How to Paint a Stainless Steel Sink – In 6 Easy Steps

How to Paint a Stainless Steel Sink

Stainless steel sinks are best known for their resistance to corrosion and their clean look. They are also among the most affordable options, so it is no surprise that most homeowners choose to go with a stainless steel sink.

The one drawback though is that stainless steel sinks all come in the same color. You might find that the gray color of stainless steel does not fit the decor of the rest of your kitchen, bathroom, or any other room where you decide to install the sink. You may, therefore, decide to change the color of your stainless steel sink to a shade that matches the rest of the fixtures around it.

If that sounds like you, then you’re in the right place! Let’s take a step by step look at what you will need to paint your stainless steel sink to the color of your choice!

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1. Ready the Supplies

There are few things more frustrating than starting a project, and realizing mid-way that you don’t have that one thing you need to move on to the next step. We’ve all been there – so let’s try and prepare ourselves beforehand. Here is a list of things I’d recommend you keep handy:

2. Scrub the Entire Surface of the Sink

Painting a stainless steel sink can be difficult because the finished surface of the stainless steel sink is completely smooth. This can make the cohesion process of the paint more difficult. So as a general rule, you never want to apply paint directly to your stainless steel sink as it would not bond that way.

Grab your sandpaper or sanding machine and scrape the entire surface of your stainless steel sink. By making the surface of your sink slightly rougher, you would give the paint something to actually bond on.

3. Clean the Sink

After you may have roughened up the surface top of your stainless steel sink, you need to thoroughly clean the surface of the sink. This would help to keep it completely clean and free from debris or dirt. So that when the paint is applied, it would bond perfectly with your stainless steel sink.

If your sink is particularly dirty, it is not enough to use plain soap and water. You will need a specialized steel cleanser or a degreaser to rid your sink free of grease. If you make use of any cleaner, make sure to note the drying time listed by its manufacturer. Wait the amount of time before continuing with your project.

4. Apply a Primer Coat

The basic function of a primer is to provide a sealed and stable surface for your paint. Always use a primer with stainless steel, because it has special bonding agents that help them keep paint on the surface.

Feel free to use any primer, as long as it is rated for stainless steel. White primer is recommended for most colors, but if you intend on painting your stainless steel sink in a darker color, then you may want to use a darker primer.

Now apply the primer over the sink, giving its surface as even of a coating as possible – and give it some time to dry off. To achieve an even and smooth application of the primer coating, it is recommended to use a sprayer.

  • If you are using a sprayer, hold the nozzle about 12 inches away from your stainless steel sink.
  • If you use a sprayer ensure you paint in one direction as this would ensure the grain of paint looking more consistent.
  • Wait between 15-20 minutes to allow the primer to dry off.

5. Paint the Sink

When the primer is dry, clean the sink with a dry cloth to remove any loose particles that would have been left by primer.

Now proceed to paint the sink. Just like with the primer, consider using a sprayer for the easiest application.

  • Hold the sprayer around 12 inches from the sink, and apply the first coat of paint.
  • Wait for the paint to dry, and apply another coating. Avoid rushing this step – as several thin layers of paint will give you a much smoother coating rather than one single thick layer.
  • Repeat the above steps until you are happy with how your sink looks, and make sure that the coated surface is even.
  • Wait for the paint to completely dry. The can/box of paint should mention how long it takes for it to dry – if not, give it a full 24 hours to be safe.

6. Apply Wax to Make it Shine

Once the sink is completely dry, evenly apply a thin coat of wax over the whole area of your stainless steel sink and let it dry.

Once the wax is dried take a dry cloth and clean up the sink thoroughly – this will give your sink that new glossy look.

Bonus Tip: If you’d like to write on your stainless steel sink, nail polish works great. It sticks very well to paint, and is available in any shade of color you can think of to match the color you have chosen for your sink!

That’s it! Now your newly painted sink is ready for you to enjoy!

