How to Update Your Kitchen with Stainless Steel Paint

Do you want to remodel your kitchen, but can't afford new appliances? Consider using paint to get the high-end look of stainless steel.

If your appliances work just fine but are simply outdated, paint-on stainless steel finishes can give you a beautiful and sophisticated look for a fraction of the cost of buying new. But there are some things you should consider before diving in:

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CI-Rustoleum_painted-refrigerator-stainless_s3x4

©Rustoleum

Rustoleum

Kitchen ranges require special high-temperature stainless steel paint, so if your stove is part of your plan, it’s best to paint all your appliances with Liquid Stainless Steel, which is designed for this kind of application. (Keep in mind that glass-top stoves can’t be painted on the cooking surface.)

Rust-Oleum and Krylon stainless steel finishes won’t work for stoves, and neither will most products marketed as “stove paint” (Thurmalox, for example). These are intended for cast-iron stoves, not kitchen appliances.

Spray-on products (such as Rust-Oleum and Krylon) are best for small stuff: cabinet hardware, decorative items and small appliances that don’t generate heat. (Don’t use them on toasters.) They produce a fairly flat, matte finish.

Liquid Stainless Steel, on the other hand, is a brush-on paint with larger flakes of stainless steel mixed in for a shinier finish — flakes that would tend to clog an aerosol can. It also comes in a kit with a clear finishing topcoat. The process will take more time, but you’ll likely be happier with the finish.

Each appliance manufacturer uses different grades of stainless steel and applies different finishing techniques. If you have one oddball appliance that you’re trying to bring into the stainless steel fold, you may get a dead-on match or it may look like a distant cousin to your originals. It’s best if there’s some distance — at least five feet — between the appliances in question.

For reference, Liquid Stainless Steel produces a brushed-satin finish rather than a shiny, high-polish finish, because a brushed finish matches more commercially manufactured appliances.

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and do a whole-kitchen stainless steel makeover, here’s how to get the best effect from Liquid Stainless Steel:

Liquid Stainless Steel doesn’t adhere well to plastic panels unless you prime them first. Check panels by seeing if a magnet sticks to them.

This is extremely important to get a good final result.

Once the job is finished, you may want to cover electronic control panels on white appliances with a dark static-cling film to make them look more consistent with the stainless steel finish. You can buy the film yourself at a big-box store, but Liquid Stainless Steel also sells small pieces so you don’t have to buy a giant roll. The film is thin enough that the panel will still be sensitive to your touch.

Before

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Before

©Liquid Stainless Steel

Liquid Stainless Steel

It takes three full coats to cover each appliance, and the first one may look scary-thin. Have faith and don’t glop on extra paint. You’ll use a roller to apply the paint and then drag a special foam brush through it to create the finish — vertically for refrigerators and horizontally for stoves and dishwashers. (Tools are included in the basic Liquid Stainless Steel kit.)

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After

©Liquid Stainless Steel

Liquid Stainless Steel

After

The finish will brighten as it dries and the water evaporates, leaving behind the metal flakes. A final clear topcoat will add gloss. Apply one, two or three coats depending on how shiny you want the final product to be.

Other appliances can be used within two hours of applying the last coat. Note: Over time, you’ll see bronzing on your stovetop when hot pans overhang the burner edges, but the same thing would happen with a regular stainless steel stove. It’s a sign of normal use.

For detailed instructions, visit Liquid Stainless Steel.

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