Tips to Repaint Porch Railings That Last

Are you a porch lover? We added a long porch to the front of our 1980s ranch house to help give it a farmhouse-cottage look (and to disguise the fact that we converted our garage into living space - but that's a whole other story!) complete with a white porch railing. And we LOVE it!
But one thing we've not enjoyed is that the white railings have needed to be repainted every few years, especially in the area that's covered with a pergola and clear roofing system (versus a solid roof). In the past we've just slapped on any paint to try and get the job done quickly, but this time we were determined to do a better job so we wouldn't have to repaint them as soon.
So for all you porch people, I wanted to share with you the tips we came up with that resulted in a much better finish that we know will last a lot longer - if you have railings, you'll know what I'm talking about!
BLOG: AnOregonCottage
Here's what we started with (well, this is actually after our son helped scrape - picture lots of flaking paint...) - the balusters and posts weren't too bad, but the bottom rail, which takes the biggest beating from the weather, had almost no paint left. Sadly, we had scraped and repainted this same rail just a few years ago. It may take us awhile, but we're learning that some things are worth investing in to save time (and money or more problems) down the road.
This time we decided to layer on protection by using a quality primer AND a paint that included primer, too. In areas exposed to the elements, I don't think you can ever have too much protection!

It's a good idea to use a brush for this step to make sure to get primer in all the nooks and crannies. It dries in 30 minutes, so you could actually prime and paint in one day if you were able.
After priming, layer on 2 coats of your outdoor paint, using a narrow brush for the first coat (again to get into all the nooks) and than follow up with a second (or third, if needed) coat with a foam roller.

The foam roller is awesome and quickly adds a smooth topcoat to all the rails. We also then added one coat of the new paint to all the columns on the porch, too, to match everything and the foam roller made it go FAST.
The priming took a few hours the first afternoon, the painting another couple hours for each coat. Not that long, really, to turn a tired, dusty place into a crisp, clean space to enjoy the season.

Now we can sit on our porch and truly relax - enjoying the view of both our neighborhood AND the fresh white porch railing.

Click the link below for more details on the steps - including the brand of primer and paint we used.

7-2016 UPDATE: It looks as fresh as when we did it last fall - longer lasting mission accomplished!!
Jami @ An Oregon Cottage
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • Mickey Baron Mickey Baron on Nov 16, 2015
    My porch is just like this! I'll have to scrape & paint next summer. ~again~ TY, using this technique! Is your top railing painted brown or stain?

  • Phyllis Phyllis on Jul 04, 2016
    What primer did you use and what brand paint.

  • Phyllis Phyllis on Jul 04, 2016
    What color stain you use for floor.

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