Preparation is critical to promoting adequate paint adhesion. Stainless steel should be washed with a water-based degreasing agent before the application process begins. Soap and degreasers must be thoroughly rinsed, as they can interfere with adhesion.
Clean the surface of the stainless steel with a degreaser or liquid dish soap with degreasing properties. Remove any dust or grime from the steel, applying the degreaser with a sponge. Wipe down the surface with fresh water
and buff dry with a soft cloth.
Rub the surface with fine-grit sandpaper, gently roughing the surface. Stainless steel is naturally smooth and your paint and primer will have trouble adhering to the glossy and smooth surface. Rub the sandpaper around in small circles over all areas of the stainless steel.
Before any paint is applied, stainless steel should be coated in a galvanized metal-etching primer, using a paintbrush manufactured for latex paints. After the primer cures for 4 to 6 hours, painting can begin.
Although virtually any type of paint will bond to a properly prepared stainless-steel surface, a two-part epoxy
paint is the preferred coating. It provides durability and an attractive sheen.
Because stainless steel is so slick, professional painters often dilute the paint with 1 oz. of water
to every gallon of paint. This helps promote a smooth, professional-looking finish, free of unattractive brushstrokes.
Stainless steel should never be painted unless it has first been abraded with a galvanized metal-etching primer. No other type of primer will promote adequate adhesion. Never paint over an unprimed stainless-steel surface, or the finish will chip and peel soon after application.