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Metal Pipe Finishes

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Give galvanized pipe -- or any metal surface -- a touch of industrial chic, a distressed finish, or the look of antique metal with these simple painting techniques.

Four metal finishes on galvanized pipes

Project Overview

Skill Level

Beginner

Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost

$$$$$

Tools & Materials

Tools

  • Putty knife
  • Random-orbit sander (aged paint)
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sea sponge (aged black iron)

Materials

  • Mineral spirits
  • Savogran TSP cleaner
  • Loctite Threadlocker Blue 242 (removable), #42539
  • Aged black iron: Valspar spray paint, Manhattan Mist
  • Aged black iron: Valspar Signature, Cabin Plank (#2011-10), Lincoln Cottage Black (#4009-2), Cinnamon Cake (#3010-6)
  • Industrial steel: Rust-Oleum spray paint, Hammered Silver
  • Aged copper: Rust-Oleum spray paint, Leather Brown, Textured Rustic Umber
  • Aged paint: Valspar spray paint, Royal Garnet, Churchill Hotel Vanilla
  • Aged paint: Valspar Signature, Cinnamon Cake (#3010-6)

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Instructions

Pair the metal finish of your choice with one of our decorative wood finishes.

Prepare Metal for Finishing

Step 1

Regardless of the finish you choose, begin by first removing any stickers or tape with a putty knife. If necessary, use mineral spirits to dissolve adhesive residue.

Good to Know

Pipe threads can be sharp. When washing pipes or cleaning the insides of fittings, avoid touching the threads with bare fingers.

Step 2

Mix trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner according to the label directions, soak each piece, and wash the metal thoroughly. Rinse and let dry.

Good to Know

We’ll show you how to apply textures to individual parts. For projects, you may need to assemble the pieces before finishing.

Step 3

Screws passed through tape for finishing

Finish the screws separately from the metal parts. Poke the tip of each screw -- spaced about 1 inch apart -- through a piece of painter’s tape. Then apply the finish of your choice to the heads to match the other metal parts.

Aged Black Iron Finish

Step 1

Spray on a thick coat of Valspar Manhattan Mist texture paint to form the base coat. Hold the can at least 12 inches from the surface and apply enough to form a thick coat, especially around the threads and joints.

Step 2

Sponge paint over textured finish

Use a sea sponge to dab Valspar Cabin Plank paint on part of the textured finish for a mottled look. Cut a small, triangular piece of sponge to reach into the crevices of some fittings such as 90-degree elbows.

Good to Know

Any sponge will work for this step, but a sea sponge has larger cavities for a more random appearance. Always wash out the sponge immediately after using.

Step 3

Dab black paint around the pipe

Dab on Valspar Lincoln Cottage Black until it covers the textured coating not covered by the Cabin Plank paint. To avoid applying too much, dab small areas until you get the hang of sponging on paint.

Good to Know

If you apply too much black paint, allow it to dry and touch up the problem areas with Cabin Plank paint. Then go over that coat with a smaller amount of black paint.

Step 4

Brush on Cinnamon Cake paint to simulate rust.

Fill a spray bottle with water and set the sprayer to shoot a heavy mist. Mix two parts of Valspar Cinnamon Cake paint to one part water to make a small container of diluted finish. Use a foam brush to dab paint around the threaded areas and in random spots on the black finish -- wherever water would naturally collect and form rust.

Step 5

Mist the orange painted areas

While the paint is still moist, mist the painted areas with water until the paint begins to run.

Step 6

Dab off the excess paint

Dab off some of the paint drips with a dry towel, allowing paint to collect in the threads and fittings. Allow the remaining paint to dry.

Step 7

Finished aged steel pipe

Let the finished project dry overnight before installing or using.

Industrial Steel Finish

Step 1

Assemble the project, allowing an hour for the thread-locking fluid to dry before finishing.

Step 2

Painted steel finish

As an alternative to the galvanized finish on the pipe, spray on an even finish. We used Rust-Oleum Hammered Silver spray paint.

Good to Know

For projects that will see daily wear, such as a coat hook, apply two additional coats of paint.

Aged Copper Finish

Step 1

Apply a coat of Rust-Oleum Leather Brown spray paint; let dry.

Step 2

Aged copper finish on pipe

Spray on a thick -- but not running -- coat of Rust-Oleum Rustic Umber texture paint. This may create cracking or bubbling as the two coats of paint react. Do not wipe or scrape the surface. As the texture coat dries, it will harden to leave an aged copper surface.

Aged Painted Finish

Step 1

Spray on a coat of Valspar Royal Garnet paint; let dry.

Step 2

Spray on a coat of Valspar Churchill Hotel Vanilla paint to cover the previous coat.

Step 3

Using 80-grit disc on a random-orbit sander, sand through to bare metal in a random pattern that also exposes the red base coat. Focus on sanding areas where there’s a texture or raised letters in the metal.

Step 4

Fill a spray bottle with water and set the sprayer to shoot a mist. Mix two parts of Valspar Cinnamon Cake paint to one part water to make a small container of diluted finish. Use a foam brush to dab paint around the threaded areas and in random spots where water would naturally collect and form rust.

Step 5

Aged copper finish on pipe

While the paint is still moist, mist the painted areas with water until the paint begins to run. Dab off some of the paint with a dry towel, allowing it to collect in the threads and fittings. Allow the remaining paint to dry overnight before using the project.