Is your outdoor metal furniture looking a bit tired? A fresh coat of paint is a simple way to bring it back to life and get more use out of it. Spray paint is one of the best choices but with so many products on the market, how do you know which one to use?
This article will give you all of the information you need about spray painting outdoor metal furniture, with some of my top recommendations on the best products for the job.
Can You Spray Paint Metal Patio Furniture?
Yes, spray painting is ideal for metal patio furniture. If you want to revamp old furniture, spray paint is an affordable, easy way to do it. It doesn’t require a huge amount of prep and it goes on easily, so even if you aren’t very experienced, you can still do a good job.
What to Consider When Buying a Spray Paint for Metal Patio Furniture?
Picking a good quality paint is key if you want your patio furniture to look nice. These are some of the things you must consider.
The Durability of the Spray Paint
There are plenty of cheap spray paints on the market, but they’re not worth wasting your time on because they are not durable. They’ll last a matter of months, or even weeks, before they start to chip off. Even a slight knock will take a big chunk of paint off, which isn’t ideal for patio furniture that gets moved around a lot. Good quality paint, on the other hand, will be a lot more durable.
Is the Paint Designed for Outdoor Use?
This is very important too. If you use interior paint, it won’t necessarily be water resistant. It is unlikely to have any UV protection either. So, after just a few months, the paint will fade and start to come away from the surface and you will have to reapply.
However, if you use paint that is specifically designed for outdoor use, it will contain UV inhibitors and other additives to help it stand up to the elements. In a lot of cases, oil-based paint is best as it is tougher and more water-resistant, but there are a lot of excellent water-based products out there too.
Finally, think about the color options. If you just want a simple black paint, you won’t have any trouble finding it. But if you want a more unique color, you’ll have to shop around a bit. Some brands only offer basic color options while others will have a full range. You can also get different finishes too.
For example, you might want a rust effect spray if you are going for an industrial/distressed look. You can also get metal effect paints that maintain the look of bare metal. The options are endless really, you just need to search around for the right brands.
10 Best Spray Paints for Metal Outdoor Furniture
Here are my top 10 spray paints for your metal outdoor furniture. Each has been chosen with the above factors in mind.
Rust-Oleum products are always reliable and their High Performance Enamel Spray Paint is no exception. The oil-based formula gives a fairly thick, hard enamel coating to your furniture, with a nice glossy finish. It’s a very durable paint that is specially formulated to withstand rain and direct sunlight, and it prevents rusting too. The hard enamel coating is also less likely to chip or scratch than other paints.
Application is easy too as it has a high output tip and it works from any angle. A lot of spray cans are tricky to use when not upright, which makes it hard to get underneath surfaces.
That means you need to spray the top, let it dry, then flip it to get to the bottom. But with this, you can hit it from any angle and get the majority of the furniture in one go. It’s touch dry in 15 minutes and ready to recoat in an hour, so it’s a quick job. You just need to lightly sand the furniture before you start.
It’s available in 18 different colors, mostly basic reds, greens, yellows, blues, blacks, and whites. So, it doesn’t offer some of the more exotic colors or finishes, but if you want a tough finish on your furniture, this is a great choice.
If you want to get the job done as quickly as possible with almost zero prep, try the Krylon Fusion All-In-One spray. You don’t need to sand the surface, just spray directly over the old finish. It even goes on well over rust, just give it a brush to remove any loose flakes of rust or dirt first.
Dripping can be a problem with this paint, so it’s best to do a fairly thin coat first, let it dry and then reapply. It’s better to do 3 light coats instead of putting it on too thick and getting drips. The finish is a satin/glossy effect rather than the matte that the can suggests. It’s available in an impressive 82 different colors and finishes, so whatever design you’re going for, you should be able to find something that suits the job.
Application isn’t as quick as other spray paints as it takes 2 hours before it is ready to handle/recoat, but it’s still fairly easy. Overall, this is a great option if you have rusted furniture that you want to spray without having to do extensive prep.
SEYMOUR Industrial MRO High Solids Spray Paint has a higher resin content than other spray paints, hence the high solids label. The pigment is what gives the paint its color and the resin is what binds the pigment together and bonds it to the surface.
So, high solids paints will give you a much stronger bond that lasts far longer. It also means that you get better coverage and a smoother finish that hides imperfections more effectively.
This is an industrial-grade product, so it’s designed to withstand normal wear and tear and weather conditions, as well as corrosive substances, oil, and gasoline. It can also withstand extremely high temperatures. So, on some patio furniture in your garden, it will stay in good condition for years to come.
