Bob Vila Radio: Reviving Old Metal Furniture

Furniture made of metal can last a lifetime at least, so long as it's properly maintained. If you're the owner of an older piece that needs a pick-me-up, read on to learn what's involved in applying a brand-new paint finish.

Did your most recent trip to the thrift store pay off in a big way? Vintage furniture adds character to any builder-grade home, but painting old metal can be tricky.

How to Paint Metal Furniture


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Listen to BOB VILA ON PAINTING METAL or read the text below:

Sand down the surface of your metal furniture find, applying added pressure when going over rust spots. Next, apply primer to the problem spots, but leave it off the rest of the piece. New paint actually adheres better to pre-existing, lightly sanded paint than it does to freshly added primer or bare metal.

After sanding, wipe down the furniture with a clean, dry cloth, then go over it again with a cloth dipped in paint thinner. Doing removes any oil or grease the furniture may have accumulated in its travels. Now, position the piece in a well-ventilated space, and coat the metal with rust-inhibiting spray paint.

Use multiple sweeping passes to gradually achieve coverage, remembering the essential dos and dont’s of pro-quality spray painting. Never start or stop spraying with the nozzle pointed directly at the surface you’re painting. Going back and forth, spray in light strokes for a glassy smooth, even finish.

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