Painting patio chairs

To all of you who own stock in the Rust-Oleum company: You’re welcome. I’m pretty sure your profits are going to be waaaay up this quarter, courtesy of the deluge of painting projects I’ve undertaken. My most recent one: metal patio chairs.

I had four of these chairs that were part of a patio set we bought about 15 years ago. The table was taken out of commission a couple summers ago when strong winds blew the umbrella down, shattering the glass tabletop in the process. Unfortunately, when I pulled the chairs out of storage (under our porch) this spring, I saw the elements had taken a toll on them, too.

The rust on one of the chairs in particular was so bad, it was beyond repair. The other three chairs seemed salvageable, though.

The paint was flaking off where the rust was the worst.

I chipped off the flakes and sanded down the bad spots.

rusty metal primer

I had some rusty metal primer left over from another project a couple years ago.

rusty metal primer

The primer was still good, so I mixed it up and painted it on the chairs.

Rust-Oleum rusty metal primer

The primer alone was a huge improvement.

After the primer dried, I spray painted the chairs black. The finish is a bit rough on some of the spots that were really chippy, but it’s a great improvement over the rust.

Next, I tackled the cushions, which had acquired a weird pink cast over the years. It almost looked like they were rusting, too. I scrubbed them down with hot, soapy water, sprayed them with a bleach cleaner, and used a few Mr. Clean Magic Erasers on them…

…to no avail. The pink was not letting go…

… so I decided to just paint over it. I’m not sure what the cushions are made of, but they clearly have some kind of waterproof coating that feels more like plastic than any natural fiber. I used a Rust-Oleum paint (Leafy Green, satin finish) that said it would bond to plastic, and it worked like a charm.

After two coats of paint, the shadows of the old stripes are still visible underneath, but it’s a subtle two-tone green that looks nice, so I think I’m going to stop here instead of doing a third coat and trying to completely obliterate the stripes.

Each chair used two cans of black spray paint, and each cushion used two cans of leaf green. The paint cost about $3 per can. So (if I’m doing the math right, which is never a sure thing), each chair cost $12 (not counting the cost of the primer which I already had) to make over. That seems like a good deal for three “new” chairs.

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