For those who are tired of looking at their stainless-steel sink and wonder if it can be painted another color, the good news is that it can be done.
After all, if your vehicle which is exposed to the elements can be painted, so too can your kitchen sink.
However, unlike most steel, stainless-steel contains chromium which is a rust-preventative.
While you still can apply paint to the surface, it also means that the steel is quite hard and non-porous.
You will have to take a few extra steps to ensure that the primer and paint you apply will stick to the surface without any chipping.
This means selecting paints based on urethane or epoxy while avoiding latex enamel.
How to Paint a Stainless Steel Sink?
DIY painting your kitchen sink or any other stainless-steel sink in your home can be easy and fun if you follow the right process and steps.
Not only you can get the job done effortlessly but can also save good time and money while providing your old sink a new beautiful look.
Here are a few steps you will need to follow…
Step 1- Remove Sink
While this may not always be feasible, it’s good if you take some time to check whether the sink can be removed easily or not.
Before you proceed, you will need to turn off the water supply in your kitchen.
Then remove the faucet using a screwdriver and cut down the epoxy resin with the knife carefully to take the sink out.
Now place the steel sink on a flat surface or a floor that’s already covered with a drop cloth.
In the process, you may also need to use painter’s masking tape to avoid painting the surfaces of the sink that you don’t want to paint.
Step 2- Prepare Surface
The hardness of the stainless steel means you will need to etch the surface first before applying the primer.
This means that you will need to clean the sink first and use a strong detergent to get rid of any oils that might have built up over time.
Once the kitchen sink is dry, you can use a pad sander complete with 150-grit sandpaper to properly etch the sink.
Also, check for any rust spots. If you find any, brush off the rust as much as you can using a wire brush.
If the sink is getting old and already has a rough surface, then steel wool that is medium-fine may do the trick.
Once you have completed scuffing the sink, wash away the debris and let it dry.
Next, you’ll want to cover all the areas around your sink that you do not want the paint to reach.
You can use just about anything, but painter’s tape combined with plastic, cardboard, or even newspaper will do if you use several layers.
Step 3- Apply Primer & Paint
If the stainless-steel sink in your kitchen is relatively new, still smooth, and shiny, it’s recommended not to try sanding or other techniques that need friction for etching.
Using these techniques will most probably not abrade the sink properly to accept the paint.
Using the right primer is your best option – and be ensured it’s not the regular primer you should use.
To encourage perfect paint adhesion, you will need to use a special type of metal-etching primer.
Once the applied primer is dry (after 4-5 hours), scuff up the primer with 220-grit sandpaper.
Now you are ready to apply the paint that is specifically designed for stainless steel.
You can either spray or paint on the primer which will provide a surface for the paint to stick.
You’ll need to apply at least two coats over the primer to allow good paint adhesion.
It is generally best to apply a thin coat, let it dry and scuff it with sandpaper that is 320 or even 400 grit, then apply another coat.
Step 4- Seal and Apply Wax
Once all the paint is dried, cover it with an acrylic sealer and let it sit for at least 48 to 72 hours before using the sink.
You can also consider applying a thin coat of wax if you want to get a new hazy look.
Make sure you buy wax that is high-quality and is made for use on metals.
After applying the wax, buff the metal gently using a dry cotton cloth to add some shine.
Finally, your newly painted stainless-steel sink is ready for use. Enjoy working on it.
What Type of Paint to Use for Stainless Steel?
Once you have prepared the stainless-steel surface with a coating of galvanized metal-etching primer, you can virtually use any kind of paint.
However, a two-part epoxy paint bonds pretty well than others and is considered the best-preferred coating for painting stainless steel sinks and faucets.
The fact is you can use this type of paint on any stainless-steel surface like your kettle, toaster, refrigerator, or other stainless steel kitchen appliances.
This can help provide your old appliances with great durability along with an attractive sheen.
TIP: If you are painting stainless steel appliances that are exposed to high heat, it is recommended to use high heat rated paint.
Brush or Spray Paint – What To Use for Your Stainless-Steel Sink?
It is best to spray the paint instead of applying it with a brush although you can use either method.
Spraying offers a smoother final product that augments the metallic finish. While using a brush offers a more textured look.
A brush is also more versatile as you can add touches with a sponge to create custom accents.
