best clear coat for metal

Best Clear Coat For Metal Reviews 2020

Few things in this world can increase the beauty, safety, and durability of an object while remaining completely unseen. But, a clear coating for metal surfaces is one such miracle.

However, picking the best clear coat for metal accessories can be tricky. There are many nuanced factors involved in making the right choice in this particular case.

So, we decided to create this guide which will make your path to finding this holy grail an easy one.

Enjoy the read!

Top 11 Clear Coats For Metal Comparison Chart

Name

Application Step

Application Method

Amount (total)

ProtectaClear, Coating for Metal

Single step

Brush-coating

4-Pounds

POR-15, 45108

Triple step

Brush-coating

1-Pint

KBS Coatings, 8304

Single step

Brush-coating

1-Pint

Rust-Oleum, 327864

Single step

Spray-coating

340-Grams

Dupli-Color, BCL0125

Single step

Spray-coating

226-Grams

Art 'N Glow, Clear Epoxy Resin

Doublestep

Brush-coating

473.2-milliliter (236.6-milliliter per container)

Krylon, K05130107

Single step

Spray-coating

311-grams

East Coast Resin, Clear Epoxy

Doublestep

Brush-coating

3.78-liter (1.89-liter per container)

Everbrite, Clear Coating

Singlestep

Brush-coating

16-ounces

Rust-Oleum, 242057

Single step

Brush-coating

88-milliliter

TotalBoat, TB-9334

Double step

Brush-coating

1.9-liter (0.95-liter per container)

Why We Need To Use Coat On Metal Items?

1. Texture Protection

Using clear coating on metal surfaces provides a wholesome defense against various quality degraders, without disrupting the original texture.

It can save your bare or painted metal accessories from atmospheric enemies like rust and corrosion, created by unguarded exposure to humidity, heat, and rain.

Coating painted metal accessories can save the painted surface from structural damages like chipping, creasing, and fading.

2. A Glossy Finish

Coating metal surfaces and accessories can offer a permanent and shiny finish to their color.

Coating products often use elements like Acrylic Lacquer that not only preserves the painted surface but also increases its shine and glaze. Since coating prevents discoloration and yellowing, the paint on your metal objects will not only achieve a new glamour but also be able to keep that glaze consistently.

3. Increased Durability

Researching a number of studies, we have found that a clear coated metal object has a noticeably longer term of durability than an uncoated one.

Even setting aside the statistical proofs, common sense also dictates us towards the same conclusion.

Coatings protect both bare and painted metal surfaces from multiple atmospheric and structural degraders (e.g. corrosion, cracking, etc.). Thus, coated metal objects tend to last longer and shine brighter.

4. Restoration Of Old Metal Accessories

Clear coatings can also be used to restore the glory of old metal items, such as jewelry, automobile parts, furniture, etc.

5. Outdoor Friendly

If you prefer to do metal crafting or professional builds outdoors, then using clear coating products is a must.

If your painted metal surface suffers long term exposure to sunlight, the UV rays contained in it will ruin the texture. So, by using a clear coat you can stop phenomenon like these from happening, as it blocks UV rays to protect your painted surface from damages like yellowing, cracking, creasing, fading, and discoloration.

6. An Intelligent Investment

Purchasing a clear coat will pay for itself.

If you spend a large amount of money on buying and painting metal accessories, then a simple addition of a clear coating will protect that investment for a long time.

Otherwise, you might spend all the bucks and do all the work, only to let it get ruined by minor issues like a highly humid atmosphere or an unfortunate scratch mark.

Top 11 Best Clear Coat For Metal Reviews

1. ProtectaClear, Protective Coating for Metal

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0186N6ZVK)

ProtectaClear definitely lives up to its name by protecting your metal accessories with a completely transparent coating.

The product uses a metal container equipped with an ergonomic cap, which is designed with small ridges at the top and a spiral patterned finish. The cap is airtight to save the contained liquid from oxidation and auto-evaporation.

The container has a heightened neck for easy-grabbing and resisting shock. It holds 4-pounds of liquid and is able of cover up to 25-square feet of metal surface. It also has a fairly small dimension for easy shelving.

