Category: Painting


How To: Paint Your Front Door

A can of fresh paint is all it takes to boost home's curb appeal and brighten your mood upon pulling into the driveway. Cleaning up that lackluster paint on your front door is a simple and satisfying job, so why not make a day of it? Follow this step-by-step for an easy home update.

How to Paint a Front Door

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Front doors undergo wear and tear on a daily basis, not least from the elements—precipitation and wind and the glaring-hot rays of the sun. That being the case, it’s no surprise that every so often, depending on the architecture of your home, it becomes necessary to paint the front door. Some might see this as a chore, a purely maintenance-oriented responsibility, but why not capitalize on the chance to paint the front door a new color? After all, a new look for the entryway can go a long way toward boosting curb appeal, and I think the change can make it more enjoyable to return home after a day at work or weekend away. Of course, painting is one of the easiest home improvements one might undertake, and if you start in the morning, you can have the project completely finished by nightfall.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Screwdriver
- Primer (optional)
- Exterior acrylic paint
- Paint roller
- Paintbrush
- Putty knife
- Lint-free cloths

STEP 1
For best results, particularly if you are painting both sides of the door, I highly recommend remove the door from its hinges. Certainly, it can be a hassle to do so—after all, front doors are heavy—but wouldn’t you rather inconvenience yourself for ten minutes than suffer the sight of a poor paint job over the next few years?

How to Paint a Door - Blue Paneling

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STEP 2
Prepare an adequate work area. That includes laying down an old sheet or drop cloth to catch paint drips, then bringing a pair of sawhorses (or makeshift stand-ins) into position to hold the door off the floor. Finally, ask a friend or family member to help you lift the door and place it over the supports.

STEP 3
If the existing paint on the door has cracked or peeled, remove it with a putty knife. Just be careful not to gouge the door with the tool. Next, smooth rough areas with fine-grit sandpaper before washing the surface with warm, soapy water. Wipe the door down with a lint-free cloth and be sure that it’s completely dry before you start to actually paint. Remember, preparation is key in any paint job.

STEP 4
Take off all removable hardware, including the doorknob and lockset. If the door features any immoveable details, such as an integrated pane of glass, cover those carefully with blue painter’s tape.

STEP 5 (optional)
You don’t have to apply a coat of primer, but if the new color you’ve chosen is lighter than the existing one (or if you’ve had to remove a lot of old paint), then it’s probably wise to take this extra step. Priming the door will save you from having to do an extra topcoat or two. Of course, if you buy a primer-paint combination, and you should if possible, then you can very likely complete the job with only two coats.

STEP 6
Stir up the paint before beginning to apply it. Use a three- to four-inch paintbrush around the outside edges and corners of the door, then brush the edging around any raised or recessed panels. Switch to a small paint roller to make quicker work of the flat parts of the door. Assuming you’ve used a water-based—which is to say latex—paint product, each coat should take a few hours to dry in low humidity.

STEP 7
Apply the final coat in the same manner as above, starting with the outside edges and corners. Once finished, allow a little extra drying time—perhaps an additional hour. Finally, remove the painter’s tape, reattach the hardware, and replace the door on its hinges. That’s it—see, I told you it wouldn’t take long!


How To: Paint Plastic

Perk up dingy plastic by spraying on a fresh, smooth coat of paint in the color of your choice.

How to Paint Plastic

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Whether your goal is to renew a faded surface or bring a new color into the mix, there are two main things to know about painting plastic: It’s possible, and it’s easy. Although there are traditional paints formulated for use on plastic, we recommend spray paint, as it generally results in a more natural-looking, less obviously altered appearance. If you’ve never spray-painted before, practice a bit beforehand—on, say, a cardboard box—in order to perfect your technique. Spray painting isn’t difficult to do; it’s simply somewhat harder than it looks. Most important, be sure to purchase spray paint suitable for use on plastic. Note that the same product may also be appropriate for wrought iron, ceramic, glass, and vinyl, so you’re likely to find another use for any paint that happens to be left over.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Spray paint for plastic
- Mild soap and water
- Rubbing alcohol
- Painter’s tape
- Clear acrylic spray sealant (optional)

How to Paint Plastic - Can Detail

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STEP 1
Proper preparation is the key to a smooth and lasting finish. Begin by thoroughly cleaning the plastic surface you plan to paint, using mild soap and water. Having allowed the plastic to dry, wipe it down with rubbing alcohol. Next, to prevent accidents and minimize cleanup, set up a protected work area, lining it with newspapers, sheets of cardboard, or a tarp. If there are any parts of the plastic you don’t wish to paint, cover them up with painter’s tape.