But generally speaking, spraying is the better of the two choices.
This is particularly true for paints that consist of two-part epoxy combined with urethane for the finish.
However, this is a more expensive proposition as you will need to rent the spraying equipment to do the job.
A cheaper alternative is to use paint designed for automobiles.
This type of paint comes in aerosol cans and is easy to paint over stainless steel material.
This will also mean that you can choose any color you desire for your sink – like pink, blue, red, green, white, or even black.
However, if you like the metallic look such as copper, then you can select stainless-steel paint from a reputable company such as Rust-Oleum which can be sprayed or painted on with a brush.
Few Other Options to Paint Stainless Steel
Apart from the above-mentioned steps, there are a few other ways as well to paint the stainless steel material which includes varnishing, powder coating, and applying nail polish.
Some of these refinishing methods are successfully used to paint stainless steel commercially in various industries.
1- Powder coating
It’s basically an electrostatic process where a professional powder coater applies a very thin layer of plastic/epoxy powder all over the steel surface.
The surface is then cured and baked for getting the desired color and texture.
The major advantage of using this method is the flexibility to get a wide range of colors and textures.
Plus, you can powder coat even the smallest cracks and voids present on the surface without creating any mess, by using this method.
The only downside is you cannot use this method at home in a DIY-friendly way.
To powder coat, you will need to get in contact with a professional powder coater who can get the job done perfectly.
I recommend using this method only if you have something expensive or antique that you do not want to risk while getting painted at home.
2- Varnish the metal
Applying a coat of marine varnish is another great way by which you can coat your metalwork without making any changes to its overall finish, color, and looks.
The main advantage of using varnish is it’s easy to apply and can be done pretty fast.
But remember, applying varnish is only recommended if you already have a clean colored metal and desire to get a “clear coating” shiny look that is protective and long-lasting.
Applying varnish on stainless steel can also be considered as it’s very easy to maintain.
You can just touch up your work by applying an additional varnish coat in the future.
3- Add a patina
Patinas or dyes are great to provide unique, vivid, and multi-colored effects on your stainless steel surface.
The good thing is you can choose a perfect patina based on your project to highlight and maintain a natural finish.
These are typically the chemical formulations you can pick for making any surface changes or for adding coloration to your metalwork.
While some of these formulations are applied cold, there are some that are used hot.
Final sealing is often required using wax for a more durable finish.
4- Try some nail polish
Using nail polish is great if you want to add some appealing patterns, alphabets, or shapes to your metal surface.
You can also use it for painting a very small area and then add some graphics or writing over it.
The advantage of using nail polish on stainless steel is it’s available in tons of shades and sticks very well on the surface.
Plus, it can help provide a clean realistic look to your stainless steel sink or other metalwork.
How can You Get Paint Out of Stainless-Steel Sink?
Paint if accidentally gets onto your stainless-steel kitchen sink can be removed without causing any damages or ugly scratches.
Remember, it can become a challenging task to get the paint off of it if it dries.
So, it’s important to take the action fast as soon as you can.
All you need will be the right type of solvents or chemicals that can work.
This is the first choice for latex-based paint removal as it’s less toxic and easy to use.
Just take a clean rag and put a bit of turpentine on it. Then rub it on the paint stain for a few minutes to dislodge the paint.
After a few minutes rinse the area with water.
This is another great alternative to remove dried paint from your stainless-steel surface.
You can use it for removing oil-based paints, acrylic paints, or any other paint stains.
Just like turpentine, this can also be used with a rag or clean cloth. After rubbing it directly on the paint spot, rinse the surface with water.
An important thing to keep in mind
No matter, you want to remove the old paint when you want to prep the surface for repainting or it’s the overspray you want to remove – it should be done with proper care and precaution.
Do not use any abrasive materials or techniques that can harm the finishing of your sink.
Also, take care that you do not mix the different types of solvents. This can be highly toxic.
Just in case the one you used doesn’t work, you should rinse the surface before you try another solvent for paint removal.
The Bottom Line
Painting a stainless steel sink in your home isn’t tough, as you may have thought.
All you will need is patience, the right tools, and some time.
If you follow each step, I have mentioned above, precisely you can get the job done within no time.
And I bet your family will going to love the beauty of it for sure!
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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.