What type of paint for outdoor furniture?

Written by julie battern
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Outdoor furniture can be constructed of a variety of materials: wood, wicker, metal or plastic. Some paints and finishes work well on some materials but not others. Choosing the right kind of product ensures a beautiful and long-lasting finish.

Oil-based Enamel Paint

Oil-based enamels are highly recommended for wood, wicker, and metal furniture. These paints provide the best protective finish. A primer should be used prior to applying the finish coat. Oil-based paints require a solvent, such as paint thinner, to be used for cleanup.

Water-Based (Latex) Enamel Paint

Water-based or latex enamels work well on wood, wicker and metal furniture. Before applying the finish coat, a primer should be used to ensure proper bonding. Latex enamels provide a high-gloss finish which helps to protect the furniture against the elements while at the same time offering the ease of use of a water-based product.

Exterior Stains

Exterior stains may be used on unfinished wood and wicker furniture or on wood and wicker furniture that has previously been stained. Exterior stains come in both oil- and water-based formulas. Exterior stains are available in transparent, semi-transparent and solid colours. Transparent and semi-transparent colours will allow some of the furniture's natural grains to show through.

Spray Paint for Plastic

Plastic outdoor furniture requires a special paint in order to obtain a lasting finish. Spray paint for plastic is formulated to bind to plastic on a molecular level. Other types of paint tend to peel quickly when used on plastic.

Clear Coat Finishes

Clear coat finishes enhance the natural beauty of wood and wicker while providing a protective barrier against the elements. Clear coat finishes fall into two broad categories: clear waterproofing products and exterior varnish. Water-proofing products do exactly what the name suggests, protect wood against water damage. Exterior varnish not only protects the furniture against water damage but also will add a brilliant sheen.

Water-Based (Latex) House Paints

Water-based house paints are not recommended for outdoor furniture. Because most furniture has flat surfaces on which water may pool, latex paints do not provide the proper protection against water damage.

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