STEP 2
Hold the nozzle of the spray paint can about 12 to 18 inches away from the plastic. Start spraying in a spot slightly to the side of the surface, then move the can across in a smooth motion, stopping only once you’ve gone a few inches past the edge. Continue in this way, overlapping your strokes, until you’ve coated the entire area. Avoid over-spraying; paint formulated for plastic tends to adhere quite well.

STEP 3
For the best results, apply a few coats, each one thin and even (avoid leaving patches of buildup). You can expect the paint to be dry to the touch within only 15 minutes, but you should wait about 30 minutes before applying each subsequent coat. Allow even longer if you are painting in a humid environment.

STEP 4
This is optional, but if the plastic you’re painting will spend time outdoors, we recommend protecting the job with a clear acrylic sealer. Once you’ve given the final layer of paint plenty of time to cure, spray on the sealer using the same smooth, overlapping strokes with which you applied the actual paint. A single coat of sealer may do the trick, but there’s no harm in putting on two or three. Between each, allow 30 minutes of drying time. After the final sealer coat, let the plastic sit for two hours, then you’re done!


Bob Vila Radio: How to Remove Paint Spots from Wood Floors

In the course of completing a recent paint project, stray drops of paint managed to get on your finished wood floors. Don't worry! Here's some advice on how to get those up.

When’s the best time to remove paint spots from wooden floors? Right after the paint hits the floor, of course! But what if you don’t notice a spot until later, by which point the paint has become hard as a rock?

How to Remove Paint from Wood Flooring

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Listen to BOB VILA ON REMOVING PAINT FROM WOOD FLOORS or read the text below:

Try using a rigid plastic putty knife, paired with light taps from a hammer. If that doesn’t work, use a hair dryer to warm the spot, then give the putty knife another try (be careful not to apply too much heat, as that could damage the floor). For paint that’s landed between floorboards, try gentle strokes using a pull scraper. Solvents can also be a big help, provided you choose the type that’s appropriate for the paint you used, be it oil- or water-based.

Stains are toughest when the paint has bonded with the finish of the floor and seeped into the grain of the wood. When that happens, you may need to use a pull scraper to remove the paint—along with the finish—before touching up afterwards to reseal the floor.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


How To: Paint Vinyl Siding

If your vinyl siding has seen better days or you no longer like its color, save big bucks by painting it instead of replacing it.

How to Paint Vinyl Siding

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A sensible siding solution, vinyl remains a popular, budget-friendly choice for home exteriors. People have always loved its low maintenance requirements, and the material has only gotten better, benefiting over the years from advancements in manufacturing. Even so, it’s not—and never likely to be—invincible. If your siding is looking faded or worn, or if you’ve just grown tired of the color, you may choose to paint your vinyl siding. Of course, an exterior paint job is a large project, to be sure, but it’s not a particularly complicated one. You may fear that in order to paint vinyl successfully, you will need to learn a new set of idiosyncratic, vinyl-only techniques. Fortunately, that’s not the case. The following instructions will take you through steps that, if you’ve painted anything before, will no doubt be familiar. Plus, we’ll detail the handful of vinyl-specific considerations that you’ll need to keep in mind to be get the job done right.

Weather Wise
Before heading outdoors to get the project under way, first consult the weather forecast for your area. To paint vinyl siding in ideal conditions, wait for mild temperatures, low relative humidity, and an overcast sky. If the weather’s too hot, too sunny, or even too windy, the paint may fail to go on properly. Yes, it might look fine in the short term, but paint applied on a hot, humid, or gusty day may adhere poorly and be more prone to cracking and flaking over time.

