How to Paint Deck Furniture

Are you looking to add a pop of color to your outdoor space? Painting your deck furniture is an easy and affordable way to upgrade the look of your backyard.

How to Paint Deck Furniture

This guide will walk you through the steps of how to paint deck furniture in order to achieve professional-looking results.

Painting deck furniture is a rewarding and straightforward project that can breathe new life into your outdoor space. Whether you’re looking to refresh old furniture or add a splash of color to new pieces, a fresh coat of paint can make a significant difference.

The process involves selecting the right paint, properly preparing the furniture, applying the paint smoothly, and ensuring a durable finish.

With the right tools and a bit of patience, you can achieve professional-looking results that enhance the aesthetic appeal and longevity of your deck furniture.

What Will You Need?

To paint deck furniture, you will need the following materials:

  • Sandpaper (ideally 120 and 220 grit)
  • Tack cloth
  • Primer (specific for outdoor use)
  • Paint (specific for outdoor use)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Drop cloth or newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Protective gear (gloves, safety glasses, etc.)

Choose high-quality products specifically designed for outdoor use. This will ensure that your painted furniture can withstand the elements and maintain its color over time.

10 Easy Steps on How to Paint Deck Furniture

Step 1. Clean the Furniture:

Use a Mild Detergent

Start by thoroughly cleaning the furniture to remove any dirt, grime, or mildew that might hinder the paint from adhering properly.

Use a mild detergent mixed with water to scrub down the furniture using a sponge or brush. Consider using a mixture of water and white vinegar for tougher stains or mildew.

Rinse the furniture with clean water and allow it to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

This ensures a clean and smooth surface, essential for a professional finish.

Step 2. Sand the Surface:

Sanding the furniture is crucial as it helps remove any existing paint or varnish and creates a surface to which new paint can adhere more effectively.

Begin with 120-grit sandpaper to tackle rough areas and any old finishes. Once these initial imperfections are smoothed out, switch to a finer 220-grit sandpaper to create an even and smooth surface.

Sand along the wood grain to avoid scratches and ensure an even finish. After sanding, wipe the furniture down with a tack cloth to remove all dust and particles.

Step 3. Apply Primer:

A high-quality outdoor primer is essential for achieving a durable and long-lasting paint job. Shake or stir the primer on the container as instructed to ensure it is well-mixed.

Coat of Primer Using a Paintbrush

Apply a thin, even coat of primer using a paintbrush, following the direction of the wood grain. Make sure to cover all surfaces, including edges and crevices.

As per the manufacturer’s instructions, allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to painting. Priming helps the paint adhere better and adds an extra layer of protection against the elements.

Step 4. Tape Off Areas:

If there are parts of the furniture that you do not wish to paint, such as metal hardware or specific wood accents, use masking tape to cover these areas.

This will ensure clean lines and a more professional-looking finish. Press the tape down firmly to prevent paint from seeping underneath. Also, lay down a drop cloth or newspaper beneath the furniture to protect the ground from drips or splatters.

Step 5. Apply the First Coat of Paint:

Begin by painting the less accessible areas and detailed parts first, using a smaller brush for precision. Once these areas have been covered, switch to a larger brush for painting broader surfaces.

Apply the paint in thin coats, working with the wood grain. Avoid overloading the brush with paint to prevent drips and runs.

It’s better to apply multiple light coats than one heavy coat, ensuring a smoother and more even finish. Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly as per the manufacturer’s instructions before applying a second coat.

Step 6. Apply the Second Coat of Paint:

Once the first coat has dried completely, check the furniture to ensure it has an even finish. If any areas appear thin or uneven, lightly sand those spots with fine 220-grit sandpaper before applying the second coat.

Using a clean brush, apply the second coat of paint in the same manner as the first. Thin, even coats will again result in a smoother and more professional look. To achieve complete coverage, be sure to address all surfaces, including edges and crevices.

Allow the second coat to dry thoroughly, following the manufacturer’s instructions, before moving on to the final steps.

Step 7. Inspect and Touch Up:

After fully drying the second coat, inspect the furniture for any missed spots or uneven areas. Use a fine 220-grit sandpaper to lightly sand any imperfections, then apply a touch-up coat as needed.