We’ve carefully used the product with various types of metal, such as copper, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, plated metal, etc. and found the coating to be quite durable and easy to apply.

You can use this coating to renew household items, such as door knobs, sinks, wheel-chairs, window grills, and mini lockers. You can also use this product to revitalize metal jewelries.

The coating is able to protect your metal objects from atmospheric degraders, such as acid rain, rust, salt water, and humidity. It also prevents tarnishing, fingerprint traces, and discoloration.

Since the product can be removed and reapplied, it becomes a perfect tool for experimenting, DIY projects, and creating works of art. It also provides a self-leveling feature, eliminating worries about an uneven surface.

The fast-drying coating effectively protects against chlorine and salt. So, you can use it to coat metal parts of a swimming pool as well as in an oceanic setting.

You can use the coating to make washed-up metal accessories look as good as new. Thus, the product will be able to save you the expenditures of buying frequent replacements.

Highlighted Features:

  • Provides an effective coating without distorting the original surface.
  • Can be removed and reapplied to experiment with new styles.
  • A 25-square feet surface-coverage makes it perfect for small DIY projects.
  • Compatible with a variety of metal substances such as copper and plated metals.
  • Offers protection against atmospheric degraders (e.g. acid rain, heat, etc.).

2. POR-15, Clear Rust Preventive Coating 45108

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J6D244W)

In terms of protection against rust, it’s hard to find a more effective clear coat for painted metal than POR 15. The product is strong enough to be successfully applied over surfaces even with leftover traces of rust.

It is designed with a tri-step applying procedure.

First, clean the metal surface for allowing the coating to sit in properly. Then, prepare it with a reputed surface-prepper (e.g. POR 15 Metal Prep). Finally, apply the coating.

The coating is stored in a round metal container and equipped with a multi-edge, push-in cap. This design keeps the 0.473-liter liquid safe from oxidation and loss of quality. The 12-inch high container can be set easily in any standard sized garage shelf.

Users have reported success in using this coating for mechanical repairs (e.g. transformers, fuel tanks, metal pipes) as well as domestic repairs (e.g. metal bed, iron sofa set, etc.). It is also able to keep metal items safe from moisture, humidity, salt, and other materials that can lead to corrosion and structural deformation.

The product is functional on any type of metal surface. However, cleaning the surface beforehand will allow you a more durable coating.

The coating, after being fully cured, turns into an impermeable layer that firmly attaches to the surface, creating an impenetrable protection. This way, it can successfully prevent issues like cracking, chipping, and peeling.

It also provides permanent protection from corrosion by preventing of moisture-caused damage.

The product offers a strong safety profile, as it is free of lead, passes the “2000 hours salt spray test”, and has a low (41.00) flash point.

However, it is reactive to UV rays. So, we recommend using additional layers of coating if the coated object is exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.

The self-leveling coating can also resist oils, fuels, alkalis, and acids, while adding a high amount of impact resistance to the surface.

Highlighted Features:

  • Offers a lead-free coating with a low flash point to decrease health risks.
  • Provides a durable anti-rust protection through preventing moisture-damage.
  • Features an oil, fuel, acid, and alkalis preventive coating.
  • Passes the “2000 hours salt spray test”, proving its level of corrosion-resistance.
  • Cures to an impermeable layer with high adhesion to offer a foolproof defense.

3. KBS Coatings, Clear Diamond Finish 8304

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DMIE20Q)

If you desire a metal clear coat as shiny and pristine as a diamond, KBS Coatings is here to serve.

The application method is simple but effective. It is a single-step coating process that can deliver just as much durability and ruggedness as double-step coating methods.

The metal container holds 1 pint of liquid coating, secured by a push-in, multi-circular lid. The 3.3-inch long container can be smoothly placed on any standard shelf.

The product is mostly praised as a high-quality, clear coat spray paint for metal surfaces. It also has a widespread use in the automobile industry as a base coat, which is used over the preliminary, primer coating. You can apply it as a top coat over cured surfaces as well.

