Shower door frames made from stainless steel, aluminum, brass, or any other metal are strong and durable, but they are also subject to oxidation.
This means that the exposed metal or the screws and bolts used to hold it in place may start to rust.
And without protecting the metal from the shower’s moisture, a small rust issue like this may become a large corrosion problem.
If replacing the metal door frame with a non-metal version is not practical for your budget, the next best move is to paint the metal frame to prevent it from rusting in the first place.
Repairing The Metal Shower Door Frame
Before we move to steps on how to repaint a metal-made shower door frame, let us discuss how to get them repaired.
You may need to know and perform these steps, especially when your shower door frame is too old.
Applying the paint over those ugly-looking dents will make them highlighted and can ruin the overall look of the entryway.
And you need to fix the rust because painting over the rusted part will cause the applied paint to bubble and peel sooner or later.
To remove the rust, brush away the deposited rust with a wire brush. Then wipe out the surface with a cotton rag to remove the bits of rust that remain.
If the rust is heavy, you can then sand the metal frame softly with silicon-carbide sandpaper.
You should use a variety of grits (beginning with coarse-grit sandpaper and then progressing through extra-fine grade) to ensure that you get a smooth finish without getting the metal frame damaged.
Now, get a dampened rag (with isopropyl alcohol) to wipe out the frame, and remove all the sanding dust.
To repair the dents and holes in your metal frame, first sand the metal paint off the surface using coarse-grit sandpaper.
Next, apply a small amount of epoxy filler using a stiff metal putty knife and press it firmly. Make sure that you build it a bit higher than the frame surface.
Allow the filled dent/hole to dry completely for about 1-3 hours. And then, sand off the putty to make it at the same level as the existing door frame surface.
What Do You Need to Paint the Metal Frame?
Now that you have repaired your metal shower door frame, it’s time to get them painted.
Things you will need to repaint a metal door frame of your shower room include:
- Drop Cloths
- Paint Brushes
- Medium Grade Sandpaper
- Low-Tack Painter’s Tape
- Exterior Metal Primer
- Exterior Metal Acrylic Latex Paint w/Rust Inhibitor
An exterior grade metal acrylic latex type of paint that includes a rust inhibitor is usually the best for painting metal door frames as it is long-lasting.
You should also get a cleanser, sponge, and dry rags to help you properly clean the shower frame.
The products you will need to use will more or less depend on the condition and type of metal (aluminum, brass, steel, or any other).
Once you have everything ready, you can start with the painting process.
How to Paint a Shower Door Metal Frame? (5 Steps)
Painting a metal door frame is a bit different than painting wooden doors and window frames.
So, to paint the metal door frame correctly, you must take the following steps.
1- Prepare the Bathroom
Put drop cloths on the floor before starting the painting process.
While tile and porcelain are surfaces that are easier to clean, paint can still stick to them, especially if the tiles are cracked and old.
Once the drop cloths are in place, open up a window and turn on the fan to provide plenty of airflows.
2- Scrub the Door Frame
You’ll want to remove all traces of corrosion, dirt, and debris from the frame itself.
It will need to be clean and dry before you can start the painting process.
Any spots of dirt and grime can be removed with medium-grade sandpaper, so go over the frame thoroughly before you start to paint.
3- Line the Edges of Frame
Low-tack painter’s tape is perfect for lining the edges of the frame, especially in areas where it comes into contact with the door and walls.
If you get the right type of tape, it shouldn’t take long to line the areas so that you will not get any paint on them.
4- Primer the Metal Door Frame
Now you are ready to apply the metal primer. This will provide the rust-proofing element and help the paint stick to the surface.
Use a brush to apply an even first layer of primer throughout the shower frame.
Wait at least four hours or as instructed on the label, then apply a second coat and let it sit for at least twelve hours.
5- Paint the Metal Shower Door Frame
Apply an even level of metal acrylic latex paint just as you did the primer.
This means applying the first coat with your paintbrush and waiting at least four hours.
Then apply the second coat and wait at least 24 hours to dry before you remove the painter’s tape.
Inspect the frame after the second coat has dried to see if you missed any spots.
It should be no problem to do touch-up work and allow the small areas of paint to dry fully before removing the painter’s tape.
Now your shower frame is restored and ready to handle the water and humidity.
Can You Shower in a Freshly Painted Bathroom?
Generally, it’s best practice to wait for at least four to five hours before showering in your freshly painted bathroom.
But, to be on the safer side, leave your freshly painted shower door frames for a night to get them completely dried.
This will keep the paint from getting wet and running down the frames.
To avoid costly mistakes and to fix them later, it’s also a good option to check whether the paint on the shower frames is completely cured or not.
You can do this by pressing your fingernail into the paint coating. If it shows signs of indent, most likely, the paint is yet to be cured.
Additional Tips when Painting Your Metal Shower Door Frame
As you can see, it will take some time to properly paint the shower frame, so you may need to use other bathrooms for showering until the job is complete.
Also, if the aluminum or brass frame you are about to paint is heavily corroded, take time to restore the corrosion, or the paint will not stick well.
That said, replacing the shower door frame can be a good option (instead of repairing and repainting) if you find the frame completely rusted, corroded, or damaged.
The Color Choice
When painting and refinishing, choose the color that suits you most and matches well with your other bathroom fixtures.
While dark brown and black are the most common ones, you can also go with tones like gold, silver, and bronze or bright shades like red, green, yellow, or blue.
You can even use spray paint that looks like chrome, just in case you want the frame to look chrome finished.
Whatever color you pick, remember to keep the room well-ventilated so that the indoor air does not become polluted with chemical residue from the paint itself.
Once the paint fully dries, it will be safe to enter the bathroom again.
Just in case you want something fast for your brass-colored frame, you can check out the below video of how Rust-Oleum spray paint helped paint the brass shower door frame.
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Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.