of the composition.

Some enamels can be applied only on a clean, degreased metal surface, and there are paints for painting metal surfaces on rust – for severely damaged parts (the composition contains solutions that remove old corrosion).

Rust paint is applied directly to an untreated surface

Some compositions dry in 4-5 hours, while others take 11-12 hours.

There are also differences in how to apply – for painting large areas is recommended to use a roller (then the paint should be chosen for density), and for small structures (eg, wicket) is more economical to use a brush.

Hiding Power

An important factor – is the ability of the paint material to overlap the color of the surface (hiding power).

For 33.8 ounces of paint can go from 85 to 430 sq feet. The amount of paint consumed depends on the saturation of the previous coat.


The color chosen influences the final result: matte, semi-matt, or shade with the addition of gloss.

Some paints are designed to paint metal parts indoors, while others are only suitable for exterior facade work. It is better to choose 3 in 1 paints for metal – they are multifunctional.

When painting a heating system or chimney, it is important to consider the properties of the materials to resist the stress caused by high temperatures. The higher the heat resistance, the higher the quality of the paint and the longer it will last.

How to paint a metal cabinet

Instead of replacing old metal kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, or file cabinets, update them with paint. It’s also much cheaper to buy used metal cabinets for those who need extra furniture to store things. Paint will make them look almost new, and they can be painted in any color of the rainbow.

Artisans can even paint patterns or images on metal cabinets to turn them into unique works of art. To paint a metal cabinet, you only need a few basic tools and supplies. Painting cabinets is a fun and easy project.

If the metal cabinet is on the wall, remove it with a drill or screwdriver. Ask a friend to hold the cabinet to make it easier to remove.

Remove any doors, hinges, drawers, hooks, or knobs, and then inspect the cabinets for dents. In some old metal cabinets, it happens that the knobs won’t come off. If they do, cover them with molar tape or paint them the same color as the cabinets.

If there are any dents, tap them out with a hammer on a smooth block of wood. Measure the cabinets, and then already purchase enough paint and primer to provide at least two coats of each material. Choose a well-ventilated area to work in and use a cloth to protect the environment from the paint.

Additional materials for painting metal cabinets

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets

You know the best paint for metal cabinets, but you may also need additional materials as you start your job:

  1. Rust remover: removes rust from metal
  2. Paint thinner: softens old paint to make it easier to remove
  3. Sandpaper: removes old paint, creates an even surface for paint
  4. Mineral solvents: dissolve any oil or grease on the body and evaporates quickly
  5. Primer: creates a better surface for painting
  6. Paint Tape: covers areas where paint is not needed. Helps make straight, clean lines when painting structures, in more than one color

Gather all necessary materials before you begin painting. Other general preparations include safety glasses, dust masks, rubber gloves, rags, and a hammer. Mineral spirits and rust remover are not required unless the metal cabinet is dirty or rusted.


The metal must be clean, dry and without any shine, for the new paint to lay well. Scrape off any peeling paint with a paint scraper, then apply the paint to a thinner rag and use it to remove more paint. Remove any remaining paint or rust with 200 grit sandpaper.

A special sanding tool is very helpful at this stage. Don’t forget to lock doors and drawers as well. Use safety glasses and a dust mask to protect yourself from paint particles. After sanding, wash off the dust with soapy water and then let the workpiece dry for about a day.


Because metal is not porous, paint does not stick to it easily. Applying primer before painting will keep the paint from flaking off during use. The primer also seals in any surface spots or rust left on the metal after sanding. The primer is resistant to corrosion.

When using an aerosol can follow the instructions on the label. Shake the spray can and then hold them a few inches apart while spraying on the cabinet. Start painting by spraying at the top of the cabinet and then apply several thin, even coats along the cabinet. Allow the primer to dry for at least 30 minutes between coats.

After the primer dries, use sandpaper to remove any imperfections before applying paint.

Apply several thin coats of liquid or spray paint designed for use on metal over the primer. Use a small brush to cover hard-to-reach areas and cracks.

When painting, pour the paint into a plastic cup and dip the brush into the cup. Allow the paint to dry completely between the joints. This may take several hours to one day depending on the level of humidity.

Cleaning and Assembly

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets

When the last coat of paint is completely dry, discard all used materials in a sealed plastic bag. Then insert the cabinet doors and drawers along with replacement hooks, hinges, or handles. This is a great time to review the new cabinet hardware for a completely updated look. Reinstall the cabinet on the wall if necessary.

What paints are suitable for metal cabinets?

Metal furniture is usually divided into wrought iron furniture and profile furniture. Wrought iron furniture is usually made of mild steel.

Best Paint For Metal Cabinets

The undeniable advantage of wrought iron items is the highest strength and durability. The manufacturing technology of such furniture is to forge blanks, joining parts by welding, rivets, or staples, followed by painting.

Metal profile furniture, as a rule, is made of aluminum or galvanized steel. Metal frame furniture is now becoming increasingly popular.

Today, folding and stationary tables, chairs, armchairs, and lounge chairs on aluminum or steel frame can be found in many suburban areas. Metal frame products have several advantages over their wooden and wicker counterparts.

Just like forged, this furniture is resistant to external influences and does not require special care, in addition, it serves much longer.

To paint garden furniture forged we recommend using decorative enamel liquid plastic or hammered enamel.