Interestingly, the coating can function equally well with ferrous (iron based) and non-ferrous (titanium, aluminum, zinc, nickel, copper, lead, etc.) metals.

However, for different substances you’ll need to adopt a different prepping process. You can also apply this coating on chemically processed metals.

The manufacturer guarantees protection against quality degrading factors like oxidation, loss of surface structural strength, fading shine, etc.

They have also added features that prevent atmospheric degraders like moisture, rust, sand, and water.

The product ranks high on the safety meter for containing low amount of volatile organic compounds. It uses a heat/UV-less curing process, as the coating cures organically in a 50 to 82-degree Celsius temperature range.

The coating can be used either directly or on top of other coatings. You won’t need any additional chemical or additives to achieve these benefits.

The application process and coating both are highly flexible, allowing you to use a range of tools per your preference, like rollers, spray guns, paint brushes etc.

It’s also equipped with a self-levelling feature. Thus, the texture will remain even without much effort on your part.

Highlighted Features:

  • Can be used on both iron based and non-ferrous metals.
  • Allows use of various tools (e.g. spray gun, brushes, etc.) to layer the coating.
  • Perfect to use on automobiles as a base coat to apply over primers.
  • Poses no health risk due to having a low VOC count.
  • Equally effective on both bare surfaces and top of painted layers.

4. Rust-Oleum, American Accents Ultra Cover 2X 327864

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078WLTSX4)

If you want a proper alternative to brush-coating, Rust-Oleum’s “American Accents Ultra Cover 2X” provides a perfect solution.

The spray-coating system uses a metal container, equipped with an ergonomic nozzle and a specialized trigger.

The trigger uses a comfort-grip technology, significantly decreasing the amount of finger-stress which occurs through constant, long-term spraying. It also features a free-angle technology to allow omnidirectional spraying. This feature provides an intelligent surface coverage.

You get 12-ounces of coating liquid in total, externally sealed by a see-through, push-in cap. The (2.6 x 2.6)-inch bottle has a height of 7.9-inches, providing you a convenient shape to store it in any standard-sized shelf.

The spraying is made simpler by using a single-step applying process, as there’s no pre-mixing involved. The manufacturer recommends spraying in an even pace, going forward and backward, ensuring each layer slightly overlays the other one.

This clear coat spray paint for metal surfaces can be a great option to treat objects with tricky shapes, which are hard to reach by paint brushes. For example, door knobs, interior of a kitchen sink, corners of a wardrobe, etc.

This metal sealer effectively protects your objects from oxidation, moisture, rust, and fading. The waterproof coating also resists dust and scratches, while noticeably improving the shine and strength of the applied surface.

The coating can dry within a 20 to 25-minute period, and one container is capable of coating 12-square feet of metal surface. It’s equipped with an “advanced double cover technology”, which makes your metal accessories light up without overshadowing the texture of the original surface.

Highlighted Features:

  • Dries within 20-minutes after application, which speeds up your workflow. “Double-cover technology” allows shining without blocking the original texture.
  • Offers a perfect solution to treat metal objects with tricky shapes and corners.
  • Features a free-angle nozzle to allow easy coating on all directions.
  • Ergonomic trigger prevents finger-stress despite continuous usage. 

5. Dupli-Color, Clear Exact-Match Automotive Top Coat BCL0125

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00407NK6A)

If you can’t tolerate a single scratch on your beloved automobile, Clear Exact-Match is definitely the product for you. This spray sealer for metalis intentionally designed to conduct premium-grade automobile repairs.

The container holds 8-ounces of pressurized coating, which is sealed by a semi-transparent plastic cap and a nozzle. The manufacturer’s attention to detail becomes evident, as they use the “EZ Touch 360Nozzle” as a depressor valve.

The valve’s red trigger uses an inward-curved top to provide a stress-reducing grip, while the off-white and circular sprayer pushes out liquid in an evenly spaced manner.

The coating is formulated using acrylic lacquer paint to provide a quick drying time (can be touched within 30 minutes after application) and a shiny finish. It is contained as an aerosol paint, which allows a smooth release, wide coverage, and a consistently even texture that is hard to achieve through manual brush-coating.

