Although stainless steel already looks good by itself, you might have good reason to want to spray paint it. Your object could be aging and in need of maintenance or some freshening, or you may wish to increase your stainless steel’s durability. So, can you spray paint stainless steel?

You can spray paint stainless steel, but it will need some degree of preparation. If your stainless steel piece is already worn out, paint will easily stick to it. However, if it’s brand new and you want to change its color, you’ll need to use a primer.

This article will talk about paint compatible with stainless steel and how to paint stainless steel. Likewise, you’ll learn when stainless steel should be painted and a couple of things to remember when spraying paint on stainless steel.

Paint Compatible With Stainless Steel

The most effective type of paint for stainless steel is epoxy paint. Epoxy paints are usually used on floors, but they’re compatible with stainless steel as well. Epoxy is highly adhesive, which is perfect since stainless steel is resistant to bonding. 

How to Spray Paint Stainless Steel

While you can just get away with maintaining your stainless steel piece, you may want to spray paint it if the damage on your piece is too much or if you want a change of design or shade. So, how can you spray paint stainless steel?

To spray paint stainless steel, ensure you have a proper area to paint in on first. Then, prepare your object, start painting, and let it dry. If the stainless steel piece is old and has patches on it, you may need to do some scraping.

Meanwhile, if the piece is brand new, you’ll need to prime it. Keep in mind that stainless steel requires proper preparation for the spray painting to succeed. Likewise, choosing the right coating for its environment affects how long the paint sticks.

Prepare Your Paint Space

It’s good practice to have adequate space when you’re spray painting any object. Gather newspapers and cardboard to use as fodder when you paint.

You’ll be placing your stainless steel on top of it if you can lift the piece. Alternatively, you can place the newspapers around the stainless steel if you can’t lift it.

Prepare Your Steel Piece

Your stainless steel should not have debris, water, old paint, or dust on it. This will result in an uneven spray-painted piece. Hence, be prepared to scrape the steel’s surface as needed.

Sandpaper, steel wool, and emery cloth work great when scraping things off of stainless steel. After scraping, use acetone on the metal to prepare it for painting.

Prepare Yourself and Your Paint

To prepare yourself:

  1. Wear a mask, goggles, and gloves.
  2. Prepare the paint by shaking the can for at least a minute.
  3. Spray its contents on a newspaper or cardboard.

This ensures a smoother next spray and gives you time to check if splotches will occur or if the nozzle is working correctly or not.

Spray Paint Stainless Steel

If your stainless steel piece is already worn out, and you’re done scraping the rust, debris, and other things from it to reveal the bare metal behind it, you can skip the primer if you want. The paint will likely stick to the already-damaged piece better than if the piece were new.

However, if your steel doesn’t have many damages to it or is brand new, using a primer is necessary. A primer will be the reason your paint sticks to the stainless steel in the first place. This is due to the bonding agents they contain, which helps the epoxy better adhere to the metal.

If you can’t think of which primer to use, check out Rust-Oleum Flat Gray Primer on Amazon. Rust-Oleum is a well-known brand, and they specialize in different kinds of paint for plenty of occasions and purposes.

Once you’re done priming your steel piece, allow it to dry before spray painting it. Then, after painting a layer, remember to let it dry once more before adding another layer.

If you want to watch a video of someone spray-painting stainless steel, check out CPR 4 the Body’s faucet spray painting clip on YouTube linked below. There, she shows you how she cleans her faucet, uses a primer, and then proceeds with spraying her faucet with a two-in-one primer and paint spray.

When Should Stainless Steel Be Painted?

Generally, stainless steel doesn’t need to be painted. Stainless steel is already built to be durable, corrosion-resistant, and rust-resistant. In fact, polished stainless steel can’t be painted.

However, when you have a lower class of stainless steel or unpolished steel, you can paint it. The reasons for painting stainless steel can be quite numerous. You may want a color change, or you may want to increase its durability.

Spray painting stainless steel is sometimes a great option if you want a change in design. Likewise, it’s a wise decision if you want to add to its durability when your steel piece is of a low class. In that case, spray painting the metal would add to its life, beauty, and purpose.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Use a primer before spray painting stainless steel for better results. Stainless steel primers are made to ensure paint sticks to the metal.
  • Consider why you’re painting stainless steel in the first place, and then paint accordingly. If you’re painting your piece to increase its durability, make sure you prepare it thoroughly and use ample amounts of spray paint. 
  • Use at least three coats when to spray paint stainless steel. Using three coats will ensure your color actually shows, sticks, and stays.
  • When in doubt, ask your local hardware personnel for advice. They’re often experienced with the areas they handle, so it’s wise to seek them out when you’re confused about something. 


You don’t need to paint stainless steel, but you can spray paint stainless steel. However, you need to prepare your steel piece properly. Likewise, opt for epoxy spray paint when painting stainless steel.

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