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How to paint an old garden bench

Updated November 21, 2016

Painting an old garden bench will improve its appearance and preserve its materials. Common materials used to make garden benches include wood, metal and plastic. Special paints have been formulated to paint each of these materials. Paint an old garden bench by preparing the bench and then priming and painting it with a finish coat. You may need to use different kinds of paint on the same bench if it is made from different materials.

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Preparing the bench

  1. Tighten the hardware holding the bench together. Replace all broken hardware bolts, screws or nails with new ones.

  2. Sand the bench with a sanding block on the flat surfaces and sandpaper on the rounded or angular surfaces. Sand the bench to remove peeling paint, dirt and anything that may be living on the surface.

  3. Spray the bench with a garden hose to clean away all loose material.

  4. Allow the bench to dry for two days.

  5. Sand it again to smooth any upturned wood fibres. Dust the bench with a dust brush.

Priming and painting

  1. Lay down plastic sheeting and put the bench on top of it.

  2. Spray all plastic on the bench with aerosol primer. Shake the can to mix the paint and hold it 35 cm away from the surface while spraying.

  3. Hand-paint the bare wood on the bench with a paintbrush and mini roller using exterior bare-wood primer paint. Use the brush to paint the hard-to-reach areas of the bench and the roller to roll the large surface areas.

  4. Allow the primer to dry for 24 hours.

  5. Apply a coat of exterior finish paint with the paintbrush and mini roller over every surface of the bench. Paint over the hardware, metal and plastic, if applicable. Allow the bench to dry for 24 hours and then apply a second coat.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sanding block
  • Sandpaper (100-grit)
  • Dust brush
  • Plastic sheet
  • Exterior metal primer paint
  • Exterior plastic primer paint
  • Exterior wood primer paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Mini roller
  • Exterior finish paint

About the Author

Cody Sorensen
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