This is the perfect choice if you have furniture that has been neglected a bit. Other paints will sit over the imperfections and highlight them, whereas this will cover them over and give you an even finish. There are 23 different colors available too, so you’ve got plenty of choice.
The Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover is formulated to give better coverage so, in theory, it goes twice as far as other spray paints. It has the same any-angle spray tip that their High Performance Enamel Paint does, and it goes on easily. It’s important to give the can a thorough shake before you start to make sure that it’s mixed properly.
If you just give it a quick shake and start spraying, the consistency may not be right and you won’t get the excellent coverage you were promised. But when applied properly, it does live up to the promise and you will get the job done much quicker than you would with other paints.
It comes in a massive range of colors all available in satin finish. There are some gloss options available too, but not as many. If you’re looking for a quick and easy option, the 2X Ultra Cover does live up to its name.
COLORmaxx Spray Paint and Primer is Krylon’s general all-purpose spray product. It comes in a larger can with an easy-spray button, which also operates at all angles, so application is simple. The spray is a combination paint and primer product, so it will bond well on pretty much any surface without too much preparation.
The standard matte black is ideal if you want a basic overhaul of your patio furniture, but other colors are available too.
This isn’t going to be the best quality spray paint on the market and there are others that offer a much harder finish. That said, if you want a good all-around product that gives good coverage and a nice finish, and is easy to use, Krylon COLORmaxx is ideal.
Using a thick, high solids paint is one option for covering large imperfections, but this Rust-Oleum Hammered Spray Paint works just as well. It gives you a rough, textured metal effect that blends the imperfections in brilliantly. You still get the same durability and rust protection that you come to expect from Rust-Oleum paints, and there are 10 colors to choose from, mostly metal tones.
It takes 2 to 4 hours to dry, so if you want a fast, easy option then look elsewhere. However, if you want to give your furniture a nice realistic metal effect, and cover up any imperfections, it’s a brilliant choice.
Martha Stewart Paint and Primer Spray Paint is another great all-in-one product. It is touch dry in 10 minutes and there is no need to prime first, so it’s a quick job. You will need to clean and sand the surface first if you want to get a good bond though. Martha Stewart products are designed for your average homeowner that doesn’t necessarily have much DIY experience, so they are easy to use.
There is a massive range of colors available too, in gloss, matte, and satin finishes. The only problem is that the color on the cap is often quite different from the color that comes out of the can. This is especially true if you’re painting over an existing color. That doesn’t mean that the color isn’t nice, but you should always do a small test patch first so you know what you’re working with.
Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Spray Paint is a versatile paint that bonds well to almost any surface, including your metal outdoor furniture. The oil-based formula gives you a strong finish and prevents rust on your patio furniture.
The applicator is slightly different from a normal spray can, which can be a good thing but can also cause problems. It’s more of a trigger spray and if you don’t spray carefully, you can end up making a mess and getting drips. You should have a practice on a piece of scrap material first to get the technique down before you start. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it’s actually a lot easier than a normal spray can.
The finish on this spray paint is perfectly smooth (as long as you apply properly) and it is available in matte, gloss, satin, or hammered. There are 23 colors to choose from too.
Dupli-Color Premium Acrylic Enamel Spray Paint is a no sanding, no primer spray paint that is designed for cars and bikes, but works equally as well on your metal furniture. It gives good coverage and protects against rust and moisture very well. As it’s designed for use on cars, which will often be hit with small rocks and stones from the road, it is very chip and scratch resistant too.
You have 15 colors to choose from, most of them basic colors that you’d normally find on cars. The Gunmetal color is particularly good for basic patio furniture, and the matte black works great too.
If you want a high-quality, rich black spray paint, this one from Montana is perfect. It is more expensive than other paints but the color is a very solid, deep black. If you are not worried about fancy colors and you just want the best black color you can get, this is the way to go. Bear in mind that the spray can is not that reliable, so test it out on a small patch first to make sure that it’s running properly.
How to Spray Paint Metal Outdoor Furniture? (Step by Step)
All products are slightly different, so you should always check the guidelines on the can for information about application and drying times. However, you can follow these basic steps to spray paint metal outdoor furniture.
1. Clean and Sand Furniture
Firstly, you need to prepare the surface. Regardless of what product you are using, you need to clean the furniture. If it is rusted or dirty, take a wire brush to remove any loose debris. You can then wash it down with some warm water and let it dry properly.
Sanding the surface will remove any old paints and bits of rust, creating a good surface for the paint to bond to. Some products don’t require sanding first and they will usually say this on the can. But if it doesn’t specifically say not to, you should always sand first.
