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What Kind of Paint to Use on an Antique Iron Bed?

When it comes to refinishing an antique iron bed, choosing the appropriate paint is not nearly as important as choosing the right primer. Because iron is nonporous, it is ill-suited for adhesion and requires abrasion before any paint will stick. Unfortunately, iron is too durable for friction-based abrasion techniques. A special type of primer is required to condition the metal for paint adhesion. After the iron is treated, most any paint will adhere. However, some paints have advantages over others.

Abrasion

Do not paint the antique iron bed in an unventilated area.

Absolutely no kind of paint will not stick to an antique iron bed unless the surface is abraded with a special type of primer. The cleaned iron bed should be coated with a galvanized metal etching primer. A 2-inch latex paintbrush or a mini-roller should be used to apply the primer and paint. Six hours of dry time should be allowed before painting. Once the antique iron bed is primed, it will accept most any type of paint.

Acrylic latex paint

Glossy water-based, acrylic latex paints can also be used to coat a properly prepared antique iron bed. However, they can chip under harsh circumstances. As long as the bed is not subjected to a large amount of friction-based duress, the finish should remain durable. Apply acrylic latex paints to primed iron beds, using a mini-roller or a paintbrush manufactured for use with water-based paints.

Oil-based enamels

Oil-based enamels offer the most durability and provide a shiny, attractive gloss coating. Oil-based paints emit large amounts of fumes and should only be applied in well-ventilated areas. Apply oil-based paints to primed iron beds, using a mini-roller or a paintbrush manufactured for use with oil paints.

Epoxy

For those who would like to avoid oil-based coatings, water-based appliance epoxy paint offers similar durability to oil-based enamels. Apply appliance epoxy paint to primed iron beds, using a mini-roller or a paintbrush manufactured for use with water-based paints.

Warnings

Antique iron beds should never be painted unless they are coated with a galvanized metal etching primer, first. The finish will peel relatively soon after application unless the iron is properly prepared. Ordinary acrylic or oil-based primers are not appropriate for antique iron beds.

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