Can You Use Chalk Paint on Metal? (How-To)

Before picking paint for metal, you need to know if the paint is suitable for metal surfaces which bring us to our question- Can you use chalk paint on metal? Here is the answer to that.

You can use chalk paint on Metal. Chalk paint is water-based paint designed to be used on different surfaces including metal. Chalk paint also adheres well on metal and the finish can be sealed with a topcoat if needed to improve the durability of the chalk.

However, this is just a snippet. There is more to know about using chalk on metal and this post digs right into the topic. So let’s dive in.

Can You Use Chalk Paint On Metal Door?

You can use chalk paint on a metal door as long as it’s an interior door. Exterior metal doors shouldn’t be painted with chalk paint because chalk isn’t durable enough to protect the finish and the metal from ultraviolet rays and harsh weather.

Painting a metal door with chalk paint should only be done on indoor metal. For outdoor metal, it’s best to go for a more durable finish like oil-based paint or rust-oleum finish.

Chalk paint is a go-to for many painters and DIYers. This is because chalk paint is super easy to use, requires very little prep, and dries quickly. However, chalk paint isn’t very durable.

The water-based and thin nature of chalk paint makes it prone to moisture, scratches, and chipping. This is why chalk paint is largely recommended for indoor use.

If used on exterior metal doors like the front door or garage door, the chalk paint wouldn’t last up to a year. Rainfall, snow, and a rise in temperature will cause the chalk paint to chip and peel off gradually till the bare metal is exposed.

Though chalk can be sealed with a clear topcoat to improve its durability, clear topcoats aren’t usually designed for exterior use either.

If you are to seal chalk paint on an exterior metal door with a clear topcoat, it’s best to go for topcoats that have additives for ultraviolet protection. These topcoats are designed to thrive on the metal exterior but they are expensive.

So if you are to use chalk paint on an exterior metal door, prepare to spend some extra cash on ultraviolet protection. Interior metal doors are less prone to harsh weather and UV rays so chalk paint will last longer than on exterior metal doors.

To know more, let’s check out how to apply chalk paint on metal.

How To Apply Chalk Paint On Metal

Applying chalk paint on a metal surface is an easy task but the possibility of success relies heavily on the level of prep work done on the metal.

To apply chalk paint on metal, you need the following tools:

  • Chalk Paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Latex Paint Sealant Or Topcoat
  • A Mild Solvent (Like Rubbing Alcohol)
  • Wire Brush
  • Latex Paint Primer For Metal
  • Rags
  • Paintbrush
  • Foam Roller Or Spray Gun

Here is how to apply chalk paint on metal:

  • Wipe Down The Metal
  • Remove / Sand The Previous Coating Off The Metal
  • Sand The Metal Lightly
  • Prime The Metal
  • Apply Two Coats Of Chalk Paint
  • Seal The Chalk Finish

Now, let’s get to work.

1. Wipe Down The Metal

The first thing you need to do is to wipe down the metal.

The first step is to give the metal a clean and thorough wipe. Metal surfaces are usually affected by dust particles, grease, and grime.

To clean the metal, use a rag to wipe down the entire surface. If the metal is filthy, you can use a degreaser to remove tough stains and grease from the metal. After removing the stain, let the metal dry.

2. Remove / Sand The Previous Finish Off The Metal

You have to remove or sand off the previous paint of the metal.

If you are working on a previously painted metal, ensure to remove the existing finish from the metal surface first.

To remove the existing finish, you can use a sanding sponge, a paint scraper, or a mild solvent like rubbing alcohol. Any of these methods will work fine on metal. If there is a lot of paint on the metal, you will need to use all of these methods.

Start by scraping off as much paint as you can with a paint scraper or metallic putty knife. Metal is tough so you are less likely to damage the surface with a paint scraper.

After scrapping the paint, apply a mild solvent on the surface. Rubbing alcohol is a top pick but you can also use white vinegar or diluted mineral spirit.

Avoid using a chemical-based paint stripper on metal because it can discolor and etch the metal. After the solvent has removed the remaining paint, use a clean rag to wipe the metal surface.

After removing the paint from the metal, sand lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to smoothen the metal surface.

