How to Paint Metal Gate Bars

Updated February 21, 2017

If you would like to paint the bars on your metal gate, consider the following. Metal bars are nonporous. This characteristic makes them a poor candidate for paint adhesion. Before paint will adhere to gate bars, they require a base coat of a special acidic primer that has the ability to etch metal. Exterior metallic surfaces are also subject to rust. Combat this potential occurrence by applying a second primer, formulated with rust-inhibitive properties. Once the bars are properly conditioned, apply a durable enamel, or you may eventually end up with flaking.

Clean the metal gate bars, using a pressure washer. Wait three to four hours for the bars to dry.

Cover areas adjacent to the bars with painter's tape to protect them. Cover the ground with dust sheets.

Coat the metal gate bars with an oil-based galvanised metal etching primer, using a mini-roller. Use a 2-inch natural-bristled paintbrush to apply primer to awkward, detailed areas inaccessible to the mini-roller. Inspect the bars for runs and smooth these, using the paintbrush. Wait four hours for the bars to dry.

Wash the painting tools with white spirit.

Coat the metal gate bars with an iron oxide primer, effectively protecting the metal from rust. Apply the iron oxide primer just as you did the etching primer. Wait two hours for the primer to dry.

Wash the painting tools with white spirit.

Coat the primed gate bars with an oil-based enamel. Apply the enamel just as you did the primers. Wait two hours for the bars to dry.


Use a new mini-roller cover for each coating.


Do not paint unprimed metal gate bars or the enamel will chip.

Things You'll Need

  • Pressure washer
  • Dust sheets
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Oil-based galvanised metal etching primer
  • Mini-roller frame
  • Three mini-roller covers
  • 2-inch natural-bristled paintbrush
  • White spirit
  • Iron oxide primer
  • Oil-based enamel
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.