Smoker paint!

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by ribwizzard, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Over the last few weeks I've been involved in a few discussions about BBQ paint, just though we could put one thread together that everyone can share experience and opinions in one place.

    Here's where I stand; i really couldn't say exactly how many smokers/ cookers I've painted over the years or how many brands of paint I've used. If I had to guess, it would be around 50? And 8? Maybe? My line of work requires that we have a blast room and paint booths, and as a customer appreciation/ promotion, I would repair and paint customers cookers before their Christmas parties , from approx '99 - ' 06. And these were always big 1000 gallon up cookers, plus our big cookers always had to look good for our parties, so they got cleaned up and touched up every year.

    And I'd look at them come back the following year and the firebox would always be rusted where the paint burned off, and the Florida sun had always turned the rest of the cooker to a dull, chalky looking black. So every year, I would work all the paint vendors looking for a better paint, with price being no concern. I don't remember all of the product names, but during those years I was dealing with PPG, Lilly ( Valspar ) , Matin Sr. ( Napa ), Sherwen Williams Automotive, International , BLP Mobile, and a few others, and prices ranged from cheap to very expensive, but the results were identicle from each and every brand. The only real difference we found was in how we applied the paint, nothing from what brand we used. Even though one paint would be rated at 900 and another 1200, I never could see any difference at all, after a year, all the cookers looked exactly the way the did they did before.

    So one year, due to not being able to wait three days for one of the vendors to special order in paint for us, we ran down the road and bought Rustoleum from Home Depot. Back then it was under $10 a quart and we had been paying between $60 and $90 a gallon from the vendors, and we found that it sprayed the same, looked the same and the results were the same.

    So for all my personal cookers for about 10 years now, I've always used rustoleum, usually the satin mix, ...and been happy that I didn't waste any money paying for something that wasn't going to perform any better.

    But I still would like to find a better product, not so much for heat resistance, but for gloss retention and easier clean up, and have been looking for any new products on the market. I feel that what I need is a product that has a semi or gloss shine to provide a more durable sealed finish over the porous flat or satin finishes I've tried before. There are several new names on the market, but after calling and questioning the tech line, appear to be basically the same products as all the others, with flat or Satin finishes. ( with the exception of two that I found that were out of the equation due to being over $100 a pint )

    It does appear that there are some clear top coats that are now offered ( only found them in spray cans ) that have good heat resistance, might not hold up on firebox, but should work fine on cooking chamber. Problem is, for me, these seem to only be available in cases of 12, so to try it out, your looking at $140 , then another $140 for a case of their brand of base coat, and they say primer is needed, so another $120.00, For a bunch of spray cans, that price makes it hard to get excited about.

    So, back to Rustoleum....locally, between Lowes, Home Depot, and Ace, Rustoleum is available in quarts in two different shine levels, flat black and satin, and these days run about $16.00 a quart. Or, one I have not tried yet, available from what the web site states, only in spray cans is rustoleum high heat ultra, and it states that it is rated at 1200* , and is a semi gloss and has a more durable finish ( what advertising states ) and has rust inhibitors built into the paint and does not need primer, just like all of rust oleum paint. At right at $40.00 a case of six, this might be the best route to go.

    Has anyone used the Ultra?
  2. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    I just did a quick google search for automotive header paint and found this.  Kinda pricy, but might work better than other stuff as it is silicone-ceramic based

    I almost screwed up and posted an outside link![​IMG]   Do a google search for: VHT flame proof paint.  I saw auto zone has it for $8.99 a can, but likely has a discount by the case
  3. crazyq

    crazyq Meat Mopper

    I too have built a lot and sprayed/rolled/brushed a lot of rustoleum paint. i'll be using the satin in the quart can and brush/rolling it on this current setup I'm building.

    for these bigger cookers its hard to go with spray cans cause it just cost so dead gum much and I'd have to have many more fingers then I do now cause they'd be all cramped up. so I have not used the ultra although I'd like to see its durability after a year of being in a firebox that's regularly used.

    unfortinitly I don't have access to a spray booth to paint with a gun so my options are really limited.
  4. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    It might be worth trying the VHT  flame proof paint on the FB only.  I have a smaller stick burner and will try it the next time the FB needs a fresh coat
  5. crazyq

    crazyq Meat Mopper

    i'll look into it and see what shades it comes in and how it will blend with this satin I'm using.
  6. I saw this on Rustoleum's website  up to 2000º   I usually use their grill paint



    Flat Black

    248903 - 12 oz Spray

    • 11 oz Spray :

    • 12 oz Spray :



    Keep extra-hot exhaust manifolds, headers looking extra sleek with Rust-Oleum® Automotive High Heat Spray. This flat, protective enamel bonds to bare metal and withstands intermittent temperatures of up to 2000°F (1093°C).
    • Resists heat up to 2000°F
    • Gas & Oil Resistant
    • Stops Rust formula
    • Any-Angle Spray with Comfort Tip


    Use with Rust-Oleum High Heat Primer Spray.