Related Read: How To Sand Chalk Paint?

3. Prime The Metal

Prime the metal before applying chalk paint

The next step is to apply a coat or two of latex paint primer on the metal surface. The primer helps to achieve a smooth and fine finish. Chalk paint is not very thick and it shouldn’t be used on bare metal. So ensure to prime the metal surface first.

Only use latex paint primer designed for metal. Oil-based primers shouldn’t be used as a base coat for chalk.

A coat or two of the needed primer is enough. You can apply the primer using a paintbrush or a roller. Allow the primer to cure before painting over it. This can take a few hours.

Related Read: Can You Mix Chalk Paint With Latex?

4. Apply Two Coats Of Chalk Paint On The Metal

Apply Two Coats Of Chalk Paint On The Metal

When the primer has cured, apply two coats of chalk paint on the metal. You might need to thin the chalk paint a bit to allow even consistency.

To thin chalk paint, use water since water is the solvent. Add about 1/4 cup of water to thin the chalk paint. Then stir the chalk paint evenly. What you are trying to do is to make the chalk paint thinner so it can spread evenly on the metal.

Chalk paint can be applied using any painting method. To use a paintbrush, use a natural-bristled brush. To use a paint roller, use a foam roller. You can also use a spray gun to apply the chalk paint. After applying two coats of chalk paint, leave it to dry.

5. Seal The Chalk Paint

Seal The Chalk Paint

Chalk paint on metal needs a sealant to improve durability and water resistance. To seal the chalk paint, use a clear topcoat. Polyurethane is a good choice.

Using a synthetic brush, apply 3 coats of polyurethane on the chalk paint. Ensure the chalk paint has cured fully before sealing it.

Then leave the whole coating to cure. This can take over 48 hours.

But can you use chalk paint on metal cabinets? Let’s find out.

Can You Use Chalk Paint On Metal Cabinets?

You can use chalk paint on metal cabinets. Chalk paint works wonderfully on metal cabinets and drawers. However, if you are to paint a kitchen or bathroom cabinet with chalk paint, it’s advised to seal the paint with a clear topcoat. The best options are usually topcoats with increased durability, moisture, and heat resistance.

This is because metal cabinets used in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry experience heavy handling, heat, vapor, and moisture. So if the chalk paint isn’t sealed, the finish will begin to chip after a while thereby exposing the metal surface. This increases the chances of rust.

Unfinished metal cabinets aren’t easy on the eye. The metal cabinet is also prone to rust since there isn’t any protective coat on it. But you can paint over metal cabinets using chalk paint. Chalk adheres to metal well and it beautifies the metal cabinet.

However, if you want the chalk finish to last on the metal cabinet, you need to seal the finish. Cabinets either made from metal, plastic, or wood usually see a lot of action.

The constant opening and closing of the cabinet sometimes with greasy hands, the heat in the room, and steam being released while cooking all make the finish gets damaged very quickly.

This is why it’s advised to seal the chalk finish with a top coat that is more resistant to all that handling, vapor, and moisture.

Sealed metal cabinets can last over a decade if sealed with a quality topcoat and maintained properly.

Related Read: Can You Apply Chalk Paint on Plastic?

Does Chalk Paint Stick To Metal?

Chalk paint sticks and adheres well to any metal surface as long as the metal is in good condition and there is no previous paint on it.

If the metal was previously painted or stained, the previous coating has to be removed to allow the chalk paint to adhere well. Also, if there is rust on the metal, the chalk paint will not stick well.

Chalk paint like many other latex paints has good adhesive qualities. Chalk will stick and adhere to just about any surface easily. This is because of the thin and water-based nature of the chalk.

Chalk paints also don’t have any oil or strong chemical content. This means the paint will dry quickly since water will evaporate from the paint pigments quickly without the presence of oils.

So when it comes to metal and chalk paint, adhesion isn’t a problem. However, adhesion can become a problem if the metal surface isn’t properly prepped to take the chalk paint.

Metal surfaces should be sanded lightly before being painted. This helps to remove any rust or grime on the metal before the paint is applied.