The applying method is simple. Just shake and spray the product on your desired surface. You can also match the OEM part number with the clear coat to get the exact shade you need.

Dupli-color is widely popular among auto-repair shops for its quick fix-up ability. The product can be used for minor scratch, stain, and spot removal. If you intend to execute a large fixing job, we recommend purchasing multiple pairs.

The coating is legendary in terms of preventing fading and discoloration. It provides a fantastic protection against atmospheric degraders of paint, like moisture, humidity, oxidation, and rust to keep your paint-job as shiny as the day it was done for weeks. 

Highlighted Features:

  • Features an “EZ Touch 360_ Nozzle” to reduce finger-stress.
  • Provides an acrylic lacquer coating to offer quick drying with a shiny finish.
  • Uses aerosol paint technology to ensure a consistently even texture.
  • Specifically designed to provide premium grade automobile surface repair.
  • Offers strong resistance to atmospheric degraders, such as humidity and rust.

6. Art 'N Glow, Clear Casting and Coating Epoxy Resin

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BM9LHRB)

Using epoxy resins to create a clear coating is one of those ideas that really blows your mind when it’s properly executed. And, Art N’ Glow has successfully managed to do just that.

The product is a combination of two plastic container, one holding 8-ounces of epoxy resin and the other 8-ounces of hardener. Both of the containers are made from FDA compliant, off-white plastic bodies, secured by a twist-in cap.

Often praised as the best clear coat for metal accessories by reviewers, the product offers 40-minutes of malleability time to change any part of the texture for fixing coating mistakes. It is able to be cover 2.8 to 3-square feet of a metal surface, with a depth of .0625-inches.

We have used the coating on metal tables, bar tops, and other daily usable items and achieved an impressive result. The product can also be used for making casters for artworks, jewelries, figurines, etc. Though coting coverage is unlimited, in terms of casters, the maximum margin is 6-fluid ounces.

This clear coat for painted metal surfacescan protect your accessories from sun light. Thus, preventing texture-damages caused by UV light such as yellowing.  It also provides protection against humidity, which leads to a puffed surface caused by heat and moisture.

The minimal odor product is BPA-free, contains a low amount volatile organic compounds, doesn’t emit toxic elements, and prevents fading. It is also equipped with feature like self-degassing, self-leveling, and has a low flash point (which makes it less prone to sudden ignition).

The manufacturer has done numerous trials to ensure the product is compatible to use with all their other pigment products (including glow-in-the-dark pigments). They’ve also added a cheat sheet on how to adopt the most effective application method along with an in-depth user manual.

Highlighted Features:

  • Uses epoxy resin to provide an exceptional coating and casting product.
  • Provides a non-toxic, BPA-free, and minimal odor clear coating.
  • Contains almost no amount of VOC (volatile organic compounds).
  • Features a 40-minute malleability time to allow fixing mistakes during coating.
  • Covers 3-square feet of metal surface, with a coating depth of 0.0625-inches.

7. Krylon, ColorMaster Acrylic Crystal-Clear Gloss K05130107

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0009X8LZ4)

ColorMaster takes the game to an entirely new level by providing a coating which comes pre-combined with a primer. It uses the “Covermax technology” to let you achieve a flawlessly coated surface without any prior preparation.

As a clear coat spray paint for metal, it also provides a shinier and smoother texture, quicker than its competitors. Therefore, the coating can be touched only 10-minutes after the application.

Another feature that grabbed our attention is the application distance. Krylon uses a patented (EZ Touch Tip 360) nozzle that allows you to spray from a closer distance than other spray coating products.

For example, generally sprayers require a minimum 6 to 10-feet of distance between you and the surface being coated. However, this product lets you spray as close as a 3-feet from the metal surface. This feature allows you greater control over the coating process, resulting in a highly precise coating job.

The nozzle is multilayered, with a gap in the middle (where the pressure transferring rod is exposed). It has a patterned top and a yellow-padding at its middle back. All these features significantly reduce finger-fatigue without decreasing the spraying range, coverage, and efficacy.

