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Can You Use Latex Paint on Metal? (Read This First!)

Latex paint is water-based paint that you can use on almost every surface. But you need to ensure the surface is dry. You cannot apply any paint on a wet surface.

However, latex paint is specially designed for wood, cement and metal surfaces. Therefore, people asked if they could use latex or water-based paint on metal. To get the answer, you need to keep reading.

We will answer your queries and explain more about latex metal. Also, you will get the practical steps on how to paint with latex paint.

Can you use latex paint on metal?

You can use latex paint on metal. It’s highly recommended to use latex or water-based paint on metal and hard surfaces. You can also use it on wood, cement, and other dry surfaces. However, latex paint makes the metal durable and rust-free. That’s why it’s an excellent metal paint.

Though you can apply latex paint on most dry surfaces, you have to know how to paint with oil-based paint. This section will focus on this particular topic.

Doors/Garage doors:

You can apply latex paint on them if you have doors or garage doors. It won’t be a big deal anymore. But you have to spray or brush the oily paint properly and wait for hours.

Latex paint will easily stick to the metal doors if you apply them properly. Let it dry properly and get a coat on its surface. However, the latex paint might create a color on the doors. Before starting painting, you must check the using method and after effect.


To use the latex paint on sidings, you must be careful. It will be difficult to paint or apply the oily paint over the sidings. Here, you can lay the sidings and then start painting over them.

Don’t try to apply straight from top to bottom. It will fall drop by drop. So, first, lay it down and then use the latex paint.  Make sure the open side is dry. After that, turn over the sides and apply the paint carefully.


To paint the cabinets, you must use acrylic-based latex paint. You need to ensure that the paint is dry and ready to use. But it’s after paint service.

Before that, you have to paint part by part. Don’t try to paint the entire cabinet at a time.

Will any type of latex paint stick to metal?

Most types of latex paint will stick to metal. But the best one is acrylic latex paint. It works nicely and effectively.

Acrylic latex:

As we said before, acrylic latex is the best paint to apply on metal surfaces. It will stick to the surface quickly and effectively. It will increase the durability and lifespan of the metal.

Moreover, acrylic latex is a top-recommended metal paint that improves surface color and brightness.

Exterior/Outdoor latex:

Exterior/Outdoor products are also better for latex paint. In that case, exterior/outdoor latex will be a perfect match. You have to use it carefully.

However, the outdoor latex or exterior latex is your best paint. Nothing will be more effective. On the other hand, outdoor latex or exterior latex will stick to metal.

Regular latex:

Regular latex is another best paint for metal. If you have solid metal, you can apply regular latex. It will stick to the metal surface.  However, you cannot apply regular latex on every metal or every surface.

Enamel latex:

Enamel-latex is oil-based paint. It is also an excellent paint for the hard metal surface. However, it takes longer than water-based latex paint. However, when it dries, it will have an excellent effect. And it will make the surface durable.

Can you use latex paint over oil-based primer on metal?

You can use latex paint over oil-based primer on metal. But if you want to paint over oil-paint metal, you have to make a coat over it. After that, you can apply the latex paint; there will be no issues.

However, latex paint is water-based; therefore, you can surely use it on oil-based primer or metal. It will make perfect paint over it.

You have to make the surface dry properly. Otherwise, you will not get the perfect paint. After the surface is perfectly dry, apply the latex paint on it.

How do you prep metal for latex paint?

You can prep metal for latex paint by following the below steps. It will be best if you follow these steps and make the painting beautiful.

Clean surface:

In the first step, get some spirits that are minerals. You need to clean the surface using mineral spirits. You should deep clean the surface; otherwise, the dust and stain will be visible when you apply them to the dusty surface.

Apply primer:

Now, it’s time to give your metal surface an extra coat. In that case, you can apply the rust-inhibitive primer. It will save the surface from rust.

On the other hand, you need to dry the coat before painting the latex. It’s the last step.

Remove loose paints:

Now, you have to remove the paint. Also, the paint loose needs to be removed as well. Otherwise, it will be a barrier, and your latex paint won’t stick to the metal properly.

Remove rust:

Now, check the entire surface. If there is any rust on it, remove it quickly. Rust will destroy the whole paint.  So, it’s a must-do task to prep the metal before applying latex paint.

Apply paint:

Cover them up if there are any dents and holes on your metal surface. It’s a must-do task before applying any latex paint.  If there are any holes left, it will make the paint mess. Therefore, you have to fill those holes and dents.

How to paint a metal door with latex paint?

To paint a metal door with latex paint, you should follow some strategies and practical steps. These are all from the experts’ suggestions and personal experience too.

Remove the door frame:

First, remove the metal door from the frame. You should not apply latex paint to the frame. It would be best if you remove the door and place it down.

Clean surface:

You have removed the metal door from the frame; it’s time to clean the entire door properly. Here you can follow the prep metal before paint steps. These will help you clean the door properly and make the surface perfect for painting with latex.

Remove old paint:

Now, it’s time to remove the old paint or coat from the door if it has any. Maybe you painted the door years before; you don’t need to apply the new paint over the old one. So, it would be best if you removed the old coating or paint from the door.

Sand the surface:

Sand down the door. You can place it on the plastic or anything else. It will help you to use the latex paint over it ideally.

Apply primer:

You should use a high-quality prime over the metal door. It will help to protect the surface. In that case, you can use the prime coating here. It will help the latex paint to stick to the metal properly.

Apply latex paint:

Now it’s time to paint with latex paint. You can use a brush to apply to the corner of the door. In that case, it will be better to a great extent.  But you have to ensure that the paint goes through the entire metal door properly.

Leave to cure:

Now, it’s time to dry the metal door. But don’t use any heat or extra air to make it dry soon. You can use sunlight. It will make it better, and your latex paint will stick to the metal.

Is oil or latex paint better for metal? What kind of paint will stick to metal?

Oil-based paint is better for metal. The latex paint is water-based. If you have acrylic latex, you can apply it since it is oil-based. However, it is not something that you cannot apply latex paint for metal.

On the other hand, oil-based paint can mix with metal more quickly than water-based paint. In that case, oil is so far better than latex paint.

There is another notable point, oil-based paint can make the metal durable and stable for a long time. On the other hand, water-based paint could be the best to apply to wood. However, you can apply it to the metal too, but it’s advised to use oil paint in that case.

Final Thoughts

You can surely use latex paint on metal. Being water-based paint, it is still best to protect the metal from rust. But you need to clean the surface and ensure there are no holes and dents on the metal surface first. However, you can use oil-based acrylic latex paint. It will be the best.