How To Paint Old And Rusty Metal Outdoor Chairs


We will do almost anything for a little extra outdoor seating at our cabin! I usually like to rescue old furniture and make it over but I must say I was a little astonished when my husband pulled these chairs out of the woods and brought them home for me. There were just so many layers of paint and rust and dirt...oh and webs...with bugs!
Anyway..the ambitious side of me decided to tackle the job and I followed a careful procedure to not only cover the rust but prevent more from showing up.
Finished chairs using a textured metallic paint. I then applied a couple coats of clear gloss lacquer by Rustoleum to seal and protect the finish.
Finished chairs using a textured metallic paint. I then applied a couple coats of clear gloss lacquer by Rustoleum to seal and protect the finish.
Here is the before picture after the chairs had been cleaned and sanded with a wire brush and sand paper.
Here is the before picture after the chairs had been cleaned and sanded with a wire brush and sand paper.
I then had to prime the chairs with a rusty metal primer by Rustoleum.
I then had to prime the chairs with a rusty metal primer by Rustoleum.
before and after
before and after

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

6 questions
  • Debra
    on Aug 22, 2016

    I have the same exact chairs. They are rusty, dirty, and layers of different paint? Shouldn't I strip them first before priming? And if so, with what?

    • Jewellmartin
      on Aug 4, 2017

      No, @Debra, stripping is not necessary. You should clean the chairs and sand only the flaky or rough areas. The Rustoleum Fusion or other similar paint should take care of any rust and blemishes. Then finish with a good exterior clear sealer. Left to me, I'd probably sand more on the seat, arms, and backrest, and use about 8 thin layers of sealer. I'd let all those layers of paint be the artwork. Best wishes 😇
  • Jenny Singletary Foreman
    on Jun 11, 2017

    I have my Grandmothers old glider that looks similar these chairs. I would love to be able to use it. What is the procedure for restoring?
  • Kov28596593
    on Jul 31, 2017

    Do you know the mfg. of the red one? I have 2 of these.
  • Kov28596593
    on Aug 1, 2017

    Anyone have any info on the red one? I have 2 of those.
  • Ellen brehne
    on May 15, 2018

    I inherited some beautiful metal outdoor chairs, unfortunately, they were an awful flesh color. I sanded, wire brushed, then washed with TSP. Then completely dried, applied Rustoleum Primer, dried, then sprayed with Rustoleum in a great bronze color. Brought them inside in AC to dry, then applied a clear coat for strength. Within 2 weeks, the chairs flaked off so badly they looked like they had Viteligo. Any thoughts on what I may done wrong?

  • Joa6717497
    on Jul 27, 2018

    What type of paint do I use

Join the conversation

2 of 29 comments
  • Snooks1948
    on Mar 10, 2017

    So all you did was put a drab Primer on them?? Why Not a Pretty Color to brighten up the porch?
  • Joanie
    on Aug 2, 2017

    I love these chairs, they last forever!!!
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