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I install outdoor fencing and generally use a water based zinc chromite primer, which attaches well to the raw metal. This coat is really quick to paint and the water based paint seems much quicker to apply. I then follow up with an oil based Enamel Paint.

Is this a good approach? (given that the two paints are compatible in that the primer does not wrinkle the paint). In my head, you are almost getting the best of both worlds here?

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Interesting. I only use oil based paint on metal. But maybe you've found a better way. Time will tell. Check it in a year and see how it is holding up. – getterdun Jun 21 '14 at 2:42
Did a little more research, As long as the primer is compatible with the enamel paint, its no more or less effective. the problem comes with incompatible paints and primers with acids have been used to etch the metal (ie Etch primer) – Hightower Oct 27 '14 at 10:20

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