Can You Use Rustoleum Paint Over Powder Coat? (Explained) (2023)

Powder coating is one of the most durable finishes in the auto industry. Though durable, powder coating won’t last forever. After some time, it will experience wear and tear.

And it can expose the metal part beneath to oxidation and corrosion. As a car owner interested in protecting their investment from the effects of rust, you may consider painting Rustoleum over a powder coat.

Rustoleum is a metal paint and primer that can be used to protect surfaces. It can prevent and stop the spread of rust.

Like powder coat, Rustoleum is also a popular type of coating in the auto industry. With that in mind, let’s circle back to our question of the day.

Can You Use Rustoleum Paint Over Powder Coat? (Explained) (1)

Can you use Rustoleum over a powder-coated surface?

Rustoleum can be painted successfully over powder coat only if you adhere to certain instructions. As it is, a powder-coated surface can’t hold Rustoleum paint.

If you spray Rustoleum directly to powder coat, it will not hold. You must engage in thorough preparation. And by preparation, we mean scuffing up the powder coat.

What you have to understand is that paints only adhere to rough surfaces. The smooth nature of a powder-coated surface is what proves to be a challenge when painting Rustoleum over a powder coat. The second thing you have to keep in mind is a thorough cleaning of the surface.

Before spraying Rustoleum paint over a powder coat, you must ensure the surface is free of contaminants such as wax and grease. That can be achieved by using a strong solvent or paint thinner.

These will interfere with adhesion and can ruin your project. If you can adequately prepare the powder-coated surface, it should be very easy to spray Rustoleum paint over the powder coat.

Why Would You Paint Rustoleum Over Powder Coat?

Now that we have figured out that it’s possible to paint Rustoleum over powder coat, we must ask ourselves why anyone would want to engage in such an act.

People have different reasons for spraying Rustoleum over powder coat. The first is to enhance the protection against rust. As mentioned earlier, even though powder coat is durable, it won’t last forever.

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If your car is exposed to a lot of moisture and road salt, which accelerates corrosion, you can benefit from the extra protection offered by Rustoleum.

The other reason people paint Rustoleum over powder coats is to improve the finish. As the saying goes, beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder.

Some people don’t like the powder coat finish. It’s why they would prefer to touch it up with some Rustoleum paint. In the process, they can also change the color of the finish. It’s more of a personal preference.

Irrespective of your reasons, this project needs to be handled carefully, lest you will not be pleased with the results.

Why Rustoleum and Not Other Paints?

If your goal is to change just the aesthetics, you may wonder why I should only use Rustoleum and not any other paint.

You first have to know that you don’t need to use Rustoleum paint over a powder coat. You can use anything. But it would be in your best interest to use Rustoleum. We will explain why.

You apply powder coat to a car so that you can protect it from the effects of the environment such as oxidation, scratching, and many other things.

If you had powder coated your car, then it means you are mindful of preserving and protecting it from the environment.

If you are that keen on protection, then it would make the most sense to go for a paint that is as durable as what’s beneath.

If you were to use ordinary car paint, it would be better to let the powder coat stay as it is. That’s because ordinary paint will wear out much sooner than Rustoleum.

The latter happens to be a very durable coating that will work alongside the powder coat to protect your car from the dangerous effects of oxidation.

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How to Paint Rustoleum Over Powder Coat?

It’s a fairly easy process that doesn’t require many tools or expertise.

Step 1 – Gather the Essential Requirements

There are a couple of things that you will need to pull off this project. Obviously, you will need some Rustoleum paint. We prefer the ones packed in spray cans since they are easier to use.

You will also need very fine sandpaper, preferably 200grit. It’s also advisable to purchase a strong cleaner or a paint thinner.

Step 2 – Preparation (Scuff the Powder Coat)

The best way to approach the scuffing of a powder-coated surface is to wet sand it with a 200grit sandpaper. It will be much easier and more effective at roughing up the surface.

Make sure that you sand thoroughly until there are no shiny spots. If you see shiny spots, then chances are, you missed a spot. Once the entire powder-coated surface is dull, move on to the next step.

Step 3 – Strip Off Any Contaminants

Even if the surface were just powder-coated days ago, there would be contaminants. Don’t risk painting Rustoleum over contaminants.

To strip off these contaminants, you will need to apply your cleaner of choice to the powder coat. Acetone works great, and so does paint thinner. Wipe it off with a rag, and then let it dry.

Step 4 – Spray Rustoleum Paint on the Scuffed Powder Coat

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Your powder-coated surface would be ready for paint application. Therefore, grab your spray can and get to work.

Remember, Rustoleum is both primer and paint, so there will be no need for spraying primer on the surface. Shoot several coats of Rustoleum paint to get a better finish. Let it dry before taking your vehicle out for a spin.

