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White outdoor table with black chairs on a deck.

How To Spray Paint Outdoor Furniture

The no-fail method for spray painting outdoor furniture that will last! This inexpensive yet professional looking makeover project updates a patio or yard space with ease in a day.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 1 piece of furniture
Author Rachel
Cost $35



  • Soap for cleaning metal
  • Lint free cleaning rags
  • Sand paper 220 grit
  • Sanding Blocks 120 grit
  • 1 can per chair Primer See Notes for which product is right for you
  • 1 can per chair Protective Enamel Spray Paint
  • 1 Drop Cloth


  • Evaluate the piece. Is there any grime or grease that needs cleaning prior to starting? Is the old paint in good condition? Is there rust to be repaired?
    Brown outdoor dining table with 6 chairs.
  • Knock off rust build-up and chipping paint with a wire brush. You can also use a rust stripper if heavy rust is present.
    Woman using a wire brush to remove chipping paint from metal chair.
  • Sand glossy paint or coating. You do not need to sand every bit of previous stain or paint off if it is in good condition. Use an orbital sander with 220 grit and sanding sponges for crevices. Vacuum and wipe all dust off.
    Woman sanding a metal chair with an orbital sander.
  • Clean using dish soap or a mild degreaser for getting any grime and dirt off. Allow the metal furniture to completely dry. Don't skip this step as any dust or grime will not allow the paint to bond properly.
    Metal outdoor patio chair with chipping paint.
  • There is no need to prime areas that still have their base coat intact, but any areas of bare metal will need to be primed.
    A metal chair on a table prepped for spray painting.
  • Paint with at least 2-3 coats. For priming and painting, use light coats to avoid drips. Don't worry about full coverage in one coat.


General Tips for Spray Painting
  • I highly recommend these Rust-Oleum Comfort Grips. I love them because my hands aren't sore after painting large projects and they help keep the spray paint application more even.
  • For priming and painting, use light coats to avoid drips.
  • Move evenly in one direction PAST the edges - don't stop in the middle.
  • Don't worry about getting full coverage in one coat, because that might lead to drips.
  • Do let dry according to directions between coats.
  • Spray the paint in multiple angles to fully cover the piece (even the bottom).
  • Wait at least 48 hours before placing any cushions or decorations on surfaces.
  • I like to paint and check on it as the light changes. You may notice spots you missed as the sunlight changes over the course of the day.
  • Best Spray Primers
  • For heavily rusted surfaces - Rusty Metal Primer Spray
  • For lightly rusted surfaces or previously painted surfaces - Clean Metal Primer (also comes in quart size can you can use with a brush)
  • For bare metal - Clean Metal Primer
  • Galvanized Steel or Tricky surfaces - Universal Bonding Primer (also comes in quart size for painting with a brush)
  • For rusty surfaces that can't be sanded - Rust Reformer. I haven't actually used this one without sanding, however it gets rave reviews. Personally, I would be too nervous not to sand.)
  • For surfaces exposed to high heat or in full sun - High Heat Primer Spray. I've used it for a grill we repainted, for example.