Use 120 grit sandpaper to remove old paint and rust, followed by 240 grit to scratch the surface and prepare it for the paint. If the metal is bare, just use 120 grit to prep the surface. After sanding, wipe the metal down with a damp cloth to remove any dust.
2. Apply Primer (Optional)
Primer will seal the metal underneath and create a good surface for the paint. However, you don’t always need it because a lot of products are 2-in-1 paint and primers. Check the can to see if you need a primer or not and if you do, use a simple oil-based spray primer for metal. You can get galvanized primers and rust-inhibiting primers to keep the metal from rusting through the paint.
3. Apply First Coat
Once the primer is dry (if you are using it) you are ready to apply your first coat of spray paint. Always shake the can thoroughly before you start to mix it properly. This ensures an even coating and reduces the chances of drips.
When you start spraying, hold the can around 30cm from the surface and move in smooth motions over the furniture. You’re looking for a light, even coating over the entire surface. If you hold it in one spot for too long, drips will form. Remember, it’s better to have more light coats instead of trying to get full coverage on the first pass.
Once you have a decent coverage, let the paint dry properly, following the guidelines on the can.
4. Dry and Apply Further Coats
When the paint is dried, apply further coats following the same instructions as above. Usually, a 2 coats is enough with spray paint but you might need 3 or 4 if the finish isn’t right. It’s always best to add a few more coats and be patient with it to get the finish you want.
5. Apply Sealer (Optional)
In some cases, you can apply a sealer over the top of the paint to give it more protection. Using a clear coat will give you added protection against the rain and prevent fading from the sun, so you don’t need to reapply as often. However, a good quality spray paint will give you a solid protective layer that lasts a while, so this step is optional.
If you do decide to go for a sealer, bear in mind that it might change the color. Some paint products recommend that you don’t use a sealer, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines first as well.
A rust reformer, sometimes called a rust converter, goes over the top of rust and seals it, turning it into a non-rusting surface. Essentially, it stops rust immediately and gives the surface a matte finish without the need to sand and remove all of the rust.
A lot of spray paints can go over light rust easily, especially if they have a built-in primer. However, heavy rust can cause problems and it needs to be dealt with. In this case, a good quality rust reformer, like this one from Rust-Oleum is a good option. It’s much quicker and easier than scraping off all of the old rust with a wire brush.
If the rust is particularly bad, a wire brush can leave you with holes and uneven surfaces, but using a rust reformer and then painting over it gives you the opportunity to bring the furniture back to life.
Rust reformer is not necessary if you have a few spots of rust, but for old furniture that is covered in rust, it’s a good way to go.
Should You Add a Sealer on Spray-painted Metal Furniture?
It is not completely necessary to add a sealer to spray painted metal furniture, but you can if you want to. High-quality spray paints like the ones listed above will give you a durable, long-lasting finish already. However, if you want to avoid recoating for as long as possible, a sealer will make the paint last longer, especially on outdoor projects.
An acrylic spray sealer is a good option for most paints. If you look at the can, it may have recommendations about the best sealer and many companies sell a partner product for this very purpose.
How Long Will Spray Painted Metal Patio Furniture Last?
As long as you use an outdoor spray paint that is water-resistant, and you apply it properly, you can expect it to last 3 or 4 years before it starts flaking off or cracking. This may vary depending on how much rain you get, as well as the quality of the paint. Cheap paint won’t last as long before it needs recoating.
Sealing the paint can also extend the lifespan quite significantly. Some sealers offer protection for 10 years or more, so the paint underneath should hold up for this long too.
Spray Paint Can Tools are trigger sprayers that fit a standard can inside them and make it easier to apply paint. Instead of working with a fiddly spray can, you have a simple trigger that doesn’t require anywhere near as much pressure. The question is, are they worth it?
Yes, absolutely, if you are painting furniture. If you are using spray paint for small items or quick touch ups, a normal spray can is fine. But if you are painting large pieces of furniture, spray paint can tools are excellent. They stop you from getting cramp in your hands and fingers, and they also make it much easier to spray for prolonged periods and get an even coverage.
A lot of stopping and starting leads to drips and uneven spray areas, which ultimately ruin the end result. These tools aren’t expensive and if you are painting an entire patio furniture set, they’re definitely worth the investment.
Spray paint is an excellent choice for outdoor metal furniture because it’s quick to apply, very durable, and it comes in a range of great colors. Just make sure that you pay a bit more for high quality paint, and invest in a spray can tool to make life easier for yourself too.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.