  7. I've had similar experiences with the Rust-Oleum high temp paint.  Good, but not great.

    Has anyone ever tried any of the high temperature powder coats?  I hear the silicone based powders do pretty well on headers and the such, but haven't seen them on a barbecue.
  8. Once again, the header paints are "flat", and won't give that wipe off finish a glossy paint will. The reason headers stay looking good is they get so hot they burn off any grease or oil spilled on them. The cooking chamber will never get anywhere near that hot.

    I'd prefer to buy the paint in quarts or gallons, but IF I decide to go with either the ultra, or the clear coat system, my thoughts are that I would only be using it on the firebox and the cooking chamber, ...the trailer I want to epoxy prime and paint with a urethane. I'm thinking that any of the high heat paints are better of sprayed in light coats and allowed to dry thoroughly between coats, so spray bombing just the cooker itself, applying a coat a day, really wouldn't be too bad. After about four coats, tape off the cooker and prime and paint the trailer with a conventional spray gun.

    And yes, it would be nice to powder coat it. But I prefer to do all the work myself and don't have anyway to bake it on. My booths only get up to about 165
  9. crazyq

    crazyq Meat Mopper

    Thats what im doing RW. My cooker will be the satin rustoleum and the the rest of the trailer will be painted with an automotive paint in viper red. Same red my safe is painted.
  10. bjy151

    bjy151 Newbie

    I am doing my first build with an old 1950 International Harvester fridge, I was talking to a guy about powder coating the exterior... would rust-oleum be a better decision?
  11. After I retired from the Air Force I went to work for a large west coast paint manufacturer as a factory rep.I won't get into all the types of hi heat paints but would suggest you contact the Rust Ole um factory rep direct. As sale reps we always like to come up with a product to please the customer.
  12. spives

    spives Newbie

    I know its rattle can stuff but the line of rustoleum that Gary S posted also has a clear coat and its rated at 2000 degrees. I plan on trying it on an upcoming project.
    bjy151 likes this.

  13. I sprayed the firebox door with the rustoleum ultra semi gloss to check it out. Lowes had the 20 oz cans for right under $7 , one can allowed me to put three nice coats on it. You can definitely tell it has more clear in it when you spray it, and it's a true semi gloss. I'm thinking that I may buy a couple quarts of satin and get a good base coat on it while it's in the paint booth, then after it's dressed out, go back with the rattle cans of ultra and top coat the outside of the CC with the semi gloss. I know I'll have to let the satin cure a couple of weeks before I top coat it so that the solvents coming out does not kill the shine on the top coat,......anyway, that's kind of what I'm leaning towards, may change my mind after I check out this clear coat you mentioned.
  14. spives

    spives Newbie

    I ordered it from Home Depot they only sell it online and its by the case figures up to right at $6 a can. I'm planning on trying primer, base coat, then clear. All are rated at 2000 degrees. I will have to follow up on here in a few weeks when I spray it and let you know how it works.
  15. Can I ask a question here please. Been looking into paint for grill and smoker projects and don't see what I'm looking for maybe I severely mid understand how to paint a grill. I'm concerned about toxicity. When you paint a grill or smoker, do you paint inside also? If so, why don't I see any conversation on toxcity of the heat/burning paint?
  16. Do Not Paint the inside of you smoker or grill. A good high temp paint like Rustoleum Grill paint works on the outside

  17. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    To expand a bit on what Gary said above.

    This is why we do a burn inside the cooking chamber to burn off any paint or contaminates.  Clean out ash and any unburned wood/charcoal, wipe down the inside of the CC with liberal amount of cooking oil, start a hot fire in the firebox, get the CC temp up to about 400-450° and maintain for at least an hour.  This seasons the inside of the cooking chamber and protects the metal from rust.

    Many folks swear they can taste the difference in flavor of meats smoked in a well seasoned CC Vs one that is not properly seasoned.  Never tried the latter, so can't say one way or the other.
  18. Thank you very much. Now it makes sense.
  19. I always put one thin coat on the inside, but not on the reverse flow plate/ pan. The after I slowly bring the first burn up to temp, I run it for hours getting it as hot as I can. That will burn off anything that's going to burn off, then after I wash it out, there shouldn't be anything burning off anymore. At least that's how I look at it.
  20. tgrimmett

    tgrimmett Fire Starter

    I've been reading a lot on this getn ready to paint a big smoker im building . I read were that some people build a fire an paint while the smoker is hot and it bakes on . Anyone ever try this?

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