The top of a bay window I have is covered with a metal sheet. The patina and color of the corrosion on it suggests that it might be painted copper.

What sort of paint should I use to freshen up this sheet?

enter image description here

  • Do you really want to paint it or would you rather bring back it's natural beauty? Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 12:38
  • Peter, take a look at the edit. You really need to use an oil-based primer. The previous picture was for the water-based primer which I would not recommend for this project. Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 12:53
  • @Jerry_Contrary You said "oil based" in your text (which I agree with) so I sort of ignored the link and picture :D
    – Peter M
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 13:38
  • Unless my eyes deceive me, this copper roof feature is partially under an eave, meaning the outer part of it is constantly nailed with dripping rain, and the rest is not. Because of the asymmetrical treatment, you will never get a proper patina out of that. Regrettably paint is your only option. Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 15:37
  • @Harper If my gutters work as they should then I shouldn't have any patina at all!
    – Peter M
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 16:04

2 Answers 2


Since you are asking about painting the copper:

  • Wash the surface well and scrape off any loose debris.
  • Prime the surface with an oil-based primer such as Zinsser Cover Stain
  • Apply two top coats of the exterior paint of your choice.

enter image description here


It's more about the prep

The key to a successful painting is getting the paint to stick. The right paint does nothing if it fails to adhere.

By "succesful painting" I mean a job you won't have to re-do every couple of years.

You do all the usual light scraping to get the loose stuff off. But for the final prep pass, go at it with Scotchbrite pads. Obligatory huge product shot here.

enter image description here

You're not trying to polish it, however you are trying to assure everything gets covered with microscopic scratches, and anything thick enough to present an adhesion/separation problem is gone.

Of course, if you accidentally did polish it, you could coat it with an oil-based varnish to keep it from oxidizing.

After sweeping away any particles/dust, oil is your remaining enemy. Your final step of prep is to wipedown in solvent (whatever the paint solvent is, typically paint thinner). If it's water based (I'm not a fan of water-based for challenging jobs), then wash it with soap and water, thoroughly rinsed.

Then follow with your primer of choice, then topcoat. I'll never be a fan of "primer and topcoat in one can" products. There's only one paint formulation that does that well, a 2-part epoxy such as Amercote (don't bother, it's not for consumers), and epoxy is allergic to sunlight so it needs a topcoat to stop it from quickly failing. Generally primers don't give you a choice of color.

If your ultimate destination is a dark color, Rustoleum 7769 Rusty Metal Primer is actually made to prime metal, and is readily available.

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.