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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

September, 2010

Painting an Outdoor Steel Spiral Staircase

Q. I have an outdoor steel spiral stair case that was recently installed. It came from the factory with a red oxide primer. It will have mild foot traffic and is not in a marine environment. I am looking to see what can be applied by brush and roller that will protect it from rust and be long lasting. Friends are suggesting two part expoxy paints and or marine paints. We are considering a one part Alkyd top coat over the red oxide. What would you suggest or recommend to use to keep these stairs looking good? Thanks

A. I suggest you thoroughly clean the red oxide primer to remove all dust, dirt, grease, etc. Apply another coat of alkyd or acrylic primer followed by one or two coats of alkyd or acrylic topcoat. This should have a long lasting finish. Allow sufficient time for the solvents (or water) to evaporate before applying subsequent coats. Alkyd paints have the tendency to chalk when exposed to sunlight; therefore, I prefer to apply an acrylic for outdoor applications. The epoxy / marine coating option would work, but it might be an overkill for this application.


Ron Joseph

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