Is Rustoleum Tougher than Powder Coat?

We have already covered why anyone would want to spray Rustoleum over a powder coat. But for those wondering, Rustoleum isn’t as tough as powder coat. Out of all coatings, a powder coat is the most durable.

It can withstand the harshest conditions for years. A surface that has been powder coated will receive longer protection than one that has just been painted with Rustoleum.

You should go for both Rustoleum and powder coat if you want ultimate protection.

What are Some of the Challenges of Painting Rustoleum Over Powder Coat?

Even though it’s possible, there are several challenges that you should anticipate. Familiarizing yourself with these challenges will help you avoid making mistakes that would interfere with the final finish of your project.

The first challenge is in regards to adhesion. As mentioned earlier, the powder coating surface is flat and very smooth. If you have done some painting in the past, you are well aware that paint doesn’t adhere to such a surface.

It’s why in our process of how to paint Rustoleum over powder coat, we talked a great deal about scuffing the surface with sandpaper. When you do that, you create a rough surface on the powder coat for Rustoleum to hold on to.

The other challenge is matching the performance of these two coatings. There is no comparison between Rustoleum and powder coat. The latter is tougher and more durable.

If you were accustomed to the strength of powder coat, that of Rustoleum might slightly disappoint you since it’s not as durable. Anyway, compared to regular paints, Rustoleum is much better. And it’s an ideal alternative.

Fortunately, you can overcome all these challenges. Regarding the adhesion, provided you scuff up the surface, the paint should hold with much ease.

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Regarding matching the performance of powder coat, Rustoleum is one of the most durable paint jobs on the market. It may not be as strong as a powder coat, but it will get the job done.

We didn’t list one thing as a challenge, but you need to get it right, and that is the mode of application.

Besides the scuffing, you also need to clean the powder-coated surface. Grease and other contaminants can prevent the adherence of Rustoleum. Make sure that you follow our guide keenly.

Can I Paint Rustoleum on Worn Out Powder Coat?

When painting Rustoleum on a powder coat, the latter surface must be intact. If it’s worn out, your Rustoleum paint job will not last.

When the powder coat has worn out on some parts, the best solution is to remove the powder coat and apply a new layer of powder coat.

Alternatively, you can remove the powder coat and directly spray the Rustoleum. The areas where the powder coat has worn out will have an unsmooth surface, affecting your finish.

Is It Okay to Paint Rustoleum Over Rusted Surface?

Rustoleum can prevent and stop the spread of rust on metal. If the powder coat had worn out and some parts had started rusting, you can still paint Rustoleum over it.

But first, you will have to sandblast the rusted area, apply filler then spray Rustoleum. Remember not to rush such a project because, quite often, a lack of adequate preparation can reduce the lifespan of the Rustoleum paint.

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What paint is best for over powder coat? ›

If your customer repaints, recommend using thermosetting acrylic, epoxy, polyester or polyurethane enamels. Although they may not provide the same quality, air drying enamels including aerosol spray can paints will adhere as well.

Will enamel paint stick to powder coat? ›

A: Unfortunately, powder coatings are very hard and do not easily allowed other coatings to adhere. A better method for recoating the powder is to lightly sand it with 180 grit sand paper, solvent wipe and then follow with a two-component epoxy primer followed by the enamel of your choice.

Can paint be applied over powder coating? ›

Since paint cannot adhere to a surface after powder coating, you will need to prepare the surface by sanding it down. First, carefully sand the surface down, then wipe the surface with a solvent cleaner, rinse, and allow the surface to dry.

What is the best primer for painting over powder coat? ›

Step 2. Priming. Best primer for painting over powder coat? Prime all over with one full coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer Sealer in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, allowing a minimum 1 hour drying time (in normal drying conditions).

Can you paint metal that has been powder coated? ›

Normally, powder coating has a slick surface which does not allow paint to stick. Sanding it down carefully will enable you to paint on it effectively. Wipe down the area you will be painting with an appropriate solvent cleaner. Finally, rinse it down with warm water, then allow it to dry.

Can you recoat over powder coating? ›

The Short Answer. Put simply, the answer – most of the time – is yes. There's nothing about powder coating that makes the material fundamentally incompatible with more powder coating. You can still have the powder applied and cured to form a new coating that looks just like new, in most cases.

Does paint thinner work on powder coat? ›

NEVER use solvents such as acetone, contact cleaners, thinners or Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) to clean powder coating finishes. These solvents are very damaging to the powder coat and will soften and/or dissolve the surface of the coating, diminishing its shine and durability or removing the finish altogether.

Does powder coating need a primer? ›

Cleaning and priming surfaces are crucial to the successful outcome of the powder coating process. Powder coating will bond better when the material it's applied to is clean.