Being an acrylic coating, it also delivers a shiny finish.

The metal container stores 11-ounces of liquid, protected by a half-transparent cap. The ergonomic cap is designed with a groove in the middle, making it quite spontaneous to use.

The coating is able to protect painted metal surfaces from losing their shine by preventing fading, scratches, and yellowing (caused by prolonged exposure to UV lights).

Highlighted Features:

  • Uses “Covermax technology” to provide a coating pre-combined with a primer.
  • Includes a patented nozzle to lower application distance and offer more control.
  • The nozzle reduces finger-fatigue without decreasing spraying range and speed.
  • Features one of the quickest drying time (10 minutes) in the market.
  • Offers an ergonomic cap which is quite spontaneous to use.

8. East Coast Resin, Clear Epoxy Resin for Super Gloss Coating

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NLPCA5Y)

If you are planning to dive into a large-scale coating project, this product will be a match made in heaven. The package contains 1 jug of epoxy resin and 1 jug of epoxy hardener, each holding a massive 1.89-liters of liquid.

This product is a perfect clear coat for painted metal due to multiple reasons.

Firstly, the coating is able to protect painted metal surfaces from humidity, moisture-damage, score & scratch marks, along with yellowing due to UV-ray exposure.

Secondly, the coating process is shockingly simple. You only need to mix at a 1:1 ratio, spread out the coating using a soft, foam-based spreader, and deal with any surface bubbles with a heat gun.

Thirdly and finally, a huge amount of coating liquid (almost 4-liters in total) is combined with a super quick drying time of less than 35-minutes. Thus, you can finish up big projects in a short time while maintaining a professional-grade smooth texture.

The coating can be applied on a variety of metal surfaces, such as aluminum, stainless steel, copper, painted brass, etc.

The (10x10)-inch surfaced containers may be a little tricky to store in standard sized shelves. However, they are built strongly, with the upper portion curved to provide space for a handle, making them pretty easy to carry.

Each container also uses an off-white, twist-in cap to keep the liquid sealed. Thus, they can protect the liquids from oxidation, evaporation, and loss of quality.

The epoxy resin cures to a coating surface with superior structural strength, strong UV protection (to resist yellowing and discoloration), and provides consistent resistance against rain, trickling, cracking, peeling, and the infamous “fish eyes”.

In terms of health safety, the odorless coating is non-toxic and doesn’t emit any harmful chemicals in the long run.

Highlighted Features:

  • Perfect for finishing large-scale, outdoor coating jobs in a short time.
  • Offers exceptional surface strength to prevent cracking and chipping.
  • Provides an odorless, non-toxic coating.
  • Doesn’t emit any harmful chemicals after prolonged use.
  • Features premium UV protection to prevent painted metals from yellowing.

9. Everbrite, Clear Protective Coating for Metal

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYDTTKT)

This product caught our attention due to a unique feature, which is its nonconductive property.

It may not seem like a highlight at a first glance, but if you are coating electronic equipment like a generator or a carburetor, this feature can be life-saving.

The product contains 16-ounces of liquid in a rectangular metal can. The can is sealed by a twist-in cap, which is designed using a densely ridged layer at the top and a broad spiral layer at the base. Thus, you won’t face issues like jamming or gum-buildup while opening or closing the container.

The applying method is dead simple, as there is no pre-mixing required. Though, the coating has flammable properties, so don’t use it near objects that can react with it to cause an ignition.

The 6.5-inch tall container can cover up to a 100-square feet of metal surface. It is a compatible clear coat for steel, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, copper, etc.

You can also use it to coat regular domestic objects such as, doorknobs, sinks, grills of windows and verandas, as well as restore old jewelries and roughly used metal objects.

The coating is capable to protect a metal surface from atmospheric threats like acid rain, corrosion, salt water and air, mildew, and animal excretion marks. A metal object coated with this product won’t crack, peel off, chip, yellow, fade, or discolor.

It also prevents other surface damages like traces of fingerprints, tarnishing, bleaching, rusting, and chalking.

This self-leveling coating is equipped with a quick-dry feature to speed up your workflow.

