Home /
Search 🔍
the Site

Get personalized metal finishing help, no charge!

Painting galvanized ductwork


An ongoing discussion beginning back in 2000 ...


Q. We are remodeling our basement. We would like to paint the galvanized duct work and need assistance as to the right procedures to follow. We are attempting to end up with a high gloss finish. Your response in a timely fashion would be appreciated.

Rita D. Wolter
- Dearborn, Mi. Wayne county


A. Simply put, finishing of the ductwork in your basement is similar to that of an automobile. First, the metal needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Usually, hot water and soap for starters (I prefer Dawn because it breaks down grease well).

After this is done and all grease, dust, debris, rust and any foreign element is completely removed, wash the metal down again with paint thinner. This will remove any soap residues.

Next, prime the metal with a good primer [Galvanized Metal Primer [affil. link to info/product on Amazon]]. Almost any good paint store can recommend a good primer for metal. Be sure to tell them that the metal is galvanized sheet metal.

Be sure to cover all surrounding items with drop cloths to assure that no unwanted paint ends up where it doesn't belong.

Finally, paint with the color desired. Also, spray painting will provide the best results. Additionally, make sure NOT to touch the primer coat with your bare hands. The grease from your hands will cause bubbles to occur. I suggest wearing rubber gloves if any handling is required.

Good luck and I hope it all turns out well.

Lamar Jenkins
sheet metal company - Jonesboro, Georgia

Painting galvanized steel for Kinetic (mobile) Art

December 9, 2015

Q. I am interested in producing kinetic (mobile) art that will be suitable for urban/rural residential outside placement. I will be cutting the forms and spray painting/masking etc. as well as welding these shapes on rods.
Can you suggest how to make the most clean cuts and what type of paint (after priming) would be best for adherence and durability? I am guessing that you would recommend enamel or automotive paint.
Any special instructions on what sort of weld to use?
This is a serious inquiry and I do appreciate any way that you may guide me on this! :) Thank you -Ceal

Cecilia Montague
- Holbrook, New York, USA

December 10, 2015

A. I am sorry; you do not make it clear what material you are working in.

I would guess iron. Welds often do not take coatings the way forged metal does. As for preconditioning prior to painting you might consider a phosphate wash primer or a phosphate coating. This gives the surface some "tooth" that helps it grab the paint.

For outdoor exposure I'd suggest that steel alloy called "Cor-Ten" It rusts up to a certain point leaving a decorative rust color.

If you are looking for a color other than rust red or black on iron there are other options besides painting. You can coat the whatever with copper, via brush plating or immersion copper plating, and use various solutions to apply green or blue patinas to get the effect you want. Paint is fake and it looks fake. It will not stand up to the years.

We can help you some more and I for one am glad to. Just give us a bit more info, OK?

dave wichern
Dave Wichern
Consultant - The Bronx, New York

October 10, 2019

Q. Can I apply black painting over insulation of metal DUCT at open cell corridor?
or some fabric should be made around duct insulation first.

Fouad AlGahri
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

October 2019

A. Hi Fouad. Metal can certainly be painted, but some types of metal, like galvanized metal, are quite a bit more difficult to paint than others. If the metal is aluminum or galvanized steel, try a self-etching latex primer. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

finishing.com is made possible by ...
this text gets replaced with bannerText
spacer gets replaced with bannerImages

Q, A, or Comment on THIS thread -or- Start a NEW Thread

Disclaimer: It's not possible to fully diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations might be harmful.

If you are seeking a product or service related to metal finishing, please check these Directories:

Chemicals &
Consult'g, Train'g
& Software

About/Contact    -    Privacy Policy    -    ©1995-2022 finishing.com, Pine Beach, New Jersey, USA