How to paint an exterior porch

front porch image by Steve Lovegrove from

Painting your porch can involve several steps, depending on how your porch is constructed. Porch ceilings are almost always painted because they are either covered with soffit or a tongue-and-groove pine board. Wood pillars, handrails, and balusters are also features of a porch that require a coat of paint. When you begin painting your porch, work from the top down. That will keep you from painting the same area twice. Prepare your porch before you begin painting. Preparation is the most important step for the life of your paint.

Power-wash your porch before you paint. This will remove dirt that has built up over time. Paint cannot form a lasting bond if it is applied over dirt. If you do not have access to a power washer, attach a power nozzle to the end of your garden hose. Allow your porch to dry overnight.

Scrape loose and peeling paint with your scraper. Sand the areas that you scraped with your palm sander. If you do not sand scraped areas, your new paint will have an "alligator" effect. Scraped areas of paint will leave a pit in areas that are still painted. Sanding will smooth the edges of the pits.

Cover bare wood with your exterior primer. Primer provides an added layer of moisture protection to your wood surfaces. Allow your primer to dry.

Cover your porch floor with dust sheets. Use plastic or canvas drops, but canvas will stay in place better outside than plastic will. If you use plastic drops, apply painter's tape to hold it in place.

Fill your paint tray with paint, attach your 9-inch roller pad to your roller frame, and attach your roller frame to your paint pole, and set it aside.

Cut in your porch celing with the remainder of the paint in your paint bucket. Cutting in means to use your paintbrush to paint all areas of your porch ceiling that cannot be accessed with your roller. Coat the remainder of your ceiling by rolling it on.

Empty and wash your paint tray and roller pad before you paint the rest of your porch. Washing your tools as soon as you are done with them will make your cleanup easier. The longer you wait, the harder your tools are to clean.

Place your roller screen into your bucket of paint. A 1-gallon size roller screen will allow you to paint with your 4-inch roller, without using a paint tray.

Place your 4-inch roller pad onto your 4-inch roller frame. Cover-coat your posts, balusters, and handrails with paint by rolling it on with your 4-inch roller. Lightly brush over each area, and brush the top and bottom sections of all posts that cannot be accessed with your roller.

Paint the flat sections of your porch siding with your 4-inch or 9-inch roller. Use your paintbrush to cut in the top of your siding, and to cut in along the bottom of your siding. The top of your siding will be next to your ceiling, and the bottom of your siding will be located at floor level on your porch. Perform this step only if you have siding that requires paint.

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