Get ready for next summer porch-sitting time. Porches, like the rest of your home, need regular maintenance. That means you may be wondering how to paint a porch. This is an easy DIY project, one that will instantly improve curb appeal and make spending time on the porch beautiful and relaxing.
How to Paint a Porch
Whether you’re painting a concrete or wood porch, the steps are basically the same: preparation, prime and paint. But there’s a little more to it than that. Read on for expert tips.
Step 1: Prep the Porch
Prepping before you paint is an important part of the project. It takes extra time to do correctly, but it pays off in a better, longer-lasting paint job.
First, take everything off your porch, including furniture. Then, cover the area around the porch with tarps, plastic or drop cloths to protect it.
Next, prep the surface. Sweep or blow away any debris. Then spray off the porch with a garden hose or pressure washer. Start at one end of the porch and gradually work your way to the other side.
If your porch is wood, don’t forget to spray between the boards, where debris can get trapped.
Scrub concrete porches with water and mild detergent, then rinse thoroughly. If the porch is already painted, clean it with a mix of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water, then rinse it well.
Scrape off any stuck-on debris or flaking paint with a sander or scraper. Spray the porch with the hose or power washer to clean away the debris. Let the porch dry for about 24 hours before your next step.
Step 2: Etch Concrete Porches
If your porch is unpainted concrete, etch it before you paint it. Etching, or scrubbing with a solution of 5-10 percent muriatic acid and water, helps primer and paint adhere to the concrete.
Pro tip: Wear protective clothing, including gloves and eyewear, when working with muriatic acid.
Mix the muriatic solution according to the instructions on the container. Then use a stiff-bristle brush to scrub the concrete. When the solution stops bubbling, flush the surface completely with clean water. If the porch isn’t dry within three hours, rinse it again. This will keep puddles from developing, where the acid can concentrate and affect how paint adheres.
After the porch dries, vacuum up the powder left by the etching with a shop vac. Then use a damp rag to remove the rest. If you don’t remove the powder, it will keep the paint from sticking. Let the surface dry completely.
Step 3: Break Out the Primer
Now that the porch is cleaned and prepped, it’s time to prime. On wood porches, use a roller on an extension pole to apply two coats of exterior primer. Cut in corners and hard-to-reach areas with a brush. Then use a roller on an extension pole to finish the first coat. Let dry for at least eight hours before applying the second coat.
On concrete porches, you only need one coat of primer. Apply it the same way you would for a wooden porch, using a roller with an extension pole. Start at one end and work your way to the other. Let the primer dry completely before moving to the next step.
Step 4: Roll on the Paint
Use paint specifically made for floors, which will stand up to wear and tear better than other paint types. For a high-gloss finish, use urethane. For a non-slip finish, go with latex. On concrete floors, latex works, but oil-based epoxy often lasts longer.
Apply two coats of paint on both concrete and wood porches, using the same technique you used when priming. Keep people and pets off the porch for two days so the paint can dry thoroughly.
Wondering how to paint porch railing? Our pros recommend going from the top down:
- Paint the top and sides of the top rail.
- Paint the bottom of the top rail.
- Paint one side of the spindles.
- Paint the other side of the spindles.
- Paint the bottom rail (if you have one)
Pro tip: When you paint the stairs, mix a small amount of fine-grained, clean sand (like you’d use for a child’s sandbox) into the paint. This will make the surface rough and will give you better traction in bad weather.