Paint Selection
Don’t just purchase the most easily reached can of paint in the aisle. For a paint job to look good and last on vinyl siding, the product you choose must:

• contain acrylic and urethane resins; these ingredients, which accommodate the expansion and contraction of vinyl, help the coating to stick.

• be the same shade or lighter than the current color; darker colors retain more heat and leave the siding vulnerable to premature warping.

In other words, choose a latex urethane paint formulated for exterior use, and shy away from dark colors, which may create more maintenance problems.

How to Paint Vinyl Siding - Closeup

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Surface Preparation
A thorough cleaning is a critical first step toward achieving a professional-quality paint job—not only on vinyl, but on any material, indoors or out. Just running the hose over the siding won’t cut it. We’ve covered how to clean vinyl siding in the past. The goal is to remove all mold, mildew, chalky buildup, and debris from the surface.

For best results, use a cleaning solution that contains:

- 1/3 cup laundry detergent
- 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner
- 1 quart liquid laundry bleach
- 1 gallon water

Use a cloth or a soft-bristled brush to apply the cleaning solution over all the vinyl siding you wish to paint, then be sure to rinse off any remaining residue. Before going any further, allow enough time for the siding to dry completely.

Paint Application
Primer isn’t necessary unless the original color has completely worn away, or has become pitted or porous. Apply your chosen paint with a roller or even a paint sprayer, saving brushwork for corners and edges. Evenly coat the entire surface, taking care not to apply too much paint in any one section. As in most other types of paint jobs, it’s better to do multiple thin coats than fewer thick ones.

Upon finishing the first coat, let the paint dry—if not completely, then mostly—before continuing on to the second. The second coat, however, must be given enough time (24 hours at most) to dry completely before the project can be considered complete. Most of the time, two coats are sufficient.

This is all much easier said than done, of course. Painting the home exterior is a large, laborious job. The silver lining is this: Assuming that you properly cleaned the vinyl siding prior to painting, you can expect the application to last 10 years!


How To: Paint Pressure-Treated Wood

The process of painting pressure-treated wood involves steps you would not take—and considerations you would not make—with regular lumber. Here's what you need to know.

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It’s a two-sided coin: What enables pressure-treated wood to last outdoors is precisely what complicates the process of painting it. To produce pressure-treated wood, the milled lumber (typically pine or cedar) is saturated with chemical preservatives. These chemicals minimize the wood’s natural vulnerability to insects and rot, but they also leave the wood rather wet. To paint pressure-treated wood successfully, therefore, you must be prepared to exercise a bit of patience. To paint pressure-treated wood before it’s ready is to waste a day’s effort. For lasting results, follow the instructions below.

First, clean the pressure-treated wood you plan to paint. Use a stiff-bristled brush and soapy water. Once you’ve given due attention to the entire surface, rinse off the wood and allow it to dry thoroughly. Between the chemicals used to treat the lumber and the water used to clean it, the drying time may be as protracted as a few weeks—or even a few months. How do you know when it’s ready? Once the wood feels dry to the touch, sprinkle a bit of water on it. If the water soaks in, then the wood can be painted. If the water beads up, go back to playing the waiting game. Note that for a time-sensitive project, it may be wise to choose pressure-treated wood marked as having been kiln-dried after treatment (KDAT). The timeline for painting KDAT wood is considerably more condensed.

Once you’ve confirmed that the wood has dried out completely, you can begin painting. Start with primer formulated for exteriors, and make sure that the manufacturer lists the coating as suitable for use on pressure-treated wood. Having primed the wood—and having allowed sufficient time for the primer to dry (it should take no more than a day)—move on to applying your top coats. You should expect to do two. Avoid using oil-based paint here; on pressure-treated wood, latex performs much better. Use a paint sprayer if you have one, but if the job entails detail work, opt for a brush (or use both in combination).

