Can you Paint Gondola Shelving?

If you own a shop, you also probably own several gondola shelving units. Whether to refresh their appearance or cover chips and scratches, you might be thinking about painting them. Can you paint gondola shelving? We’ll answer that questions for you, as well as many more on how, why and what you need to do to get the job done. Read on for the best guide on painting your gondola shelving and other metal fixtures in your retail store.

Gondola Shelving Single Sided

Why you should paint your gondola shelving

Even the hardest-wearing powder coating finish gets scratched and ruined with years of operation. A blemished gondola shelf sends the wrong message about your business. Instead, you’ll sell more with your gondola units if they are newly painted and casting your wares in the best light.

Another good reason why you might want to paint your gondola shelving is to create a colourful, eye-catching display. A great visual merchandising tip to increase sales is to change it up and make it pop. For example, play with different colour shelves, back panels and supporting structures for a display that cannot go unnoticed.

Paint choice and painting techniques

If you want to do a good job, you must buy paint made for use on metal. It comes in two main categories: oil-based and water-based. The first type is tougher and longer-lasting, while the second dries faster and is safer to use in closed spaces.

Spray paint it for a smoother finish that gets into all the nooks and crannies, or carefully use a brush or roller for a more cost-effective approach. For the best results, apply three coatings to every part of the metal structure.

Do I need to use a primer on metal gondola shelves?

Yes, you definitely want to use a primer when painting your gondola shelving. Look for a primer specially designed for metal surfaces and apply it to the entire structure. The primer is fundamental to making the paint bond to the surface, obtaining a smother finish and preventing peeling in the future. After you’ve coated the gondola with it, you must wait for it to fully dry — between 15 min and 24 h depending on the manufacturer. If you spot any rust on the gondola shelving before you get started, use a rust converter primer for a better finish.

Can I repaint my gondola in a different colour?

You can paint your gondola unit as many times as you’d like. Whether you bought the structure second-hand and the previous owner had it painted in a colour you don’t like or want to change the powder coating colour you bought it in, it can be done.

Simply, first remove the previous coat of paint entirely, even if it’s still in great condition. You don’t want to skip this step, as the new paint won’t adhere to the smooth finish of the previous coating.

How to prevent paint from peeling off your gondola unit

We all want to avoid unsightly cracks in the paint. Pealing is usually caused by the paint losing its adhesion to the metal, which is why you want to make sure you prepare the surface well. While the temptation to skip some steps or cut some corners is understandable, in the end, it doesn’t pay, as you’ll end up with a poor finish and peeling paint. Below is a detailed guide on how to paint gondolas and other metal shelving for great results. The first four steps are the ones that, if not followed to a T, can result in your paint peeling or cracking.

How to paint a gondola shelf
the step-by-step process

Whether you decide to do the job yourself or will call in the professionals but want to know how it works, these are the eight steps to have a beautifully-painted gondola unit:

  • Clean it — Start by carefully preparing the surface. Remove any rust, debris, oils, grease, water, old paint and dust.
  • Sand it — Once it’s clean, you need to get the metal ready to receive the paint. Use wire brushes, sandpaper, emery cloth, files, steel wool, scuffing pads or sandblasting to etch the surface.
  • Clean it again — After scuffing it, make sure there’s no residue left on the metal. Denatured alcohol or acetone will remove all dust and oils from the surface. Now, 


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