Spray Paint Your Kitchen Sink for the Full Experience

Just like your kitchen sink, your kitchen faucet can also be spray painted to give your kitchen a fresh, new look. It can be a great way to save while also increasing the life of your faucet. If you’re ready to take on this fun task our detailed guide how to spray paint your kitchen faucet will be a great resource!

George Sab is a retired home improvement professional. For over 30 years, he has educated his clients and helped them make the best choice for their homes. George started A Great Sink in 2017 to share his knowledge with the world and assist his readers on their journey to their perfect home!

15 COMMENTS

  1. Great tips for painting the stainless steel sink.Thanks for sharing the process for putting the paint on the sink.I thought only paint is painting on the sink .The primer and wax plays a important role.Thanks for sharing such amazing article.

  2. I am.pkanning to paint copper on the sink. Can you give some advise how to not chip paint after using sink cause you know sink is the mos used place under the water and soap in the kitchen. Thanks.

    • Some really common tips can be used on a regular basis to avoid chips. Avoid keeping dirty and heavy utensils on your surface for too long. Try to wash and dry off the surface after every use. Hard water stains are a big no. Use mild detergents to clean your utensils. Also you can try putting powder coating. However, it actually also depends on the quality of your stainless steel sink. By regular use, the paint is bound to get a little bit chipped. Then you can try fixing or reapplying paint.
      GOOD LUCK!

  3. Hi George! First-time homebuyer here and I’m planning on DIYing my entire (tiny) kitchen. Do you have specific products that you would recommend using or that you used and found worked best? Specifically for the wax finish. My current sink is an incredibly stainless steel sink and I’m planning on painting it black with a brass fixture for the faucet. I want to ensure that I’m applying to correct finish to ensure it lasts as long as possible with minimal chipping in the future (saw your tips above!). Thanks!

    • Hi Christine, thank you for reading it out.Here is what you can do.
      Carnauba wax, just like we use on cars can be an ideal choice for applying on stainless steel sinks. It would keep the surface shiny and protect from smudges and scratches.
      However if you think, your family is going to directly use the sink for putting food, go with something safe.
      I once tried beeswax, it’s a bit hard to apply than the Carnauba. Warm it, apply a thin layer, let it dry with a hair dryer on high heat and once it has a thin layer wait until it gets cool. Finally buff away any extra wax and that’s it. Hope that helped!

    • Hi Lori, thanks for reaching out. Dissolving plaster from pipes is a complicated task. The best way is to get some professional help. I’ll try to write about it in my next articles. Stay Tuned!

  4. Hi George
    Thanks for your article. It’s very helpful. I planned to change my kitchen sink, but now I changed my mind. I’m going to try your instructions.
    Thanks again

  5. George;
    Thanks for writing this how-to… when it comes to prepping, I have three questions. First, how aggressive does the sanding need to be? Many sinks that I have seen already have the brushed look. Does a layer need to be removed, or does a layer need to have some regular grooves for adhesion? Second, I assume acetone or MEK are both sufficiently heavy duty cleaners, correct? Third and last… as far as priming and painting, do you have any helpful brand or type recommendations? In my particular case, I am hoping to go from stainless to white.

    • Recently I went away for a few weeks and left a plastic spray bottle of Sodium hypochlorite and zinc sulphate standing on my very thick old fashioned stainless steel sink. (The spray cleaner is used to clean mound off bathroom tiles and also to remove weathering from wooden decking). When I returned I found the chlorine mixture had been leached out of the plastic bottle and had trickled across the draining area and into the one sink. I found a thick deep red crust. When I cleaned it off the stainless steel had been corroded and pitted and even has some holes.
      Removing the sink would be a huge job – it’s almost 6 feet long – double drainers and deep double sinks
      I am now researching how to repair it and resurface it. I have found an epoxy steel putty which might work for the holes – and wondered if I could paint over the corrosion.
      I am not expecting a perfect outcome but anything would be an improvement !
      If you send me an email address I could send some photos.
      I hope you might be able to help me improve this unfortunate situation. Lesley

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