It’s worth mentioning that in outdoor applications where the finish will be subject to the elements, paint lasts longer on vertical surfaces like fences than it does on horizontal ones like decks. If you don’t like the idea of repainting every two or three years, consider staining the pressure-treated wood instead. Yet another option is to allow the wood to weather and become gray, and then to coat it with a protective sealant. Of course, sealant must also be reapplied, but many consider the job to be less demanding than repainting, which often entails scraping away parts of the old finish.


How To: Paint IKEA Furniture

If your IKEA furniture has seen better days, or it's outlived your love of its look, maybe all it needs is a new coat of paint?

How to Paint IKEA Furniture

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Years ago, you purchased particleboard furniture at IKEA. Maybe it’s begun to show its age, or maybe you simply no longer like the color. Either way, you can—contrary to popular belief—renew your furniture’s lease on life with a fresh coat of paint. The work demands a certain amount of preparation; paint projects always do. But it’s eminently possible to get the job done successfully, transforming the look of the Lack or Expedit you’re still not (or never will be?) ready to part with.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Cleaning supplies (clean cloths and dishwashing detergent)
- Fine- and medium-grit sandpaper
- Oil-based primer
- Oil- or water-based paint
- Paintbrush

STEP 1
When you set out to paint IKEA furniture, start by pulling off all the removable pieces. That includes such things as shelves and doors (components that are easier to paint separately) and hardware, such as hinges and knobs. Label each piece as you set it aside so that once finished, you’ll know what goes where.

How to Paint Ikea Furniture - Detail Shot

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STEP 2
Next, use a clean cloth to wipe down all surfaces with a mixture of warm water and a small amount of dishwashing detergent. The aim here is to eliminate any built-up grit. As you clean the particleboard, be very careful not saturate the material. Clean only the laminate portions of the furniture, not the pressed wood. Once you’ve finished, go over the piece with a dry cloth to remove any lingering soap residue.

STEP 3
Having allowed the IKEA furniture enough time to dry completely, proceed to sand the surface with 120- or 140-grit sandpaper. Here, scuff the laminate enough so that the primer coat can adhere. Steer clear of sanding too aggressively, which can leave the surface uneven or cause the particleboard to deteriorate.

STEP 4
When you’ve finished sanding, wipe the sanding dust off the furniture and vacuum the work area so that the dust doesn’t find its way back. Now, with a quality paintbrush, apply a coat of oil-based primer and let it dry.

STEP 5
Sand the furniture a second time, this time with 400-grit sandpaper. Clean the sawdust off the furniture and work area before applying the second coat of primer. Before you proceed to the next step, be sure to wait a few days—or as long as a week—for the primer to fully cure.

STEP 6
Lightly scuff the primed surfaces with medium-grit sandpaper, wipe away the sanding dust, then apply the first coat of paint in the color of your choice. Do so in a thin layer, allowing a day or two of drying time.

STEP 7
Lightly sand the first coat of paint, wipe away the sanding dust, then brush on the second, final coat. Give it a couple of days to dry, reassemble the furniture, replace the hardware, and you’re all done!


How To: Dispose of Paint

Improper disposal of household paint cans is bad for the environment, potentially dangerous for sanitation workers, and—in some localities—subject to fines. Here's how to do it safely.

How to Dispose of Paint

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No matter what you’re painting—your home’s exterior, the living room, or the dresser you recently bought secondhand—every project seems to leave you with a frustratingly minute quantity of leftover paint, usually much too little to keep for future use. So how do you get rid of it? Well, there are several ways to dispose of paint. The best method depends on the type of paint in question. Read on to learn how to dispose of the three types of paint most commonly used in homes—latex, oil, and spray paints.

How to Dispose of Paint - Can Detail

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Latex Paint
Due to environmental concerns, leftover latex paint can neither be poured down the drain nor thrown in the trash. If there’s really only a tiny bit left, either air-dry it or use up the remainder on some cardboard. You can then recycle the empty paint can, if not through curbside pickup, then at a local waste facility.