 It also provides an industry-grade resistance against chlorine and salt, is rich with anti-oxidants, can self-bond, and has a powerful amount of adhesion capability (specifically in terms of metal surfaces).

Highlighted Features:

  • Equipped with a nonconductive feature to allow safe usage.
  • Contains a substantial amount of anti-oxidants and UV blockers.
  • Due to Chlorine and salt resistance, can be used to coat metal pool accessories.
  • Features a premium container capable of preserving unused liquid for ages.
  • Doesn’t require pre-sanding or priming due to its self-bonding property.

10. Rust-Oleum, Painters Touch Quart Latex Clear Gloss 242057

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ZTHBJ8)

Rust-Oleum has a reputation of creating coating products that ticks all the right boxes. We are glad to report that the Painter’s Touch 24205 walks in the same path.

The product contains 887-milliliters of liquid in a perfectly symmetrical, (5x5x5)-inch can. It is sealed by a multi-circular ridged, push-in cap. However, if you face difficulty opening the container, jam a flathead screwdriver between the circles and press upwards.

The coating follows a single-step application, meaning you can use it right out of the container without any prior mixing. Though, the manufacturer advises to sand, degrease, and dry the surface before applying coating.

The product offers a half an hour dry-to-touch time and the coated surface can be used after only an hour of application. For a full-cure, we recommend waiting at least 4 hours. After this period, you can even recoat the surface.

However, the time measurements will be accurate if the coating is done at an atmosphere with a 25-degree Celsius temperature and a 50-percent relative humidity. If you are working in colder conditions, the drying and cure time may increase.

The coating doesn’t require additional thinning. It is eligible to protect metal surfaces from both atmospheric (moisture, heat, etc.) and structural (chipping, discoloration, etc.) damages.

The manufacturers use an aqua based acrylic method, which makes it odorless, low in VOC count, quickly dryable, and substantially durable. It also provides a shiny finish, UV-resistant properties to prevent yellowing, and similar compatibility for both indoor and outdoor use.

The product can cover up to 120-square feet of metal surface and offers a super clean coating that doesn’t interfere with the original texture.

Highlighted Features:

  • Features an aqua based acrylic method to reduce odor and VOC count.
  • Offers a quickly dryable and substantially durable coating.
  • Provides a super clean coating that doesn’t hide the original surface.
  • Equally compatible for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Doesn’t require any additional thinning before application.

11. TotalBoat, Epoxy Resin & Hardener Kit TB-9334

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00S9R8E8Q)

This product is another great epoxy resin in this list that is designed to finish up large-scale coating projects.

The package contains 1-quart of epoxy resin and 1-quart of hardener, each contained in a 4.5-inch high gallon. Both gallons are secured by a twist-in cap and equipped with an easy-grip handle set at the top right. The handles make the gallons convenient to carry despite a heavy weight.

The product follows a double-step application method. That means, first you need to mix the resin and hardener at a 1:1 ratio for at least 5 minutes (recommended by the manufacturer), and then apply the coating.

if you intend to use flood coats then maintain the depth at 0.125-inches. TotalBoat recommends a minimum 4-hour waiting period between applying multiple flood coats. They also advise to scuff-sand (with 220-320 grit sandpaper), perform an acetone wipe, and let the surface dry before applying the coat.

The product is optimum for coating metal bar tops, tables, and countertops. Since it’s an epoxy resin coating, you can also use it for resin arts and crafts, making castings, decoupaging, and doing embedding decorations.

The anti-scratch and anti-stain coating can block UV rays to prevent yellowing. It’s waterproof and can cover up to 6.4-square feet of metal surface.

Users report that the self-leveling coat is denser, clearer, and cheaper than a varnish finish, while offering a higher temperature resistance. It also has a higher viscosity (meaning it flows slower) and build property (meaning a single layer is equal to multiple layers of a regular coating) than varnish.

The BPA-free coating contains zero harmful VOCS, provides a non-blushing cure, and can be experimented in various ways as it easily combines with liquid pigments, alcohol ink, and mica powder.