Pay special attention to edges and detailed areas to ensure a uniform look. Touching up these areas will help to create a polished and professional finish. Allow any touch-up paint to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Step 8. Remove Masking Tape:

Carefully Remove the Masking Tape

Carefully remove the masking tape from any covered areas to prevent painting. Do this slowly to avoid peeling off any paint that might have overlapped onto the tape.

If you notice any paint bleeding under the tape, use a small, fine brush to touch up these areas. Removing the tape at this stage will help ensure clean and crisp lines for a polished appearance.

Step 9. Apply a Protective Topcoat:

Apply a protective topcoat to ensure your newly painted furniture withstands the elements. Choose a clear, outdoor-specific sealant or varnish for this step. Using a clean brush, apply a thin, even layer of the topcoat, following the direction of the wood grain.

This additional layer of protection will help preserve the paintwork and enhance the durability of the furniture. Allow the topcoat to dry thoroughly as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 10. Allow the Paint to Cure:

Finally, allow the paint to cure completely before using the furniture. Even though the paint and topcoat may feel dry to the touch, curing time ensures the finish is hard and durable.

Depending on the paint and weather conditions, this process can take several days to a week. Place the furniture in a dry, sheltered area to cure properly, protecting it from dust and debris.

Once fully cured, your deck furniture will be ready to enhance your outdoor space with its fresh, vibrant look.

By following these steps, you can transform your deck furniture with a professional-quality paint job that enhances its appearance and adds to its longevity. Enjoy your refreshed outdoor space!

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

High-quality Exterior Paint
  1. Choose the Right Paint: Select a high-quality exterior paint that’s specifically designed for outdoor use. This type of paint is formulated to withstand varying weather conditions, ensuring durability and long-lasting color.
  2. Prep the Surface Properly: Clean the furniture thoroughly to remove any dirt, grime, or old paint. Sand the surface to create a smooth base and to help the new paint adhere better. Be sure to fill any cracks or holes with wood filler.
  3. Use Primers: Applying a good primer before painting helps to seal the wood, preventing moisture from damaging it. It also provides an even surface for the paint to adhere to, resulting in a more professional finish.
  4. Apply Thin, Even Coats: Instead of applying one thick coat, opt for multiple thin layers of paint. This method helps achieve an even finish and reduces the risk of drips and runs.
  5. Seal with a Protective Layer: Once the paint has dried completely, apply a clear sealant or topcoat to protect the color and finish from the elements. This extra layer of protection will extend the life of your paint job and keep your furniture looking fresh.

With these additional tips and tricks, you can take your outdoor furniture painting to the next level.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Skipping the Cleaning Process: Never paint over dirty or grimy surfaces. Failing to clean the furniture thoroughly before painting can result in poor adhesion and an uneven finish.
  2. Ignoring Weather Conditions: Avoid painting on extremely hot, cold, or humid days. These conditions can affect the drying process, leading to problems such as blistering, cracking, or an uneven finish.
  3. Using the Wrong Paint Type: Avoid using interior paints on outdoor furniture. Always choose paint formulated for exterior use to ensure durability and resistance to the elements.
  4. Applying Too-Thick Coats: Avoid applying thick layers of paint. Thick coats take longer to dry and are more prone to drips and an uneven finish. Opt for several thin coats instead.
  5. Forgetting to Sand Between Coats: Don’t skip the step of lightly sanding between coats of paint. This helps to create a smoother surface and ensures better adhesion for the subsequent layers, resulting in a professional-looking finish.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a smooth and durable finish for your deck furniture painting project.


In conclusion, how to paint deck furniture is an excellent way to refresh and protect your outdoor pieces, giving them a new lease on life.

By following the comprehensive tips and avoiding the common pitfalls mentioned, you can achieve a professional and durable finish.

Remember to choose the right paint, prepare the surface meticulously, use primers, apply thin and even coats, and seal with a protective layer. Patience and attention to detail are key in ensuring that your furniture looks great and stands the test of time against outdoor elements.

Hopefully, this guide has provided you with the necessary knowledge and tips to successfully embark on your deck furniture painting journey. Happy painting!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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