If there’s more than a little paint left, take action to harden the paint. You can try materials you have on hand, such as sawdust or scrap paper, or opt for a waste paint hardener. The latter is readily available in hardware stores and home centers. Simply mix the hardener into the paint, closely following the instructions provided. Let it stand for the recommended period of time, after which the paint should be hard as a rock. You can now throw the can away (but you cannot recycled a can with hardened paint).

If it’s a full or nearly full can and you simply no longer want the paint (and you cannot return it to the store where you made the purchase), call your local home resale store or a charity with an office nearby.

Oil-Based Paint
Oil-based paint qualifies as hazardous household waste (HHW). As such, it comes with limited disposal options. You may recycle a completely empty can, but things get tricky if there’s paint left. If you’re prepared to spend money to avoid a hassle, you may want to contact a hazardous waste vendor. Alternatively, consult your local government for advice, or contact the big-box home improvement store closest to where you live. In many counties, there are drop-off dates on which HHW material is accepted. A full (or nearly full) can of oil-based paint would be much easier to donate than to dispose of properly.

Spray Paint
Half-full cans of spray paint are potentially dangerous; they can explode under heat or pressure. It’s important not to throw out a can until it’s completely empty. Spray the remaining contents on a piece of cardboard until you’re certain there’s nothing left. Once empty, add the can to your regular recycling.

As you can see, disposing of paint properly isn’t always a breeze. One thing is certain, however: No matter the type of paint, it’s easier to deal with an empty can than with one that’s half full. So if you’re stuck with leftovers, you’ve now got a very good reason to get started on that painting project you’ve been thinking about!


How To: Paint Tile

If you're unhappy with your ceramic tile, ripping it out isn't your only option. Did you ever consider painting it?

How to Paint Tile - Supplies

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You are itching to redesign your kitchen or bathroom, but the color of your existing tile limits your options. Certainly, one possibility is to remove or replace the tile, but that’s an involved process, not to mention an expensive one. Another option—by comparison, a much easier and cheaper one—would be to paint the tile. Yes, it’s possible to paint ceramic tile! Follow the steps below to paint tile like a pro, and proceed with your kitchen or bathroom redesign, confident that any style is within reach.

Here’s the catch: It’s not a good idea to paint tile in the immediate area of the sink or bathtub/shower, because the moisture may cause the paint to peel. Focus your painting efforts on walls, floors, countertops—indeed, any tiled area that isn’t likely to come into contact with a great deal of water on a frequent basis. Also note that because painting tile requires the use of epoxy and other compounds that contain harmful chemicals, it’s essential to ventilate the room well and to wear proper protective gear.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Sandpaper
- Two-part epoxy
- Bonding primer
- Painter’s tape
- Drop cloth (or plastic sheeting)
- High-gloss or semi-gloss latex paint
- Paint thinner
- Urethane sealer
- Paintbrushes (or rollers)

How to Paint Tile - Supplies Detail

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 1
Before you begin in earnest, thoroughly clean the tile. First, sand it. Next, wash the tile with a store-bought cleaner formulated to kill mold, or with a mixture of one cup bleach and about a gallon of warm water. Allow the tiles to dry completely before you proceed any further in the project.

STEP 2
Examine the tile. In order to look its best once painted, the tile should be free of imperfections. If you encounter any chips or cracks that you would like to repair, do so with a two-part epoxy. Mix the product according to manufacturer’s directions, then apply it carefully to the affected area, being careful to make your repair level with the surrounding tile.

STEP 3
Having successfully readied the tile, move on to coat it with an application of epoxy bonding primer. You can use either a brush or roller, depending on the size of the area you are planning to paint. Resist the temptation to skip the primer; you really need it for the paint to adhere in a lasting way.

STEP 4
Use painter’s tape in combination with a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to protect nearby surfaces from errant paint. Next, with a brush or roller, apply high-gloss or semi-gloss latex paint to the primed tile. If you find the paint isn’t spreading evenly, add a bit of paint thinner to the formulation. Once you’ve finished painting, wait for the tile to dry completely. In some cases, drying can take as long as several days.

