Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

February, 2006

Painting Cold Rolled Steel

Q. We have just started this new business and we weld much better than we paint (no real experience). We are having a terrible time getting our standard rust-oleum paint to stick well to new cold rolled steel. What is the best way to prep the new steel and are there any tips for thinning the primer and thinning the paint for use in a HVLP paint gun? Right now we are painting at to low a temperature, is that the biggest cause of our problem? Thanks for the help.

A. Thanks for your question, but I can't give you a simple answer. Surface prep varies from the least expensive to the most sophisticated, depending on what is being painted, the volume of steel that must be treated on a daily basis, space considerations, temperature and humidity of the paint shop, and much more. Similarly, your questions about the spray guns and paint thinning are dependent on your state and local regulations. We can help you in one of 5 ways:

1. We can spend a day at your facility and review your entire painting operation, teach your painters how to use an HVLP spray gun, explain why local and state regulations might not allow you to thin the paint, explain how to cope with weather extremes (hot and humid, cold and dry), discuss the pro's and con's of using waterborne vs solventborne paints. etc. We can also help you set up your own in-house QC program to catch failures before they happen.

2. You can visit us in San Jose, CA and spend a few hours in which we sit down with you and go through much of the same, but without being able to demonstrate the results on your own product.

3. We can do this by email. You provide us with the exact details of your operation and write up guidelines that you and your painters can follow.

4. Within the next month we are planning to start online training programs on a variety of topics, and you can participate in them on an inexpensive basis.

5. We will be covering most of these topics and more during a three-day seminar to be held in Chicago at the beginning of May (see

Please let me know if any of these options is of interest to you.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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