Any previous coat or finish on the metal should also be stripped off. If the previous finish is left on the metal, it will bleed through the chalk paint causing a clash of paints, colors, and consistency. All of which will ruin the chalk finish and make it look amateurish.

Another thing you should know is how long it takes for chalk paint to dry on metal. Let’s take a closer look at that.

Related Read: Will Chalk Paint Adhere To Glass?

How Long Does It Take Chalk Paint To Dry On Metal?

Chalk paint dries on metal quickly because of its water-based content. It takes less than an hour for chalk paint to dry to touch and about 48 hours for the chalk to fully cure on metal.

However, the drying time of the chalk can be influenced by the temperature of the room and the level of prep work done on the metal before it is painted. If the metal isn’t fully smooth and dry before chalk is applied, it can take up to a week for the chalk paint to fully cure on metal.

The room temperature should also be between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit when the chalk paint is applied.

In terms of drying time, there is no other paint type that dries as quickly as water-based paints. Chalk paint being water-based and having no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) dries quickly on metal. This is because water which is the paint’s solvent evaporates fast and the paint doesn’t need any chemical reaction to cure.

The chalk paint will dry on metal within the first hour and cure within 3 days. But this will only happen if the metal is smooth, dry, and without a previous finish.

Improper preparation of the metal paint means the chalk will take longer to dry. Not to mention the fact that chalk paint will not be smooth on poorly prepped metal.

The room temperature, humidity, and weather condition should also be perfect for painting to allow the chalk paint to dry properly. This means no painting during the winter or at night when the weather is cold and moist.

Related Read: Can You Use Polyurethane Paint on Metal?

Do You Have To Seal Chalk Paint On Metal?

You don’t have to seal chalk paint after using it on metal. Chalk paint will look fine and smooth without a sealant as long as the metal was prepped properly before painting. However, sealing the chalk paint is usually advised after painting a metal surface that will experience heavy use.

Metal surfaces like interior doors, cabinets, frames, and grates should be sealed after using chalk paint on them.

The sealant will make the chalk finish water and rust-resistant. Clear topcoats like polyurethane dry to form a hard plastic-like sheen. This sheen covers the chalk finish and protects it from scratches, marks, and dents that can cause the finish to peel off.

Related Read: Can You Paint Overal Chalk Paint?

Will Chalk Paint Prevent Rust On Metal?

Ordinary chalk paint will not prevent rust on metal. This is because the chalk finish is prone to moisture and moisture causes rust on metal. But if sealed with a durable clear top coat like polyurethane, the sealed chalk finish will make the metal less prone to rust.

Metal gets affected by rust when the metal is exposed to moisture and air. Moisture especially makes the metal turn brown quickly. Chalk paint can’t prevent rust on metal because chalk finish isn’t water-resistant.

If ordinary chalk is applied over a metal surface, moisture and air will remove the finish and the metal will be exposed to factors that can cause rust.

However, a clear topcoat on the chalk finish will make the chalk and metal more resistant to moisture and air. When clear topcoats dry on chalk, the topcoat hardens to form an ultra-thick sheen. This sheen prevents rust on metal because it is resistant to the factors that can cause rust.

Related Read: Can You Use Latex Paint on Metal?

Is Chalk Paint Durable On Metal?

Chalk paint isn’t durable on metal because the paint is thin and is easily affected by moisture and grime. However, if the chalk paint is sealed with a clear topcoat like polyurethane, the chalk finish will last longer on metal.

This is because the clear coat dries to form an ultra-thick sheen on the chalk. This sheen is resistant to scratches, dents, water, and rust. All of which can damage the chalk paint quickly.

But since the thick sheen is applied over the chalk paint, the finish can last for years before it needs to be retouched.

So the best way to make chalk paint durable on metal is to seal the chalk finish with a clear topcoat.

Related Read: Does Chalk Paint Scratch Easily?

Final Words

Overall, chalk paint can be used on metal surfaces. However, chalk paint is best suited for interior metal surfaces. Exterior metal surfaces can also be painted with chalk paint but only if the chalk finish will be sealed with a very durable and Ultraviolet-resistant topcoat.

Sealing chalk paint on metal increases its durability and rust resistance. This will make the chalk paint and metal last longer.

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