Highlighted Features:

  • Allows recoating within 4 hours without any previous sanding and prepping.
  • Features a non-blushed coating once cured.
  • Compatible with liquid pigments, alcohol ink, and mica powder.
  • Provides a denser, cleaner, and higher temperature resistance than varnish.
  • Due to high viscosity and build-properties produces thicker layers.

How to Choose Right Clear Coat For Metal?

1. Quality And Options Of Offered Protection

The primary reason to coat a metal surface is to provide protection to its bare or painted texture. Thus, choosing the right clear coat largely depends on the quality and options it offers in terms of texture preservation.

We recommend purchasing a clear coat that offers atmospheric protection as well structural integrity.

Atmospheric degraders like humidity, moisture, heat, dust, and UV rays from sunlight (which causes yellowing of a painted surface) can significantly damage a metal surface.

These degraders cause both bare and painted metal to become rusty, faded, yellowed, and discolored. Thus, ensure that the clear coat you’re purchasing provides protection against these factors.

Another issue is structural integrity. By this term we mean, using a clear coat that doesn’t let the metal surface crack, crease, and peel off, while eliminating any scratches and score marks.

2.Design Of The Container

Though it may seem like a minor feature, choosing a functional clear coat is intricately connected with this factor.

If you purchase a coat that comes in a poorly sealed container, equipped with a lousy nozzle, and doesn’t fit into a standard sized shelf, it’s likely that you won’t have much fun using it.

So, choose a product that uses a metal or premium grade plastic body.

Make sure that the cap is easy to use and provides a proper sealing. Otherwise, your coating liquid will fall prey to oxidation and auto evaporation, slowly losing its quality and amount over time.

Now let’s talk about the importance of nozzles, in case you choose to use a spray coating.  We recommend getting a nozzle with a modern design.

For example, the “EZ Drip 360” nozzle. It reduces finger-stress despite long hours of use and provides a free-angle spraying range to reach tricky parts of the surface. It also lets you to spray as close as 3-inches from the surface, providing you more control and precision over the coating process.

3. Drying And Cure Time

If you prefer to do your metal coating outdoors and care about your workflow, then pay attention to these features while purchasing a clear coat.

We recommend buying a product that provides a fast drying (minimum 10 to 30-minutes) and full-cure (at least 24 to 48-hours) time.

If you are coating outdoors, a slower drying time can make the coated surface a victim to prolonged exposure to UV rays coming from the sunlight. This can ruin the coating by causing issues like yellowing, cracking, or creasing the texture.

Similarly, a slower cure time will reduce your ability to complete projects quickly, even if you are working indoors.

4. Health Safety

You should always purchase clear coats that are approved by the FDA and comes in a BPA-free container.

Also, ensure that the product has a low VOC count, which means it contains very small amounts of organic compounds that can be a threat to your health. You should also look for non-toxic clear coats, otherwise the coating may start to emit harmful chemicals after a couple of days.

5. Application Method

Clear coats for metal accessories are usually equipped with the following application method:

  • Single-step: This type of coating doesn’t require any mixing. They come pre-mixed with prepping elements like hardeners and primers.
  • Double-step: This category of coatings contains two separate containers, one for the coating liquid (e.g. epoxy resin) and another for the hardener. They need to be mixed at a certain ratio before application. The common practice is using a 1:1 ratio.

Another way of describing the different application methods would be brush-coating and spray-coating.

  • Brush-Coating: It is done using paint brushes. It allows you more control over the coating process and is an ideal choice for those who want to experiment with different layer techniques.
  • Spray-Coating:It is a faster process. It also requires less effort on your part, as they usually come pre-mixed with primers and hardeners. The amount of manual labor is also significantly less in this method.

To summarize: this factor depends entirely on your preference, as each method has its merits and demerits. So, we recommend choosing a method that suits you.

How To Apply Clear Coat On Metal?

1. Clean The Surface

The first step is cleaning the surface.

For bare surfaces, if there is light and unattached rust, you can simply brush them off or use a compatible scrub. For old rusts, use a rust converter for removal.

In terms of painted surfaces, the cleaning process is largely similar.

