How to Prepare Bare Metal for Etching Primer

Written by cadence johansen
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How to Prepare Bare Metal for Etching Primer
Bare metal can be prepared for paint with etching primer. (metal pattern image by ElsSh from

Etching primer is manufactured for use on metals such as steel and aluminium. The primer prepares the metal for paint. Like typical painting primers, etching primer settles deep into the scratches left by surface sanding before application. Unlike typical painting primers, etching primers create an additional adhesion with an acid that is contained in the primer. As the primer dries it adheres to the metal, preparing the metal for paint. Before applying the etching primer there are a few things you must to do prepare the metal.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plastic scrubbing pads
  • Dish soap
  • Clean cloths
  • Water
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Towel
  • Painter's tape
  • Dust sheet
  • Ventilation mask
  • Etching primer

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  1. 1

    Clean the metal with a plastic scrubbing pad, dish soap and a damp cloth. The metal should be cleaned prior to sanding so no impurities on the surface of the metal are worked in.

  2. 2

    Sand the surface of the bare metal with 80-grit sandpaper. This grit of sandpaper will lightly scratch the surface of the metal. Repeat with 180-grit sandpaper and 400-grit sandpaper. The high-grit sandpaper will remove scratches and smooth the bare metal.

  3. 3

    Clean away the dust particles made by the sanding process with a damp cloth.

  4. 4

    Dry the metal with a towel or dry cloth.

  5. 5

    Set a dust sheet on the floor under the area where you will be working. Apply painter's tape on the areas around the bare metal. This will protect these areas from the etching primer.

  6. 6

    Put on a ventilation mask. Because the etching primer is a spray, it will be easy to breath in if you are not wearing a mask.

  7. 7

    Spray a light coat of etching primer on the bare metal. The coat should be evenly spread over the entire surface. Let the primer dry completely.

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