Red Oxide Primer Solutions

Below we will discuss the history of red oxide primer paints, red lead primers and the quality alternatives available on the market today. If you are looking for red oxide paint near me, worry not! Promain deliver nationwide! Read our article below to find the best red oxide primer for your circumstances.

What Is Red Oxide Primer?

When you buy structural steel it normally comes in cheap and cheerful red oxide primer. Any steel that you do not immediately protect will soon create surface rust. This is often referred to as gingering. As most red oxide primers are just holding primers, we recommend you remove this initial primer before further paint work. After removal of the red oxide paint we recommend you apply a quality primer on site.

These basic red oxides are cheap and cheerful for a reason. They are formulated to simply get the steelwork out of the fabricators to site to protect it temporarily. During transportation, contractors tend to use steel chains to move the cargo. This harsh transportation is necessary but will make the holding primer paint come off. Therefore, upon delivery, recipients should remove the full holding primer. At this point you should apply a quality primer according to the future use of the steelwork. If you do not remove the full holding primer you could get problems with further coatings. Preparation is always key to long lasting paint.

Fabricators who use a large quantity of red oxide primer will typically pay around £2.50 a litre. This is about as cheap and cheerful as paint can get – Because it is just a holding primer. These budget red oxide primers will typically only last a maximum of 6 weeks in good weather before rust starts to appear. This can be significantly less during the winter months and in damp environments such as coastal areas.

Quality Red Oxide Primer Paint From Promain

There are however some good quality single pack red oxide primers. One popular single pack red oxide is Rust-Oleum 769 Damp Proof Rust Primer. This red oxide paint product contains fish oil. This fish oil helps the paint penetrate into the steel forcing any moisture out. Moisture is the main factor when it comes to steel from rusting. Also, because the paint is penetrating into the steel, it will give it a much greater bond.

Another good single pack metal primer is Rust-Oleum Noxyde. Noxyde is one of the best single pack protective steel primers available on the market. It is even found on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! This premium product without a premium price can last up to 20 years. This is if you apply it to the manufacturer’s recommendations. And even better, Rust-Oleum Noxyde comes in red!

The best original red oxide primer we distribute is PPG Sigmafast 20. PPG SigmaFast 20 provides protective finish for structural steelwork in a single coat. SigmaFast 20 has good anti-corrosive properties and is suitable for use in conditions which are subject to atmospheric exposure. This is a quality single pack zinc phosphate primer used within the marine industry.

A further upgrade is a professional 2 pack red oxide primer paint as part of a painting system. These professional systems can quite easily last up to 25 years.

We have a wide range of premium two pack metal primers available from the world’s leading manufacturers. Some of our most popular high performance metal primers are PPG Sigmafast 205, PPG Sigmacover 280 and Rust-Oleum 9169.

Our full 2 pack metal primer categories are:

Alternative Metal Primers

Products such as Galvafroid or Zinga contain up to 96% zinc. Laboratory tests show that Zinga will outlast galvanized steel even without a topcoat. This saves time and money on application.

Take a look at these blogs to see how high zinc coatings can prime metal:

An Important Note About Intumescent Primers

Basic red oxide primers as applied to structural steels are not suitable for application under intumescent paints. In this case, you should remove these red oxide primers and apply a much better quality product such as PPG Sigmacover 205. Intumescent paints are vital for interior safety. Due to intumescent coatings being quite soft, we do not recommend primers such as PPG Sigmafast 278. This is as it is too hard for the intumescent coating to adhere to it. For a full specification on intumescents for your steel, please contact our technical team.

Are Red Lead Primer Paints Different to Red Oxide Primers?

Red lead paint is an old fashioned product. Due to the high increase in the cost of lead it is almost impossible to get red lead primers now. However, lead paints are still specified for use on many heritage buildings. Red lead paint was a good product in its day, however there are better products on the market today. In the past, red lead paint created an almost impervious metal coating that would flex. This is because lead is flexible.

Nowadays, acrylics are just as good. This is as acrylics are also flexible and are water based. As acrylics are water based, they also have the added benefits of being eco friendly as well as safer for application and drying.


If you still have questions regarding metal primer red oxide solutions, contact our technical team today. We can provide full specifications no matter how small or large your project is.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles