Spraypainting Outdoor Furniture Illustrated Guide
For those of you who know me, you know that I'm frugal to the core. If there's something that I can save or fix, I'll do it every time rather than buy new. The same goes with my outdoor furniture.
We have a patio set that we bought at Costco some years back for a very good price. However, sitting out in the blistering Central Oregon sun hasn't helped it retain its original black glossy color. All of the chairs and the table had faded by this summer to a nice gray finish.
Deciding I'd spraypaint the set took only a little bit of thought. However, we live in an area where wind is a significant factor -- so how to do it safely without causing over-spray onto everything in my yard and the neighbors' yards became my challenge.
Thinking it through, I figured out how to be able to safely spraypaint my patio furniture. It turned out to be a great way to rejuvenate our wrought-iron lawn furniture. However, there are a few noteworthy additions I'll make in the future.
- Rustoleum spray paint or other appropriate paint type for what you are painting--the number of cans will depend on how much you're repainting--I used about a half can per chair
- Garage or other suitable shell for constructing a paint chamber
- Paint brush, duster or swiffer
- Visqueen plastic or paint dropcloths or combination of both
- Duct tape or clothespins
- Rag for wiping hands or drips and spills
- Furniture you want to repaint
- Mineral spirits or other paint remover
HOW TO DO IT YOURSELF
- Make a painting chamber. I used our garage door to make a chamber for painting. This turned out to be an excellent way to paint without risking over-spray. I made the chamber using a combination of Visqueen plastic and paint dropcloths. I secured the drop cloth to the garage door bracket and then secured the other parts of the chamber to the Visqueen and drop cloths with duct tape. You could also use clothespins to keep the sides closed and overlapped. The final painting chamber was 3-sided and had a dropcloth floor. It was open in the front to allow for air circulation and also aided in the final drying stages.
- Brush off or clean off furniture you want to repaint. Use a clean paint brush, a dry cloth, a swiffer or a duster. You want the surface to be free of hair, leaves and dirt before repainting. If there is visible rust, take a firm wire brush to the surface and scrub vigorously to remove any rust. Make sure that the piece of furniture is in the best condition before starting to paint. That might require wire brushing, sanding and priming depending upon the state of the piece you plan to paint.
- Position the piece of furniture you want to paint in the chamber. Turn it upside down. Begin painting. Remember to shake the spray can of paint from time to time to ensure mixing the paint in the spray can. Remember that most effective spray painting is done with a light hand. This means don't overcoat the furniture as you spray as it may not adhere as well to the metal and it may also look uneven. Use smooth, steady and even strokes. To illustrate, on the spires of the chair backs, I used an up and down motion rather than a side to side motion to spraypaint. I also circled the chair from many angles to get the best coverage of all surfaces.
- After painting the undersurface, grab the piece in a spot where there isn't paint and turn it right side up. Continue spraying as before, making sure to approach the piece from different angles and checking frequently to see if the piece is being covered adequately. Look for any drips and dab up with a rag.
- Let the piece dry completely before applying any touch-up sprays. If you've done the piece smoothly and evenly, usually the touch-up will take only a few minutes. After touch-ups, let the piece dry completely again.
- If you're painting more than 1 piece, position them inside the paint chamber so that you will be able to move around each piece easily and spray from all sides. Also check the over-spray possibilities according to where you place your other pieces. In most cases, it won't hurt because the over-spray will just add a bit more paint to the other item but make sure a piece or part of a piece won't end up being sprayed over and over as you spraypaint other pieces.
- Some people use a primer before adding the top coat. I found that just 1 coat of Rustoleum worked just fine with a touch-up after several hours. I also used a satin finish to get the look I wanted which wasn't a shiny look but still gave a nice finish to the furniture.
LIVE AND LEARN - SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
Spraypainting is a wonderful way to make things new again. However, the fumes associated with spraypainting can be quite toxic. I did think I had this covered with my open-ended painting chamber. In fact, the chamber did work 100% in that regard because the wind was behind me and was blowing the fumes away from me.
However, the one thing that I did not take into consideration was that no matter where you spraypaint, you will have over-spray. You can't have something under that much pressure coming out of a can that doesn't go somewhere.
That somewhere happened to be all over my arms, my legs, my face and hair, and most notably inside my nose. While this was quite humorous afterward to my family and yes, even to myself when I looked in the mirror, it didn't escape me that this could have been a dangerous thing. Especially the paint inside my nose.
In the future I would therefore recommend these safety precautions:
- Wear a face mask to protect your mouth and nose
- Wear a hat
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt
- Wear long pants or overalls
- Wear shoes and socks (my first chair I was barefoot and ended up with black feet)
- Check periodically in a mirror to see if you are accumulating paint and adjust your paint chamber or method accordingly
Again, spraypainting is a fabulous way to restore outdoor furniture to a like-new state. However, spraypainting can be dangerous if you don't go about it properly. It can also result in a huge mess due to the over-spray. What you can't see while you're spraying becomes quickly evident when you start to clean up.
Rustoleum or other rust-proof spray paints are great for restoring a BBQ, for painting tables and chairs or benches. You can redo light fixtures and all kinds of things and the nice thing is, you can do it in about any color you can imagine.
Take the time to read up on preparing your piece appropriately and then map out your strategy for spraypainting as that is the most important part. Knowing where you can safely spraypaint without causing over-spray will definitely make the job one you'll feel good about rather than creating a new disaster to clean up.
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