However, if the paint is too flaky and old, you may need to use professional tools to properly remove them and repaint before applying the coating.

If the paint is new, then allow it to set in properly before beginning to dust off and clean the surface.

To clean grease off bare surfaces, use petroleum spirits and a soft fabric. Be gentle with cleaning painted surfaces, as an uneven texture won’t allow the coating to set in properly.

2. Prime The Surface

Most clear coats come pre-equipped with a primer. Therefore, you can directly go to the coating procedure.

Also, certain metals like Stainless Steel is less prone to oxidation compared to other metals like aluminum. So, you usually won’t need to prime a stainless-steel surface, but an aluminum surface may require some priming.

We recommend using clear coats like Krylon'sColorMaster that uses a coating pre-mixed with a primer. This way, you can skip the trouble of manually priming a surface and go straight to coating.

3.To Brush Or Spray?

At this point you need to choose between brush-coating and spray-coating.

Brush-coating offers more control in terms of putting down layers but requires more manual effort. They also usually follow a double step application method where you need to mix the coating and hardener yourself following the proper ratio. For professionals, who are looking to finish a large coating job and have years of experience, this maybe the better option.

In terms of spray-coating, generally they’d come pre-mixed (coating + hardener) and requires less physical effort to use. They can also be applied faster than brush-coating and are able to reach difficult spots and corners of the surface. However, they may provide less layer control and usually shipped in smaller amounts.

4. Layer Properly

A wrong technique of layering can ruin your project, even if you are using the best clear coat for metal surfaces. Thus, getting it right is indispensable.

You need to lay a few thin layers of coating first (also known as primary coating) and allow it to set in. Then, apply a second layer of thicker coatings. Once the second layer sets in properly, apply the final layer of coating known as a top-coating.

5. Allow Proper Dry, Cure, And Handling time

The final step is all about patience. Let the coating to dry and cure completely per the manufacturer's instruction.

Also, note that a full cure time can be different from handling time (a particular time period from when the coated surface can be used). If so, do not use the cured metal prematurely.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is A Hardener?

Answer: A hardener is an essential component of a clear coating product. It helps the coating to set in properly and maintain a strong structural integrity.

2. What Is The Difference Between Primary, Base, And Top-Coating?

Answer: Essentially, they are simply the name of different levels of coating that occurs through the coating process.

Primary coating is the first few, slim layers of coating that begins the process.

Then, after a certain period (depending on the product), the middle layer is applied, which is known as the base coating.

The process ends with a final layer of coating, usually recognized as a top-coating.

3. Should I Take Any Precaution Before Beginning The Coating Process?

Answer: Clear coats are generally non-toxic, FDA approved materials that have a very low VOC count.

However, you can still wear protective glasses, a leather/plastic apron, and an APR (Air Purifying Respirators) for extra vigilance.

4. What Type Of Clear Coating Is Better For Automobiles Parts?

Answer: Since automobile parts are more sensitive to outdoor atmosphere and require a faster workflow, we’d recommend using spray-coating for this purpose.

It also causes less finger fatigue and provides a flexible coverage by using “free angle technology” equipped nozzles to reach tricky spots.

Another factor would be the less application distance (e.g. 3 to 4-inches between you and the surface), which can help you to do a more detailed coating job without sacrificing speed.

5. Can I Use Clear Coating On Metal Jewelries?

Answer: Yes.

You can use clear coats for metal jewelries as well. In fact, clear coat is often used to restore old metal jewelries and to preserve their color and glaze.

However, the process will be subtler and detailed than coating larger surfaces. So, if you are a beginner, consider taking the help of a professional in this case.

Final Words

The role of clear coatings in increasing the glory, protection, and longevity of your metal objects is like an optical illusion. You usually won’t see it. But once you do, it can’t be unseen.

Though, even after understanding its importance, you may face a hard time picking out the best clear coat for metal accessories used on a daily basis or cherished as a prized possession.

However, since you’ve reached at this point, we think that’s quite unlikely to happen.

If you can use this guide to find the perfect coating for protecting your metal possessions, our efforts in creating it will be more than worth it.

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