spray paint or brush outdoor furniture

Should I Spray Paint or Brush Paint Outdoor Furniture?

In Outdoor Furniture by Jamie

Giving your outdoor furniture a new coat of paint breathes new life into them. Re-painting your outdoor furniture is also a great way of customizing your furniture’s look to go with your preferred ambiance. The best method for painting depends on the type of outdoor furniture you have and what finish you’re looking for.

When painting outdoor wood furniture, it’s easiest to apply using a brush, but when painting outdoor metal furniture or detailed furniture, spray painting would be your best option. Applying multiple coats of paint and adding a durable topcoat over exterior furniture is strongly recommended.

Can you use a brush on outdoor furniture?

Yes, using a brush to paint outdoor furniture works fine. A paintbrush is best for wooden furniture since wood doesn’t need a very smooth finish. Using a brush to paint may be more time-consuming, but it allows you to be more precise and create a beautiful finish.

Painting with a brush gives you some advantages. It allows you to mix or add colors on the spot and it lets you put creative tints and varying shades as you paint. Using a paintbrush is also a less toxic and less expensive method. Make sure to apply multiple thin coats, as it will protect your furniture from outdoor elements.

Pros Cons
  • mix colors
  • avoid harsh chemicals
  • can get more paint for your money
  • harder to paint detailed areas/round areas
  • longer painting times
  • more post-cleanup (brush needs cleaning)

What’s the best paintbrush for outdoor wood?

To get a good finish, ensure that your painting tools are of high quality. Use a high-quality synthetic paintbrush. Synthetic bristles give a smoother finish. It also allows you to reach deep grooves and to smoothly paint over the grains on the surfaces of your wooden furniture.

A good example of a high-quality brush is the Purdy nylox brush. It’s a go-to for many because it paints much smoother and more consistently than other brushes. The wide handle is also convenient to grip and fits comfortably in the hand. The synthetic nylox bristles work well with all paint types.

Can you use a paint roller on outdoor furniture?

use a paint roller outdoor furniture

Paint rollers may be used for outdoor furniture, in fact, it’s good to have both a paintbrush and a paint roller handy when you’re painting outdoor furniture. A roller is very useful and can speed up the painting process for larger pieces of outdoor furniture.

It’s great for a smooth finish, especially for tabletops and any large flat sections of any furniture. The best paint roller to use is a high-density foam roller with round ends. The rounded ends help keep your furniture from roller marks. Paint rollers also won’t leave air bubbles on the painted sections. After using the paint roller, you can clean up any excess drips using the paintbrush.

Can you use spray paint on outdoor furniture?

Spray painting is good for applying an even coat without leaving brushstrokes on even surfaces. Spray painting is a faster alternative to brush painting. It’s great for applying a coat on furniture with rounded and detailed edges, and harder to reach places, such as small and intricate nooks and crannies. Spray painting can be used for furniture made from metal, wood, glass, wicker, plastic, and basically almost any type of surface material. Spray painting is better for metal since it is the paint texture that clings best to it.

Spray painting is convenient for most people since it offers many advantages. Most types of spray paint are oil-based and provide more durability for the finished product. It also dries significantly quicker than most methods of painting. Spray painting is also good for the efficient and professional look it gives. It is the best method if you’re aiming for a high gloss, lacquer, or satin finish. Using spray paint may also save you from spending on the next repaints since it keeps your furniture looking fresh and ensures the paint on your outdoor furniture has a longer lifespan.

Make sure the area you spray paint in is well ventilated. Apply the paint in thin and even coats to avoid drips. In some cases, you might only need to spray one coat. It’s also essential to make sure you test the nozzle before you use the spray paint since a faulty nozzle may spatter the paint.

Pros Cons
  • can be more durable
  • easy application
  • good for metal
  • easy to paint detailed round areas
  • professional smooth finish
  • more expensive typically (less paint for more money or equivalent)
  • toxic to breathe fumes (need well-ventilated space)
  • nozzles can break quickly

Can I use a paint sprayer for outdoor furniture?

Yes, paint sprayers work well with outdoor furniture as well. But, paint sprayers are generally more expensive when compared to other painting methods. And if you’re good with a brush, you may be able to get a finish that’s as good as a paint spray finish. However, if you are willing to spend more on it, then make sure you get a paint sprayer that’s best suited for the task you intend it for.

The HomeRight Finish Max paint sprayer is a popular choice for most DIY projects, especially for painting different types of furniture. It is easy to use and great for beginners and experienced painters alike. The Finish Max features plenty of easy to adjust settings to help you. It is also extremely light (weighing only around 3.1 pounds), and it fits comfortably in your hands for easy maneuvering. This paint sprayer is quite easy to clean and comes with a cleaning brush that makes the cleaning process much easier and quicker.

The Finish Max can be used to spray almost any type of paint. It’s great for applying paint in a precise pattern allowing for a smooth and factory-like finish. The Finish Max is powered by a very powerful 400-watt motor, and it has a capacity of 27 ounces of paint. This frees you from having to refill frequently when you’re painting larger pieces of outdoor furniture. This paint sprayer also comes with a two-year warranty. The HomeRight Finish Max is the best bang for your buck when it comes to paint spraying outdoor furniture.

