How to paint outdoor metal furniture

Updated on

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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Painting metal outdoor furniture is a great way to add color and style to your patio or deck. If you think that this project is a lengthy process—No, it is quite easy and will take a few hours to be completed. 

Before you start, ensure your outdoor furniture is clean and free of dirt or debris. Most importantly, you must be patient and take time when painting to ensure a professional-looking art.

Paint to use on outdoor metal furniture?

Painting outdoor metal furniture demands focus and attention; there are a couple of things that you need to consider.

First, you must use paint specifically designed for metal, such as oil-based paints. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and doesn't chip or peel over time. Second, you must ensure that you sand the metal furniture before you paint it. Finally, you need to make sure that you apply several coats of paint to the metal furniture, letting each coat dry completely before applying the next. This will ensure that your paint job lasts for years to come.

Here are the supplies you will need:

  • Clean rags or paper towels
  • Primer 
  • Top Coat
  • Paint
  • Paint sprayer
  • Paintbrush or roller

Step 1:

The essential step is to scrape the loose pieces of rust from the outdoor metal furniture. Use a stiff wire brush for this purpose. If the rust firmly adheres to the metal, use sandpaper to remove it. Make sure that you wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth afterward.

Step 2: 

By using a palm sander, smooth any rough edges on the furniture. If any areas are difficult to reach, use fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe away any dust with a tack cloth before painting. Sand the entire furniture, as sanding will help the paint adhere better.

Step 3:

Clean the furniture after sanding to remove any residue. You can do this with a damp cloth or a vacuum cleaner with an attachment hose. You can also use any solvent, such as denatured alcohol, acetone, etc., to remove oil or grease from the furniture's surface.

Step 4:

Apply a generous amount of high-quality primer using a paintbrush designed for metal. Work the primer into all the nooks and crannies, using long, even strokes. 

Pro Tip: Use a white-colored prime for the furniture that is light in color and dark colored prime for furniture that is dark in color. The key is to apply light coats of primer and let it dry completely between each coat.

Step 5:

When the primer is completely dried, sand the furniture lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe off any sanding dust with a tack cloth before painting.

Step 6:

Use high-quality oil-based paint for the best results. Apply two coats, allowing the first coat to dry completely before adding the second. Be sure to sand in between coats for a smooth finish. Make sure you paint in a back-and-forth motion, not circular, to avoid paint drips. 

Pro Tip: Follow the natural lines of the furniture for a more professional look.

Step 7:

Protecting outdoor furniture when the painting process is vital. Use a topcoat to keep the paint job looking great for years. The top coat will be applied using the same technique as you did for the paint, using back-and-forth strokes. Let the topcoat dry completely before moving on.

Step 8:

Now that the furniture is painted and protected, it's time to add any final touches. Distress the furniture by sanding edges and corners for a more rustic look. Add hardware such as handles or knobs if needed. Finally, place the furniture back in its rightful place and enjoy!

How to fix the dripping paint?

Fixing the dripping paint while painting outdoor metal furniture can be annoying, but here are some tips that can help you. Firstly, using the right paint for the job is the key. It is important to thin the paint with water, so it does not drip. A paintbrush with synthetic bristles instead of natural ones can also help. Finally, apply a top coat of varnish or sealer after you have finished painting to protect the finish.

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Common mistakes to avoid:

DIYs can be fun and save money, but sometimes they don't turn out as planned. Here are a few tips on avoiding common mistakes when painting metal furniture.

1. Cleaning the surface of the metal furniture before painting is the most important step. Any dirt or debris will prevent the paint from properly adhering to the surface.

2. Use a primer designed specifically for metal surfaces. The application of primer provides a barrier against rust.

3. When painting outdoors, choose a day with little to no wind. Otherwise, dust and debris could get caught in the wet paint and ruin your project.

4. Let the paint dry between coats. A rushed job will result in a poor-quality finish.

5. Use a clear varnish or sealer topcoat to protect the paint job and extend its lifespan.

Achieving a beautiful finish on your metal furniture is possible if you follow the above tips.


Is it necessary to prime the outdoor metal furniture before painting?

The answer is yes; you should always prime your outdoor metal furniture before painting it. Primer allows the paint to adhere properly and also helps to prevent rusting. If spray paint is used, use light coats and allow the primer to dry completely before applying the paint. You may also want to consider using rust-resistant paint if you are concerned about the furniture rusting.

How to protect the paint from peeling and chipping off the metal furniture?

One way to protect the paint from peeling and chipping off the metal furniture is to apply a clear sealer over the paint. The top coat or sealant creates a barrier between the paint and the metal. And it also helps to keep the paint from fading. Another way to protect the paint is to use a spray-on primer before painting the metal furniture. 

In a wrap:

Prepping the furniture for painting is key to a successful project. 

  • By using a power washer or a wire brush, remove the chipping paint or rust. If necessary, use sandpaper to create a smooth surface.
  • Clean the furniture with detergent and water to remove any dirt or grime. Allow it to dry completely before proceeding.
  • Use the right type of primer designed for metal surfaces. This will help the paint adhere better and provide extra protection against the elements.
  • Choose a paint designed for outdoor use that can withstand the elements. Apply several thin coats, and let the paint dry before applying the next coat. 
  • Apply a clear sealer to help protect the finish once the paint is completely dried.

Now that you know how to paint outdoor metal furniture put your new skills to use and give your patio or deck a fresh new look!

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About the author

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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