STEP 5
Finally, apply two or three thin coats of clear, water-based urethane sealer to the newly painted tile. During the process, let each coat dry before you apply the succeeding one. This, too, isn’t a step to skip, because the sealer can be expected to safeguard the tile against threats like scuffs, scratches, and moisture.


Bob Vila Radio: Painting Pressure-Treated Wood

The process of painting pressure-treated wood isn't wildly different from painting other types of lumber. But there are special requirements here—most of all, the job calls for patience.

Thinking of putting some paint on that deck you just built? If you used pressure-treated lumber, you’ll need to approach the job a bit differently than you ordinarily would.

Painting Pressure-Treated Wood

Photo: the-lumber-outlet.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON PAINTING PRESSURE-TREATED WOODor read the text below:

First, put a coat of preservative on the wood. And not just any preservative. Home stores carry preservatives especially formulated for pressure-treated wood.

The next thing you’ll need to apply is a bit of patience. That means waiting about three months before you paint. That’ll give the chemicals in the wood time to dry properly.

Once the wood has finished curing, it’s time to head to the paint store. Choose a paint that’s specially formulated for covering pressure-treated wood. Although you can use either oil- or latex-based, latex is probably the better choice, since it expands and contracts with the wood and is less prone to cracking and peeling.

Avoid the temptation to apply all the paint in one thick coat. You’re better off applying several thinner coats, using a brush and—if practical—a roller with medium-to-long nap. Make sure that between coats, you allow plenty of time for drying.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

How To: Paint Metal

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to revitalize and protect your household metals. You'll just need a few tools and as always in DIY painting projects, a focus on prep work.

How to Paint Metal

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A fresh coat of paint can brighten the look and prolong the life of metal surfaces in and around your home. Painting metal is no more or less difficult than painting other surfaces. And, as with other paint jobs, whether you’re painting a vintage desk or an aging fence in the yard, your success will largely depend on how much effort you put into the prep work. Sorry, no shortcuts. But here’s the good news: Follow the steps below, and the paint job can be expected to last and look great for years.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Stiff-bristled wire brush
- Sanding block or fine-grit sandpaper
- Drop cloth
- Clean cotton cloths
- Spray primer
- Spray paint
- Protective gear (safety glasses and dust mask)
- Clear spray lacquer (optional)

STEP 1
Start by inspecting the metal surface you intend to paint. Assuming that it’s portable, move the item to a well-ventilated space where you have prepared a drop cloth-covered work area. Inspect the metal for cracks and peeling or chipped paint. You will probably find no shortage of surface imperfections, but don’t worry—these can be removed by means of a wire brush (if the rust doesn’t budge, consult these instructions). To be on the safe side, wear a dust mask as you work.

How to Paint Metal - Corrugated Detail

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
Having removed all rust and old paint—or as much as it was humanly possible to remove—proceed to sanding the metal. Use either a sanding block or a square of fine-grit sandpaper. (Here, too, it’s wise to wear not only a dust mask, but also protective glasses.) After sanding the metal, wipe it down with a moistened cotton cloth, using it to clean all the sanding dust off the surface. Before continuing onto the next step, wait for the metal to dry out completely.

STEP 3
Apply a specially formulated metal primer. If the object you are painting doesn’t have a smooth surface—if it features lots of nooks, crannies, and crevices—opt for spray primer. Otherwise, use a brush or roller to apply traditional primer, choosing one or the other tool based on the surface area. Check the instructions on the product you’ve chosen, but generally speaking, primer needs about 24 hours to dry.

STEP 4
Now it’s finally time for paint. Use a brush or roller, or use a spray paint formulated for application on metal. Apply several light coats, letting the paint dry for a few hours between coats. Once you are happy with the coverage, let the paint dry for about eight hours (or overnight). After that, you’re basically all done!

STEP 5
Last but not least is the optional step of finishing the paint job with a sealer intended for use on materials including metal. Not only does sealer protect the paint, but it also imparts a nice shine.

Now that you know how to paint metal and you’ve witnessed how easy the process can be, you may find yourself studying your home and garden with renewed attention, looking for other things to revitalize with a fresh coat of color. Yes, one successful DIY project inevitably leads to another!