These anti-corrosion enamels are optimal for painting any metal furniture:

  • Forged furniture (beds, tables, chairs, benches, hangers);
  • Metal furniture on a metal frame (chairs, tables, stools);
  • Metal furniture (cabinets, shelves, safes).

What paints are there and how do they differ?

Oil paint

The olive in its composition creates a water-repellent film on the surface of parts. Olifa is an oily liquid obtained from vegetable oils.

After application, it thickens and dries very quickly. Olifa can be linseed, hemp, or sunflower (hardens the longest).

It is not recommended to treat zinc or aluminum with oil paint, it simply will not “lay”. Paint based on olive is good to do a preliminary primer.


  • A beautiful coating
  • No pungent smell
  • Not high cost.


  • Even after 3 years, the surface needs to be re-painted.
  • Fades quickly under the influence of the sun.
  • Low corrosion protection, the metal surface can rust under the layer of paint.
  • Only suitable for temporary use.

Nitrocellulose Paint (Nitra)

Nitrocellulose enamel for metal, fast drying but with a very pungent smell. After only half an hour the painted parts are ready for use. Fast drying depends mainly on the method of application. Most often a paint gun is used for painting.


The smell of the enamel is so strong that the paint is not bought in hospitals, sanatoriums, schools, and kindergartens.

It is possible to work with enamel inside the room only with good ventilation.


  • Fast-drying paint on metal.
  • Does not require dilution with solvents.
  • The economical consumption (up to 4.5 ounces per 10 sq feet if several layers are applied, and about 1 ounce if one layer).
  • Affordable price.

It is better to buy the enamel in special bottles. Nitro enamel can be painted not only on metal but also on wood and concrete. Sometimes the paint is diluted with acetone.

Alkyd enamel

Universal, ecological, durable (metal retains its original appearance not less than 10-20 years), comes in different colors as well as glossy and matte.

The main component of the paint – is alkyd pentaphthalic and glyphthalic varnish which enhances the gloss.

The base of the enamel is pentaphthalic resin, vegetable, or tall oil. It is recommended to paint in several layers, using a paint gun or brush.

Alkyd paint on metal repels water and protects the metal from rust. Still, you need to watch the labeling: digital values indicate exactly what surfaces can be painted (PF-133 is suitable specifically for metal). PF – abbreviated pentothal.


  • Resistant to ultraviolet and temperature fluctuations
  • High-quality protection against corrosion (a layer is formed)
  • Good price
  • Protection against fungus and mold
  • Maintaining a rich color for a long period
  • Durability
  • Protective film withstands cleaning with whitewash or chlorine


  • A pungent smell (the first sign of toxicity and flammability)
  • drying time
  • cost
  • difficulty in selecting the right composition

Previously, alkyd paint painted only iron structures, now enamel is widely used in the painting of concrete walls.

Before applying, it is necessary to pre-clean and degrease the surface. It becomes thick if stored for a long time (then the paint is diluted with white spirit).

Acrylic paint

Water-based compositions are considered the best material for painting metal cabinets.


  • Acrylic paint for metal is characterized by good adhesion (high level of adhesion to the surface) and long service life.
  • After drying, an elastic protective film is formed on the metal surface that prevents the paint from cracking under the influence of the environment.
  • Substances in the composition prevent the peeling of the decorative layer and neutralize the effect of oxidative processes.
  • The paint can be easily washed off tools (hence you can safely use a spray gun),
  • It does not decay under the influence of ultraviolet light
  • It is not inflammable and non-toxic
  • It can be diluted with water

Epoxy paint

The material consists of epoxy resin, sometimes adding a coloring pigment or hardener resin. There are several types of paint materials: two-component enamel (used in the home) in the form of powder and aerosol.

Most often the paint is used to renew decorative metal parts inside the house, not outside.

The peculiarity of the composition is to give the metal a glossy appearance.


  • Water repellent
  • Non-combustible
  • Elastic
  • Has a high adhesive effect.
  • Can be applied in one layer
  • Large selection of colors
  • Resistant to the aggressive environment (alkalis, acids, salts) and damage
  • Epoxy paint is used for painting cars, batteries, oil or petrol barrels, tanks

Hammered paint

It is worth noting that the price of the material is not small, but the quality is at a high level. After treatment, even the most corroded parts will seem new.

Composition: synthetic resin, aluminum powder, ground glass, silicone, and additives that increase resistance to adverse weather conditions.

Paint for metal cabinets and rust masks the roughness and minor defects on metal parts, and silicone and aluminum powder give the surfaces a noble appearance.

Paint can be compared to polymer coating, a more expensive material (many manufacturers pass off hammer paint as a polymer).

Beware of fakes in the markets – the lower the price of the paint material, the higher the likelihood of deception.


  • It takes no more than 2 hours to dry
  • Non-toxic, without a pungent odor
  • A large selection of colors does not tarnish, and long retains its original appearance
  • To structures do not stick to dust
  • No need for pre-cleaning before the application
  • After processing the composition inhibits the formation of corrosion
  • The maximum service life is up to 10 years
  • After heavy damage or impact, the part may bend, but the coating will not break off
  • It is possible to paint safes


  • High price
  • Remove the paint is very difficult, not all solvents help
  • Anticorrosive compositions: types

Paint for painting metal cabinets on rust does not allow metal structures to deteriorate and increases the service life. Now that you know the best paint for metal cabinets, go out and conquer your next project!

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