Stainless steel sinks last a long time. They are extremely durable. Over time, stainless steel can get discolored and brown staining can occur. The easiest way to cover up stains is by painting your stainless steel sink.

Painting your stainless steel sink will make it look brand new! However, stainless steel is nonporous, making it difficult for paint to stick to it. Before painting, you want to prep the sink by buffing it with coarse sandpaper and cleaning it thoroughly. Then apply metal-etching primer. Paint in thin, even layers to get the longest-lasting finish. Finally, seal in the paint with metal wax.

The process may seem tedious, but following preparation guidelines and using the right materials will make your sink painting DIY project go smoothly! Read on to check out some tips and tricks for painting your stainless steel sink as well as top-recommend products.

Can You Paint a Stainless Steel Sink?

You can paint stainless steel sinks with 2-part epoxy or stainless steel paint. Unlike other types of steel, stainless steel contains chromium. Chromium is a rust-preventative that keeps your sink shiny and durable for longer. However, chromium is hard to paint over. It is very smooth and most types of paint do not adhere to it. If you want to paint your stainless steel sink, proper preparation and specific materials are required.

To paint your stainless steel sink you need to remove the sink from the counter and take off all the hardware. Then you need to buff and clean the sink well. Applying metal-etching primer to the buffed metal surface helps to waterproof the sink and provides a surface that paint will stick to. You want to use spray epoxy paint. It is the same paint and primer used on cars.

Why Paint Your Stainless Steel Sink?

There are several reasons why you might want to paint your stainless steel sink.

  1. Cost – It is much less expensive to paint your stainless steel sink than it is to replace it.
  2. Staining – Over time stainless steel can tarnish and get brown spots. If your sink is old, it will seem less shiny than it used to. If the integrity of the sink is still good (no leaks or cracks) then painting it is a great way to give your sink a fresh look.
  3. Style Change – Right now it is trendy to have different colored sinks. For example, matte black and copper sinks are really popular. 

What Type of Paint Can You Use?

Stainless steel is nonporous which means it is more difficult for paint to stick to it. The best paints to use are 2-part epoxy or stainless steel paint. The top-selling brands are compared in the table below.

Appliance Epoxy by Rust-oleumSpray5+ colors$9/can
Universal All Surface Metallic Paint by Rust-oleumSpray23+ colors$18/can
Fusion All-In-One by KrylonSpray20+ colors$15/can

Spray paint is the easiest way to get a clean and even paint application on your stainless steel sink. Rollers are too large to fit into all the crevices. Paint brushes will leave behind brushstrokes. The bristles of the brush will stick to the texture of the metal and leave behind clumpy swirl marks.

All of these paints will apply to anything that is stainless steel. You can paint any of your stainless steel appliances! Once you finish your sink, you can paint your dishwasher or refrigerator to match.

How Many Coats Do You Need?

Most paints will only require two coats. You want to apply thin, even layers. Hold the spray can several feet away from the sink. Avoid pooling the paint. Also, certain colors may need more coats than others. If you decide to go with a bright color, more layers will increase the pigment. 

How to Prepare to Paint Your Stainless Steel Sink

You will need the following materials to paint your stainless steel sink:

  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Screwdriver
  • Floor covering

How to Prepare to Paint Your Stainless Steel Sink

Proper preparation of your stainless steel sink will determine whether or not the paint and primer stick to it. It is important to follow all of the necessary steps including removing the sink, buffing the sink with sandpaper, and deep cleaning the sink.

Step 1: Remove Your Sink

Do not paint your sink while it is mounted on your counter. You could get paint on your counter or accidentally paint the seam between the sink and counter. This would lock the sink in and make it very difficult to remove later on.

Make sure to turn off the water before you remove the sink. Once the sink is out, put it on a drop cloth on the floor. If it is a nice day, consider painting outside. This will lessen the chance of overspray damaging the kitchen floor or cabinets. 

After the sink is on the ground, use a screwdriver to remove the facet and any other hardware. Even if you want to paint these fixtures, it is better to do it when they are off of the sink. Use painter’s tape to block off any section of the sink you do not want to paint. 

Step 2: Buff Your Sink

Put on gloves and begin buffing the stainless steel with coarse sandpiper. 150-grit is recommended. You want to make sure to score every bit of the surface. If your sink is old or dirty, you may need to sand over the sink several times. Do not use an electric sander. It is best to sand a stainless steel sink by hand.

