Spray paint & Faucets: Friends or Foe?

Are you a home owner?  Are you a home owner with an older home, or a bathroom/kitchen in need of an update?  Here's an idea that won't break the bank, plus a few "Do's" and "Dont's" to help make your spray painting experience, a successful one. 

In summer 2015 I completed a job that entailed a simple solution to a nagging problem.  This job taught me MANY valuable things. In the end, the most important being the critical role communication plays in the development of good customer relationships, and friendships. (that's a post in and of itself!). Today, though, we're focusing on spray painting, potential problems, and solutions so that your next spray painting experience leaves you smiling, not crying! 


Master bathroom hardware.   The shape and style of the hardware was liked, however, the finish was not.  There was a mix of different finishes; shiny silvery-chrome, and matte nickel. There had to be a solution.  There always is.  In this scenario, there were two possible solutions:

1. Purchase new hardware  

2. Spray paint it.

In this particular case, the home-owner still liked the hardware, therefore, solution #2 made the best sense.   You can see the finished product at this link:  Bathroom Vanities: Vision + Paint = New master bathroom


Rust-o-leum primer + paint Universal spray paint in oil rubbed bronze.  

THE PROCESS:  (how about we start with the things I did well).....

1. Research!  Read about the process and necessary products for a job like this.  I read plenty of success stories and how-to's on spray painting all types of hardware in the house.  I was ready and confident to tackle the job. 

2. Clean the hardware. Always clean every inch of the pieces before even thinking about spraying them.  Use a lightly abrasive, but non-harmful sponge to get off thicker debris like hairspray, soap, lotion, etc.  Warm water with dish soap works great.  When clean, leave to dry. 

3.  Apply 2-3 layers of spray paint, allowing plenty of time to dry between coats (I waited a day between each coat)

3.  Protect all surrounding surfaces, and I mean ALL surrounding surfaces.  I used cheap plastic tablecloths from the Dollar store.  I taped them to the walls and surrounding areas using painter's tape.   Since I did not remove the faucets/handles, I carefully placed painters' tape around each of those.  

4.  Spray Paint:  Purchase a quality brand like Rust-o-leum.   I used Rust-o-leum Primer + paint all-in-one spray, and it worked great.  Desired color. Subtle texture. 

5. If any small specs of spray paint get on your porcelain, use a cotton ball with a bit of fingernail polish remover.  Works like a charm.  

5. Sealant:  After all layers are done, allows 2-3 days to dry before you apply a sealant spray.  I used Krylon polyurethane spray. Any quality/brand-name polyurethane or Polycrylic clear spray will accomplish the same goal. Make sure it's CLEAR spray.  I used a clear spray in a MATTE finish.  The sealant spray protects the spray paint from chipping, and normal every day use. Allow PLENTY of time to dry before using....3-4 days at least!  

Now I'll get to the "lessons learned" parts: (what I would do differently next time!): 

1.  Remove all faucets and handles.  What?  Yes.  ALL OF THEM.  Removing them will save you time in the end. You'll get faster, more complete coverage.  It also eliminates the need to cover every last surrounding inch of the room with sheets and tarps. 

2.  Remember, faucets move!  Coverage at every angle is needed!   Though I taped around the faucets meticulously, and covered all surrounding surfaces from here to Minnesota, I failed to consider that the faucets actually TURN.   Yes I did that.  Who knew?  Faucets turn?  

I sprayed those faucets like a champ, covering every feasible angle.  Not a speck on the surrounding surfaces or the porcelain..... BUT...... (and it's a big BUT!) areas on the faucet handles were missed, because I did not think to turn the faucet handles (which would mean the water would be running, while spraying those sections, right?  This would wreak havoc in the room with black water spraying in every direction).  

3. Good ventilation: Spraying outside is ideal, but not always possible.  Use a mask, and/or open windows when possible! 

The take home message:    

If you absolutely cannot remove your hardware, be sure to consider the fact that the faucets turn!  This became obvious when the home-owner went to turn on the faucets.  Oiy, Kate!  Since these particular faucets twisted as well, I was able to get coverage on every part of the faucet, by simple turning the handle, spraying, waiting to dry, then turning the handle again to spray more, and so on and so forth. 

Secondly, while spray paint is a GREAT solution to a nagging problem (clashing finishes or colors), and could save you thousands (yes really!) it does require time and patience.   Putting in the time for preparation, execution, and dry time, will get you results!  

In closing, my assessment is that when these tips and tricks are implemented, spray paint and faucets are indeed FRIENDS, not FOE!!! 

Good luck and happy spraying! 


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