4 Tips for Painting Commercial Metal Surfaces

paint metal commercial surfaces

Metal buildings and surfaces are relatively strong, stable, and long-lasting. They are insect resistant and the material can be molded into different shapes.  However, if you want metal surfaces to maintain their strength and aesthetics, regular care is necessary. 

Commercial painting protects metal structures and elements as well as your investment. Building managers and property owners need to be knowledgeable about basic metal painting building methods. 

Types of Metal Structures

Metal structures are used in a variety of industries from government and industrial to construction and education. Metal performs better in high-use environments. Professional painters can restore different types of metal surfaces.

  • Metal View Fences
  • Exterior fire escapes
  • Pedestrian Bridges
  • Overpasses
  • Catwalks between storage tanks
  • Metal Railings
  • Water Towers
  • Metal Railings
  • Water Towers
  • Metal Bridge Sandblasting & Refinishing
  • Ladders up to roofs 
  • Machinery
  • Conveyors
  • Metal Lockers

How to Get the Best Finish on Painted Metal

When beginning a metal painting project, adequate planning and professional commercial painters are required. Metal surfaces in and around your commercial building will be easier to paint and the results last longer when the right techniques are used. The basic tools needed include a paint sprayer, roller or paintbrush, primers, putty, steel wool, protective paint, and a wire brush. 

The more porous the surface, the greater chance the paint has to adhere to the surface.  Metal doesn't have very porous surfaces, so it’s important to follow strict guidelines to ensure that the coat of paint will last. For the best outcome, incorporate these tips into your paint project.

1. Surface Preparation

Surface preparation is a critical first step in the protection of metal surfaces. Metal doors, garages, and other metal substrates can be susceptible to coating failure if not prepared and planned properly. Proper surface preparation can maximize coating life and minimize future costs. It ensures that the paint will adhere to the metal surface. 

Prep work is a key part of almost any project, and painting metal surfaces are no exception. Preparation could involve several different operations, depending on the type of metal and what condition it is in. This could include pressure washing, scraping, wire-brushing, sanding, sandblasting methods, or chemical treatment such as Trisodium Phosphate (TSP). 

  • Remove Existing Rust or Coating
    To prepare the surface, you’ll need to remove the existing rust and peeling paint.  Rust can be removed fairly easily with a wire brush and scraper.  If you have a lot of areas, then you might want to consider an abrasive blaster to provide a clean surface to apply the paint.   
  • Rust-Inhibitive Primer
    After removing the loose paint and rust, you’ll want to apply a rust inhibitive primer.  The rust-inhibitive primer penetrates the metal surface, which prevents moisture and water-based coatings from accessing the corroded areas. 

Various types of metals will require different primers.  Galvanized primers and iron-oxide primers are suitable options you can use before applying paint. Research what is best for your specific project.

2. Protective Paint

The quality of industrial-grade paint is measured in several ways, including its ability to provide a protective barrier for the metal surfaces in a commercial building. The best paints for metal are designed to guard against water, corrosion, abrasion, and chemicals, even in the most demanding operational settings. High-quality paint coatings successfully preserve the items that lie underneath the surface, extending the life span of building materials and curbing replacement costs.

There are paints specifically designed to handle the typical conditions that the metal surface is subjected to.  Paints for commercial metal surfaces work best if they are industrial water-based alkyd coating. They’re ideal for structures that are in a high-use environment. 

Some paints are made from latex, giving it a flexible property so that it can bend and flex under the changing climate.  This helps the topcoat last longer, without forcing it to break under the stress of expansion and contraction.

3. Application Methods

Various paint application methods are used for metal surfaces. The size, location, and type of metal will determine which application will work best.  Professional commercial painters are knowledgeable in all paint application methods. They will know which technique to use. These include:

  • Air sprayers: This painting method applies a mist of fine spray to the surface, leaving a smooth finish behind.
  • Airless sprayers: These devices atomize paint at a higher pressure than air sprayers. They are ideal for large industrial painting projects because they provide higher efficiency and avoid the potential for over-spraying.
  • Rollers: Rolling on industrial paint is best for hard-to-reach areas, or where spray application is unfeasible.
  • Brushes: Traditional paintbrushes may be the best choice for small or detailed jobs. An experienced painter can create a smooth, professional finish.

4. Painting Safety

Commercial painting contractors engage in hazardous work. Safety during blasting and other forms of surface preparation is a top priority. Choose a commercial painting company that follows safety requirements outlined by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Using low-VOC paint, skin and eye protection, respirators, and fall protection help keep the job site safe for workers and customers alike. 

Signs It’s Time to Paint Your Metal Surfaces

The elements all contribute to the deterioration of the appearance of your commercial building. Interior and exterior metal surfaces need to be maintained. These signs will tell you it’s time to revamp the look of your business.

Blistering. Pockets of air underneath the paint create bubbles on surfaces. This means that the paint is no longer directly attached to the metal substrate underneath.  Blistering can also occur over time if the paint film is porous, allowing moisture to penetrate the paint film.  This is common in extremely warm, high humidity environments.

Cracking. When a coat of paint splits it produces cracks and flakes on the painted surface. The most severe examples are often referred to as crocodiling. Cracking can be spotted early on in the form of hairline cracks that occur on the painted surface before chunks begin to fall off. The cause of this problem is using poor quality paints. This issue is made worse by inadequate surface separation resulting in limited adhesion between coats. 

Customers Notice the Damage. If you hear your customers and clients mention the damage they see around or inside your building, it’s time for a new paint job. You don’t want potential sales to be thwarted over an unkempt building.

Your Building Looks Worse than Competitors. The appearance of your building gives people a glimpse of how you run your business. To have a more pleasing commercial building, you need a fresh coat of paint inside and out. 

Regulatory Updates. To ensure the safety of your employees, painting different areas of the building may be required to comply with industry regulations. 

Hire the Best Commercial Painting Company

Whether you are choosing all new colors or just want to add a coat of fresh paint to your business, you want the best commercial painting contractors to complete the project. Below are four tips to ensure you choose the right commercial painter for your needs.

Make Sure You Work with a Professional

It might be tempting to save money by hiring a painting company without the proper licensing and insurance. However, this will backfire when you receive an inferior painting job with no recourse to receive a refund or better service. Before you hire commercial painting contractors, ask to see a copy of the company’s business license as well as an insurance certificate.

Compare at Least Three Commercial Painting Contractors

Most professional painting companies offer free estimates. When you receive an invoice, be sure to ask about policies at the same time. This includes such things as the deposit required, the number of painters working on your building, and who to contact if you have an issue. 

Interview Potential Contractors

Viewing the business in person to determine if the painters can complete the job to your satisfaction.

You can show them all the metal surfaces and areas you want to be painted. You should also be prepared to ask the following questions:

  • How long has your company been in business?
  • What type of paint and how many coats do you use?
  • What protective equipment do your employees use?
  • Do you utilize any subcontractors?

If the person seems hesitant to answer your questions or simply does not know the answer, move on to the next painting contractor on your list.

Ask for References

Asking for professional references is an excellent way to narrow down the list of candidates. A high-quality organization will not hesitate to provide them. Contact the references and learn about their experience with the paint company. Once you have chosen a contractor, ask the company to put its terms in writing. 

Experienced Commercial Painters 

The most important part of commercial painting is to leave the job to a professional. The Painting Pros will deliver a high-quality finish every time, regardless of what the job entails. Our experienced painters are knowledgeable about surface preparation and prioritize high-quality products, safety, and precision. If you have metal surfaces that need to be painted, we would be happy to help you.  Contact us today for a free consultation.