Do I need to seal a brand new mail box before painting?

I have bought a new pre-painted white mail box that I would like to decorate. Do I have to seal it before I start painting or can I just varnish the finished product after painting?

Comments for Do I need to seal a brand new mail box before painting?

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Aug 25, 2016

by: Cheryl

Unless you're using enamel paints, which are meant to be used on slick surfaces (painted metal, glass, glazed tiles, etc.) then yes you'd have to prepare the surface.

If you're going to use acrylic paints, the mailbox will need some "tooth" for the paint to grab on to.

Use an exterior primer in a color of your choice. You can get metal primer in white now.

Decorate the mailbox. Then apply an exterior varnish with UV protection. 3-4 coats following the manufacturer's directions.

Every year, clean the mailbox with warm soapy water, rinse and dry and apply another coat of the varnish.

Happy painting!

Sep 23, 2016
Another suggestion...
by: Via

When I do metal of any type...mail boxes, tin, etc...I always do a few things first...

1) REMOVE all rust if it is OLD metal (steel wool, wire brush, rust remover, etc) With both old and new metal, give the item a good sanding with either steel wool or sanding paper. You need to give the metal something for the paint to "hang on to"...otherwise it will just peel or bubble!

2) wash in DAWN (the blue one)

3) rinse with vinegar (just in case any oil managed to escape the DAWN). Vinegar is dirt cheap so I don't even bother mixing with water!

4) final rinse with 91% isopropyl alcohol. Another item dirt
cheap and worth the money! I learned this trick from my jeweler...the alcohol displaces water, dries quickly and doesn't leave "mineral spots"!!

5) DRY COMPLETELY....One on the "Big Brushes" says she
puts her metal in the oven on its lowest setting...but, I do not
do in Florida, just putting it outside in the sun for 15-
20 minutes does nearly the same thing!

6) I finish my prep with Rustoleum Metal Primer--black for a dark base coat, white for a lighter base coat.

Sounds like a lot of work, but worth it! Good luck on your project!!

Jul 29, 2018
What kind of decorative paint for a mailbox
by: Anonymous

I prepped my older mailbox, sprayed a quality Rust-Oleum paint, had my grandkids draw on it with sharpie oil based paint pens. This paint is NOT uv protected.

My question is, will a uv protectant sealer protect the sharpie from fading? All their drawings are almost faded totally gone in a week.

Thank you

Oct 22, 2018
Oil Sharpies on exterior mailbox
by: Cheryl

You would be better off using enamel paints.

Mar 01, 2021
Urethane Modified Waterborne Alkyd
by: Christsina

I want to match my door and paint over a brand new white painted mailbox. I will use the BM Grand Entrance. It is a Urethane Modified Waterborne Alkyd. How should I prepare the surface of the mailbox before I paint. Thank you!

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