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"Clear coat for galvanized sheet metal"

An ongoing discussion beginning back in 2001 ...


Q. What product should I use to coat a galvanized sheet metal bathroom countertop to seal it from water stains? Currently, the countertop has water stains that cannot be removed by any cleaning products. We plan to 0000 steel wool [affil. link to info/product at Rockler] the surface to remove the stains, then coat the galvanized steel with a polyurethane type clear coat.

Any suggestions?

Joy Wilson
- Portland, Oregon


? What was the response to the clear coating of sheet metal?


Brenda Rogers
- Umatilla, Florida

August 17, 2021

A. Lacquer is a sealant that can be used on metal

Leona Eskuela
- Odessa


Q. I have intentions of fabricating galvanized metal countertops for my kitchen. What product should I use to seal them to prevent staining/reactions from acidic fluids?

Robert Bailey
Building Maintenance - Bellingham, Washington


Q. I too want to know what to "seal" galvanized metal countertops with so they won't stain. I plan to install and heard about "acid" stains and water stains....

Jan McDonald
- Houston, Texas

October 8, 2009

A. Hi, folks. The main issue is that getting adhesion onto a galvanized surface can be hard. That's why they make special Galvanized Metal Primer [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] that etches the galvanized surface -- but the primers which I'm aware of are colored, not clear.

So we end up asking how to get adhesion while refraining from using the approach most likely to work :-)

I'd say the second best approach would be to scrub the countertop with trisodium phosphate [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] to remove any oils and fingerprints, then try to etch it with vinegar, rinse it, and clear coat it immediately. Try etching an inconspicuous spot first because etching will obviously reduce the shine. Good luck!


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


Q. We are having difficulty in trying to Clean Sheet Metal with fingerprints and food/drink stains? It also, has swirl marks from trying to clean it with other cleaners, i.e., windex, soap/water, metal cleaners, etc. BTW- it is a huge 30 ft x 10 ft wall. THANKS!

Ron Berg
Consumer - Kansas City, Missouri

October 8, 2009

A. Hi, Ron. Try scrubbing with powdered Pumice [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] and a little trisodium phosphate [affil. link to info/product on Amazon]. I've heard that you can mix the pumice with a fine oil to get some shine, but I'm not personally familiar with that.


Readers, please recognize that although some people call galvanized steel sheets 'tin' or 'sheet metal', it's absolutely not tin, and there are countless other types of sheet metal. If you mean galvanized sheet metal, best to call it that :-)


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

May 4, 2011

Q. I would like to re-ask the question above ... has anyone found a clear sealer, wax or other coating that protects the surface of a galvanized sheet metal surface, that would also be food safe?

Keith B
- Atlanta, Georgia, USA

A. Hi Keith. Wax is certainly fine, but he galvanized sheet itself is not actually 'food safe'.

Luck & Regards,

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

December 1, 2013

A. Try boiled linseed oil?

Jim McCoy
- Finlay, Ohio

November 15, 2020

A. Use a two part epoxy. It will stick to metal as long as it's clean. Use denatured alcohol to clean. I have been doing floor coatings for 20 years.

C. Rij
- Atlanta Georgia

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