Best Paints to Use for Outdoor Furniture, Accessories and Pots
Last week, I shared our front porch refresh project and I promised I would come back and share my tips for how to paint outdoor furniture, accessories and garden pots that will last for several years.
Living in the extreme heat and humidity in East Texas, I have had to learn the hard way what paints work and don’t work. Humidity and moisture are really the biggest enemy when it comes to outdoor paint finishes and there are several fantastic products and techniques that will guarantee that a paint finish will last for several years.
I’m breaking today’s post down into four painting categories; wood furniture, metal furniture and accessories, fiberglass garden pots and wicker/rattan, so you can quickly jump to what you want you need to paint.
Outdoor Wood Furniture
When it comes to painting outdoor wood furniture that will last for several years, the only thing that has worked beautifully for me and has lasted several years in extreme weather is spray paint. The good news is that spray paint is also quick and easy.
The most important part of spray painting outdoor furniture and accessories is the prep work. From my experience, if you do the prep work and prepare a piece properly and use a great spray paint (more on that in a minute), the finish on outdoor wood pieces can last 3-4 years on outdoor pieces.
When I painted my outdoor wood furniture last week, it had been over three years since I last spray painted the pieces. In fact, the furniture and paint conditions were still great and I could have gone another year but I wanted to change the color.
Here are what my pieces looked like before I painted them:
The best way to prepare outdoor furniture and accessories for paint is to use a liquid deglosser. A liquid deglosser instantly removes old residue and sheen that allows you to paint without sanding.
I highly recommend not washing down a wood piece of furniture before deglossing because the wood will absorb moisture and it will take forever to completely dry. In fact, I never use water to clean up my old wood outdoor furniture because moisture is the worst thing for wood. If you just want to clean your old furniture but you don’t want to hurt the paint finish, I recommend using Windex Vinegar Spray, which instantly removes dirt and mildew. It’s the best for everything outdoors!
When you use a liquid deglosser to prep a piece of wood furniture for painting, use rubber gloves and an old cut up t-shirt. I always wipe down pieces twice (allowing for drying in between layers) before spray painting.
After the deglosser has completely dried, it’s time for the spray paint.
The only spray paint that I will use now and that I have had the best luck with is Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover. This is a combination primer + paint all in one spray paint and it holds up to extreme weather for several years.
This paint is off the charts amazing with a very durable finish that is ideal for outdoor furniture and accessories. Better yet, this paint saves so much time because the primer step is eliminated with this two-in-one paint and really, I call it a 3-in-one because it has a primer+paint and great top coat that eliminates the need for a sealant.
The best way to get a flawless finish with spray paint and guarantee that the paint will not not run is to do two light coats moving your hand back and forth quickly. If you spray the can at least 10″-12″ from the piece, you will get a very light coat that will not run. Resist the urge to completely cover a piece with paint in one coat because that’s when the paint will run.
If you do two of these light coats, moving your hand quickly back and forth from 10-12″ away, I promise, you will get a flawless finish. It’s important to let each coat dry at least one hour before lightly spraying another coat.
Metal Furniture and Accessories
Over the years, I have painted a lot of rusted metal furniture and accessories. Again, the key to getting a finish that will last is the prep work. If the piece is not rusted and you just want to change the color, you can lightly wipe down the piece once with liquid deglosser and go right into spray painting.
For spray painting metal outdoor furniture/accessories, I have again found that Rust-oleum products and paints hold up the best. For metal, the 2x Rust-oleum paint that I mentioned above does work well but I think the Rust-oleum protective enamel spray paints are the best to use because it protects against rust and the enamel is the most durable top coat/sealant out there.
Two thin coats are all you’ll need to cover and seal metal.
If the piece is heavily or completely rusted, you can revive it very easily by use a sanding sponge to remove rust as best you can. You don’t have to spend an hour sanding, just go over the piece for just a minute or two getting the flakes and larger rusted chunks off of the piece.
Several years ago, these two metal pieces (the plant stand and candle holder) were completely rusted about as bad as it could get:
I prepped the two pieces with Rust-oleum Rust Reforming, which instantly stops the rusting, seals it in and it creates a paintable smooth surface.
After I sprayed with the Rust Reforming and it dried, I used the Rust-oleum protective enamel to add color, seal and protect the pieces and they have held up for several years beautifully. You can use this same technique on any rusted iron/metal; tables, furniture, etc..
Fiberglass Garden Containers and Pots
Don’t toss those old beat up fiberglass garden pots! It’s amazing how you can really instantly update them with paint! I have had several fiberglass garden pots that I have had for more than 15 years that the paint finish has worn off and the fiberglass has started to break down.
Here is an example of a fiberglass garden container that I have had for at least 15 years that was seriously beat up. My husband was getting ready to haul it to the dump five years ago, the paint finish was worn off and the fiberglass is breaking down and chipping off.
After I prepped and painted this piece five years ago, today it looks like this (I haven’t done anything to it for five years):
The cool thing about this is the chipping of the fiberglass really added to the finish after I painted it to make it look even more like old cement. It’s now one of my favorite pieces on my porch. Here is what I did with it last year with flowers, moss balls and rocks:
To revive those old fiberglass pots, the first thing I do is wash them down really well with the hose and get off all the dirt and let it completely dry in the sun during the day. I wait at least 24 hours for them to dry. Then, I go over the piece twice with liquid deglosser to make sure that it’s clean and a bond will form with the paint.
Next, I then spray paint the piece with two light coats of the Rust-oleum 2x Ultra Cover paint. I like to use a satin or semi-gloss finish. No top coat is needed.
I hope you guys give this a try with these old pots because it’s so fun to see what they can become.
Wicker and Rattan Furniture and Accessories
Unfortunately, wicker and rattan by themselves are not ideal for outdoor use, especially in areas with extreme heat and humidity. These materials just won’t hold up for several years because of the moisture. However, if you seal your wicker or rattan (if you don’t wan’t to paint it) to greatly increase the longevity of the piece outdoors.
Helmsman by Minwax spray is the best product to use to seal wicker, rattan, wood, etc.. to seal and keep out moisture that’s durable enough for the outdoors. I spray all my outdoor wicker baskets with it as well. If you don’t want a sheen, the satin has very little sheen.
As you can see, the satin finish has very little sheen on one of the baskets I sprayed.
If you want to paint wicker or rattan, I have found that it’s best to use Rust-oleum spray enamel because not only does it paint the piece, it also seals it with that durable enamel finish to keep the moisture from penetrating. If you want a matte finish, the satin is the best to use. You do not have to prime wicker/rattan if you’re using this product.
So there you have it! All my favorite tricks that will help make sure that you are not having to repaint your outdoor furniture and accessories every year! I tried to cover everything but if there is something your unsure of, leave me a comment with your question and I’ll help you choose the right paint/prep for your piece.
By the way, if missed it last week and you’re interested in what sources/products I used on my porch, I have them listed below (affiliate links used):
Thanks so much for stopping by today!
**Cyndy Aldred is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.***