Painting old metal baseboard covers

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Old 01-26-14, 02:45 PM
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Painting old metal baseboard covers

Hello all,

I am finally starting my baseboard heater restoration. I have already painted the walls. I have finished most of the sanding. I scuff sanded the painted parts of the baseboard covers to help adhesion and I sanded the rusted spots to bare metal. Since it is winter outside I cannot leave the windows open for extended periods plus my wife is pregnant. I am looking for a rust inhibitive primer. I currently have the following products:

Sherwin-Williams Harmony Primer (not rated for metal, using for bare wood)
Sherwin-Williams Harmony Semigloss white (using this for the trim work and as a topcoat for the baseboard covers as long as the primer is compatible)
Sherwin-Williams Oil based primer (vocs are something crazy like 500g/l so I don't want to use this. Also the primer is at least 3-4 years old so I'm not sure if its good).

Can you guys recommend a fast drying low odor/low voc rust inhibitor primer that I can brush onto the baseboard heaters? Bonus points if it will allow me to use the Harmony semigloss latex as a topcoat.

Thanks all.
 
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Old 01-26-14, 03:21 PM
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Are you painting removable covers or fixed base boards?

The only good metal primers and paints I have tried that are good against corrosion are old fashioned oil based paints with all their VOC's and smells. If possible I would wait until summer to paint properly or take the base board covers somewhere where they can be painted without putting VOC's into your home.
 
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Old 01-26-14, 03:28 PM
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The front part is removable but the back part is screwed and caulked into the wall.

Also the back part behind the heating element has some rust spots. Do people go through the effort of sanding that metal just behind the heating element? Its not visible unless you are staring at it from a low level. The visible spots I am planning to sand/paint.
 
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Old 01-26-14, 06:30 PM
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Do you think Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel Latex Primer can work for my task? Their website says "Controls rust and corrision" and "For galvanized, aluminum, and steel furniture, cabinets, railings and more".

All Surface Enamel Latex Primer - Contractors - Sherwin-Williams

I picked up a quart earlier today. If I use this I plan to apply two coats of primer and then two-three coats of Harmony semi-gloss.

The VOCs on this one are 132 g/l and its acrylic latex so it shouldn't be as bad as the oil.
 
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Old 01-27-14, 04:31 AM
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There aren't any latex primers that are suitable for rusted or bare steel! The only way to avoid the higher VOCs of a solvent based primer or paint is remove the covers and paint them elsewhere. I normally sand/prime as needed and then apply a coat of oil base enamel for the finish.

You can use the latex for a top coat [it has no rust inhibitive properties!] but only if the rust and/or bare metal is adequately sealed with a solvent based primer. While 1 coat of primer is generally sufficient, 2 coats would be better if you intend to use a latex topcoat.

There are a few oil base primers that have a lower VOC level than the rest but probably still more than you want
 
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Old 01-27-14, 06:27 AM
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Why do some acrylic primers advertise metal (like the one above)? Are they not being honest? Thank you.
 
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Old 01-27-14, 10:21 AM
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I think gov't regs make the paint manufactures stretch the truth. They want to ban VOCs and different things in the formulation because it might be bad for us or the environment. The result is coatings that won't preform as well as their predecessor.

That primer can be used on non rusted metal but it has little/no rust inhibitive properties. If you apply it to clean metal it has a chance of not allowing the metal to rust. Personally, with the exception of new galvanized, I wouldn't use it as a metal primer. Even if you sand your rusty metal well and use that primer the odds are the rust will return sooner or later. Using a solvent based primer followed by an oil base top coat will insure the rust won't return for a long time.
 
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Old 01-27-14, 10:23 AM
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What if I do two coats of oil based primer and then latex based topcoat? I'd prefer to match the look of the latex based paint on the baseboards plus doesn't oil paint yellow over time?
 
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Old 01-27-14, 10:43 AM
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2 coats of oil primer followed by the latex top coat should fair ok.
White oil base enamel is bad to yellow off whites, not so much.
 
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Old 01-27-14, 10:48 AM
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Ok I have some Sherwin Williams oil based primer. Is there a way for me to make sure its still good? Its at least a few years old. How well does the rust need to be sanded for oil based primer to work?
 
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Old 01-27-14, 10:54 AM
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The better you sand off the rust, the less you have to rely on the primer. I wouldn't get fanatical but would try to do a decent job of sanding.

Generally if any paint/primer stirs up and looks like paint - it's ok to use. You may have to cut and remove a skin off the top. Often old paint needs to be strained before using .... or you wind up with a bit of trash on your substrate. Before the paint stores started selling strainer bags we would use a section of panty hose to strain the paint.
 
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Old 01-27-14, 02:06 PM
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I did this job 2 years ago. I stripped everything down to metal, including the fixed part on the wall. I used aircraft stripper, worked excellent! Then I used an automotive primer, picked up aerosol cans of it in Walmart. Then 2 coats of B.M. latex semi gloss rolled on with a trim roller.

They came out awesome, smooth as new and have no issue so far with bubbling or peeling, even in the bathroom where there were some rusty spots.

Good luck with the project, refinishing the baseboards really makes a huge difference.
 
 

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