Master Paint Prep for Perfect Painted Metal Cabinets

Paint prep is essential when painting metal.

Paint metal perfectly by starting with good prep.

Paint prep is an important part of any renovation project. If metal cabinets aren’t properly prepared, paint won’t stick to them and won’t be applied smoothly. In other words, those cabinets will end up looking even worse than they did before the new paint was applied — and what’s the point of that? Master a few tips to achieve perfect paint application.

SkilToolsClean the Canvas

Before painting anything, start with a clean surface. Empty drawers and clear off shelves inside the cabinet. Then, clean the whole thing with a mild antibacterial soap and plain water. Let the cabinet dry completely before continuing.

Sand every part of the metal that will be painted. Sanding is the most essential step of paint prep, because the surface of the metal needs to be slightly rough so the paint will stick. Sanding will remove existing paint and rust as well as help the new paint be applied more evenly.

Prepare for Painting

Wipe down the metal down after sanding to remove dust and loose paint from the surface. Don’t forget another essential step in paint prep: picking the right paint. Look for paint that’s formulated specifically for metal. Make the entire project go more quickly by selecting a two-in-one paint that has primer mixed right in; this allows you to skip an entire step.

Before painting, place newspaper or a drop cloth to cover the floor and any furniture or countertops beneath the cabinet. No matter how careful you may be, there will always be drips.

Remove drawers completely whenever possible, and paint them separately from the rest of the metal cabinet. Take hardware (handles and hinges) off the cabinet if they are not going to be painted, or cover them with painter’s tape. Otherwise, leave them in place and paint right over them.

A Perfect Paint Job

When metal cabinets are properly prepared, paint will glide right on evenly and smoothly. It will be less likely to flake or chip away, and the finished project will look that much more beautiful. Master perfect prep for painting metal, and you can easily renovate any metal object for a whole new look.


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