A small chip or patches of rust in an otherwise functional enamel sink can ruin the look of the kitchen or bathroom. Repairing and repainting an enamel sink can bring back the beauty of the sink when the proper methods and paint are applied.
Painting an enamel sink is a project that can be completed easily by most do-it-yourselfers. The revitalization process can take a few days, so be prepared to prep and wait for paint to dry before you can use the sink.
Prepping the Sink for Paint
A sink needs to be properly sanded and prepped before the epoxy paint is applied. A quick wipe down and wash is just the beginning of a multistep prep process. Go over the slick enamel sink surface with a nylon scrub brush to remove soap residue, any hard water buildup and other basic grime and debris.
Rinse and wash the sink with warm water and dry thoroughly. Dampen a soft cloth with denatured alcohol and wipe the entire sink down to ensure that all grease and residue is removed and water is wicked away. A kitchen sink paint kit may include a cleaner to use before you are ready to begin the painting process.
Before applying the primer, repair any nicks or divots and cover fixtures with plastic sheeting or bags and painter's tape. Make sure to mark off any countertops or other areas that may get bumped with a brush full of paint and create a mess. Use a putty knife to pry off old caulk around the edges of the sink.
Repair Nicks and Rust
If the enamel on the sink has been chipped or gouged out, then it will need to be repaired before applying the first coat of new paint. An enamel repair kit or fiberglass putty can be used to fill in minor digs and divots on the surface of the sink.
Fill the chip with the putty and remove overflow with the edge of a clean towel. Allow it to cure according to the instructions before sanding down level to the sink's surface. Wash and dry the sink with warm, sudsy water, then complete a final application of denatured alcohol before painting.
Sanding the Sink
Once the sink is clean, the surface needs to be roughed up so that the epoxy paint will adhere to the slick surface. Some experts recommend using a 400-grit paper for the first pass over the sink with a wet/dry sandpaper. Follow that with a 600-grit sandpaper before wiping down thoroughly.
Always have the windows open and run an exhaust fan if one is available when working with solvents and paint. Major Painting Company suggests creating a cross breeze in the room to ensure proper ventilation.
Enamel Paint for Sinks
Choosing the proper paint for this project makes all the difference. Epoxy paints are the best types of paint to use on enamel sinks and tubs. Rust-Oleum sink paint kits contain all you need for painting an enamel sink. An enamel paint for sinks kit will include an epoxy primer and paint.
The bonding epoxy primer will need to be applied first and allowed to dry before you can actually begin to paint the sink. Follow the directions for the kit or primer to ensure that it is applied properly and given the correct amount of time to dry thoroughly. Once the primer is dry, apply the paint, allowing it to dry between coats.
Applying two coats of paint offers more coverage, protection and often a glossier finish. Do not use the sink until the last coat of paint has had enough time to dry.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.