Can you paint a satellite dish?

At first, the answer would seem sort of obvious. Just look at the dish in the picture. It’s clearly been painted. Everyone’s seen those big white satellite dishes, they’ve clearly been painted.

The real question here

The question, though, is not “can a satellite dish be painted” but “can you, the average person, paint a satellite dish.” The answer is…Yes you can do it, although maybe you shouldn’t. The average person does not have an automotive-quality paint facility at their disposal. And let’s be honest, using a brush from a home store and some leftover indoor paint isn’t going to really work out well for you.

Before even considering painting a dish, you should decide if you have the skills and the materials that it takes. And, ask yourself why you’re doing it. In decades past, people painted their dishes to support their favorite teams. A great idea, but one with huge potential for execution problems.

If you’re painting a dish to help with rust issues on the reflector, you should probably consider just replacing the dish altogether. If rust is showing on the reflector, there’s probably other damage you’re not aware of.

So, you’ve decided to paint the dish

Hey, it’s totally cool if you have decided to paint the dish. You’ve listened to the arguments and you’ve decided you’re up to the task. With that in mind, here are a few tips you might want to consider.

Paint choice

If you are going to paint the dish, you should use a matte (non-glossy) paint. That may not make sense to you because the signals are supposed to reflect, but matte paint is better because it avoids stray reflections that can degrade the signal.

You should use a paint designed to stick to metal without additional priming, but avoid a “metallic” or metal flake paint because again, that can cause problems with the reflector doing its job. Of course you should always mask off the inner surface of the LNB (usually that means the white plastic part) to make sure no paint gets on it.

Spray paint would seem to have an advantage over a paintbrush because you need as smooth a surface as possible. The color of the paint doesn’t seem to make a difference because the frequencies you’re reflecting are far outside the visible range anyway.

Technique

I’m not sure I have a lot to offer you here. I personally wouldn’t paint a dish based on my own skills. That’s really the thing. Without fancy instruments you don’t know if the paint you’re putting on will really do a good job reflecting the 15-20GHz signal that you get from satellites, and unless you’re the kind of person who paints cars for a living, how do you know that your technique will be good enough?

If you’re willing to try it, though, post your success or failure stories here along with pictures. I’ll feature them in this article.

Get DIRECTV accessories from Solid Signal

When you’re ready to upgrade to the latest and greatest, shop at SolidSignal.com. I’m not saying you’ll need a new reflector anytime soon, but if it turns out that you overestimated your own abilities, we’re here for you.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.