Step 3: Deep Clean the Sink

Spray paint latches on to every speck of dirt and dust. Clean out the sink of all the metal shavings created by sanding it. Once the sharp pieces are removed, deep clean the sink. You can use any cleaners that you normally would on your sink. Rinse all of the soap or cleaner off the metal. Any residue left over will affect how the paint adheres. After the sink is cleaned, allow it to dry completely. You can use a microfiber towel to speed up the process, but allowing it to dry naturally is recommended.

How to Paint Your Stainless Steel Sink

After you finish preparing your stainless steel sink, it is ready to paint! Make sure you have the proper primer and paint. Now is also a good time to double-check the area you are painting your sink in. Use painter’s tape and drop clothes to protect flooring, furniture, cabinets, and other appliances from overspray. You will need these materials to paint your stainless steel sink:

  • Metal-etching primer
  • Paint
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Cleaning solution

Step 1: Primer Your Sink

Buffing your sink with 150-grit sandpaper is a great way to help with paint adherence. However, you will also want to use a primer. Primer will help prevent rust. It will also ensure the paint sticks smoothly.

Just like the paint, choose a spray primer. The best primer to choose is a metal-etching primer. Etch primers are made with a combination of resins that adhere to all metal surfaces. Some good choices for metal-etching primer are:

  • Rust-oleum Self-Etching Primer
  • Dupli-Color Self-Etching Primer
  • TP Tools Self-Etch Primer
  • Sponge
  • Metal Wax

Hint: If you are having a hard time finding metal-etching primer in the store, check the automotive aisle. Etch primers are used before painting cars. 

Step 2: Apply Your Paint

Keep your spray paint at least a foot away from the sink when you apply. Use a wide sweeping motion to paint in thin, even layers. Be prepared to paint at least 2 coats. Some colors and paint formulas may need 3-4 coats. It is not impossible to paint a stainless steel sink with a brush, but it will give a textured finish. If you do not want a rustic look, be sure to use spray paint. Top-selling steel paints are:

  • Rust-oleum Appliance Epoxy Spray Paint
  • Rust-oleum Universal All Surface Metallic Paint 
  • Krylon Fusion All-In-On Spray Paint

Allow each coat to dry completely. Take 220-grit sandpaper and gently scuff the dried paint. This will help the next coat adhere. Repeat the process between every coat of paint. Do not scuff the last layer of paint. This may seem tedious, but it will prevent the paint from flaking or chipping later on.

Step 3: Wax the Sink

After your final layer of spray paint is dry, seal your stainless steel sink with wax. Adding a layer of wax will help waterproof the sink and prevent the paint from peeling, chipping, or cracking. Take a sponge or rag and dip it into the wax. Rub the wax evenly over the entire sink. You want a thin, but even layer of wax. Wipe off any globs of excess and blend out streaks.

Make sure you select a wax that is made for use over metal. High-quality metal waxes can be found in the automotive aisle. Do not use waxes designed for flooring. If you want an added layer of waterproofing protection, use a spray-on acrylic sealer. Allow this to dry for at least 72 hours before adding the wax.

How Expensive Is It To Paint Your Sink?

It is not expensive to paint your stainless steel sink. All you need is sandpaper, metal-etching primer, stainless steel spray paint, and metal wax. You can complete the entire job for less than $75! 

150-Grit Sandpaper$3
220-Grit Sandpaper$3
Metal-Etching Primer$12
Stainless Steel Spray Paint (2 Cans)$30
Metal Wax$13.00
Total Cost$61.00

As a comparison, a new kitchen sink averages $100-$150. Painting your sink costs half as much and you can choose any color you want! You can use the same paint on the sink faucet and knobs. This will give you a completely new sink set for under $75!

If you want your sink painted professionally, contact your local handyman service. Fair warning, expect to pay at least double, if not triple the DIY cost. It is usually more cost-effective to buy a new sink than have a professional come in to paint it. Painting a stainless steel sink is only affordable if you do it yourself.


Tired of your old stainless steel sink? Painting is a cost-effective way to give your kitchen a makeover! Painting a stainless steel sink is about half the cost of replacing it. The key to a successful project is always preparation and high-quality materials. It may take you just as long to prep the sink as it will take to paint it. But the final result is smooth, rich pigment. If you follow the steps properly, no one will even know your sink is painted!

Resources & Related Articles

Can You Paint A Stainless Steel Sink? – Annie & Oak.

How to Paint Your Stainless-Steel Sink in the Kitchen?

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