Can you apply paint to outdoor wicker furniture?

Wicker furniture displays a classic and romantic look in an outdoor setting, but it may fade over time. But you can definitely give your outdoor wicker furniture a fresh new look. Giving it a fresh new coat of paint may also help it last longer.

Make sure you use spray paint though, as spray painting is best for the joints and the narrow spaces in between the material of your wicker furniture. Preparing the wicker furniture is key to getting a good quality finish and a smoother painting job. Figure out what material is the wicker furniture you are painting made of because various types of wicker require different methods of cleaning and preparation. Also, make sure that you use spray paint that is designed for your outdoor use.


Best Types of Paint for Outdoor Furniture

Several types of paint specially made for outdoor furniture that gives your furniture more durability are available. So take note of the types of paint and primers that are particularly suited for your type of furniture. If you’re having difficulty finding that out, you may also use a multi-surface exterior paint that works well with almost all types of materials.

What type of paint to use on outdoor wood furniture?

For wooden furniture, glossy, satin, and eggshell finishes are good. You’ll want to use outdoor paint that gives lasting protection and accentuates the wood grain and texture of your wooden furniture.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is not that easy to use when compared to other types of outdoor furniture paints. But oil-based paint helps make your wood furniture more durable over time. The oil-based finish does not chip as easily as some types of paint do. Keep in mind though, that this type of paint clings on the furniture better when you brush it on instead of using a roller. Oil-based paint also leaves fewer visible brushstrokes after they dry. Another plus of using oil-based paint is that it usually does not require any additional topcoats.

Outdoor Latex Paint

Latex is one of the easiest paints to use for wooden furniture. Outdoor latex paint provides ultraviolet protection for your outdoor wooden furniture. This protects the color and finish of your furniture during the warm summer months. Latex, however, does not offer as much durability as oil-based paint does.

Velvet Finishes

Velvet finishes provide a built-in topcoat, great adhesion, and long-lasting durability. It also does not require much preparatory work. Using velvet finishes generally needs no sanding and priming preparations.

Milk Paint

Milk paint is solvent-free and available in rich colors that don’t fade easily if the furniture is maintained well. Milk paint also dries quickly and is one of the most durable outdoor paints known. And if you’re aiming for a farmhouse look, then this type of paint is for you.

Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is another popular paint option because of the convenience and style it offers. Chalk paint has a matte finish, which is great if that’s the look you prefer. Most types of chalk paint need no preparatory work. It can be applied directly over almost any clean and dry surface. Most types of chalk paint do need an additional topcoat though. Chalk paint may also be sealed with wax to gain a longer-lasting durable finish.

Here are Some Paint Options!

Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Latex

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With over 20 color options Rust-oleums latex paint option is a great pick for outdoor furniture. Its extremely popular and you get to be creative. It can be brushed, rolled, and sprayed in a paint sprayer. Thinning might be required for a better spraying experience, use water to thin!

You can choose from various finishes from gloss, flat, semi-gloss, metallic, and satin. It’s a cheap option that I would recommend for an outdoor wooden picnic table or bench. This wouldn’t be the best pick when searching for the best quality and durability.

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi-Purpose Spray Paint

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The spray paint version is available too. This would likely bond better to the surface, but it would take a couple of cans to do a smaller outdoor project. Still, you can choose from over 30 color options to get funky with your exterior furniture.

Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint Stops Rust


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This oil-based formula by rust-oleum is another great pick. However, since this is oil-based it will last a lot longer. The durability levels are much better. Although, when applying this paint it will be very hard to clean up so be careful of spilling ait and getting it in your hands. Use mineral spirits to quickly clean oil-based paints.

Use this strong bonding paint on wood or metal. It will prevent rust on metals and it will hold on really good without chipping like other paints would on metal. You can brush/roll or spray this paint. If you want a professional look on metal using a sprayer is your best bet.


Frequently Asked Questions

What type of paint to use on outdoor metal furniture?

Paint choices for outdoor metal furniture are quite simple. The best option is a superb oil-based spray paint that’s specially designed for outdoor metal furniture. Choose a spray paint that provides great weatherproofing, rust prevention, and corrosion resistance. These types of outdoor spray paint can be applied directly onto the metal furniture’s rusty surfaces. It dries up in just around an hour to touch, but waiting a few days to cure will really provide excellent durability.

What type of paint to use on outdoor wicker furniture?

The best paint to use on wicker furniture depends on the material and composition of the wicker. Enamel spray paint is a good and suitable option for most types of wicker furniture. But an all-purpose spray paint usually works well with any type of wicker as well.

Final Thoughts

Giving your outdoor furniture a fresh new coat is a great way of brightening up your outdoor ambiance and extending the life of your furniture. I find that no matter what method you use to paint your outdoor furniture, the key is to make sure you prepare and plan ahead well to get the best results.

We all know from experience how painting can get very messy, so make sure your other items and furniture are covered or moved well away from where you plan to do your painting. It’s messy work, but the pleasure and satisfaction you get after all it’s done are worth every smidge of paint on your face and hands.

Good luck painting!