How do you remove powder coating? ›

The most common methods to remove powder coating are:
  1. Chemical stripping.
  2. Burn-off in oven.
  3. Media blasting.
May 24, 2018

Why does powder coating peel off? ›

The main reason for powder to peel or flake off the substrate is due to lack of adhesion between the powder and the substrate. This can be caused in a number of ways such as poor surface preparation, where the surface may be contaminated with oils, paints, chemical sealers, etc.

What is the best primer for powder coated Aluminium? ›

For these jobs, an epoxy zinc-free power primer such as TIGER Dryprotector 69/70000 would be best suited for aluminum substrates. Designed to deliver superior corrosion protection for aluminum substrates and offers: Excellent corrosion resistance. Chemical resistance.

How long will powder coating last? ›

Powder coating can last up to 40 years depending on the preparation, type of coating used, materials and treatment process. While most powder coatings are highly durable, weather-resistant and provide years of high-traffic use, certain factors can significantly accelerate fading and performance.

Should you clear coat over powder coat? ›

Common Applications for Clear Powder Coats

For metallic silver or chrome powder coats, we recommend adding a clear coat to protect your finish. The clear coat prevents moisture exposure so that the metal flakes don't oxidize over time or lose their shine.

Can I epoxy over powder coating? ›

It is OK to use an epoxy as a primer so long as you apply an opaque topcoat over it. If you don't want to scuff sand the powder coating then you run the risk of paint delamination down the road.

What goes first primer or powder? ›

Typically, the face makeup routine goes something as follows: primer, foundation, powder, and lastly setting spray.

How can you tell if metal is powder coated? ›

Powder will likely have more texture than liquid and be more rounded at the edges than liquid paint. Measure the film thickness if you can. There are gauges made for that purpose. If you do not have a thickness gauge you may be able to take your part to a coating shop and have them do it for you.

How long does powder coating last on metal? ›

Powder coated metal provides a durable finish to equipment that can last for decades. Unlike painted metal surfaces, powder coated metal can remain intact and rust-free for up to 20 years. Powder coating is resistant to chemicals, corrosion, and weathering.

Will steel rust if powder coated? ›

Powder-coated steel is highly resistant to rust in most cases, so it won't develop unsightly rust patches or leave red streaks on a patio or building facade. However, if it sustains damage, small cracks in the coating may appear, admit moisture and allow rust to form.

What can damage powder coating? ›

Powder coatings can be damaged by harsh solvents. A number of commercial cleaning products can cause damage to these types of finishes. Once the finish has become damaged, it is much more vulnerable to fading, staining and failure of the finish itself.

Will powder coating come off? ›

The beautiful color peels away until the underlying metal is exposed and inevitably the process must start from the beginning. Although powder coating is more durable than other forms of paint, it is not indestructible.

Can you undo powder coating? ›

Though its durability is one of its greatest strengths, it is possible to remove powder coating from a substrate without destroying it in the process. You can remove powder coating with a chemical stripper, abrasive blasting, or extreme heat. There are even lasers designed to remove coatings.

What chemical removes powder coating? ›

One of the easiest ways to remove powder coating is chemically. Benco B17 is an industrial liquid chemical stripper that has a high concentration of methylene chloride that removes sturdy powder coating in less than 20 minutes.

Will mineral spirits remove powder coat? ›

Do not use turpentine, white spirits, thinners, citrus based cleaners or other aggressive solvents on powder coating. Ensure all paint splatters or excess sealant are immediately removed before they dry.

What temperature does powder coat burn off? ›

The oven temperature is set between 650-750F, which is generally the temperature where the coating will degrade and eventually ignite. The byproducts of this process (VOCs) are often destroyed by afterburners in the exhaust stack.

What is the best primer for powder coated metal? ›

Pure epoxy zinc-free primers will provide superior chemical resistance compared to other primers, which is useful where a project requires resistance to cleaning agents and harsh environments. Job Shops appreciate zinc free primers because they are so versatile and can be used on a wide variety of projects.

What metals Cannot be powder coated? ›

Metals that are not electrically conductive, like those that use certain fillers, cannot be powder coated.

Is powder coating always glossy? ›

Powder coatings are used in both indoor and outdoor applications and in a very broad range of gloss levels (from high gloss, through silk or egg-shell gloss, to dead-matte). Generally, amongst other things, the gloss level depends on the coating thickness and the loading level of the filler(s).

Is there a primer for powder coating? ›

The Purpose of Powder Coating Primers

Primers are effective in preparing metals for outdoor installations and aquatic environments. Making sure that powder coating bonds to steel, iron, aluminum products and more, helps combat corrosion.

Will epoxy primer stick to powder coat? ›

Paints and Coatings Resource Center, an online painting reference, recommends using any two-component epoxy primer over scuff-sanded powder coatings.


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