Ultimate Guide to Painting your Porch or Patio

Seemingly lifeless backyards and front yards can be brought to life with a touch of beautifully painted colors and creative design. With a few tips and steps, your outdoor can be turned into lovely sceneries worth more than a second look.

Here is everything you need to know about the best porch paint and how to paint a deck, porch or patio in one handy guide.

What TYPE OF PAINT should I use?

Oil-based paint vs. Water-based paint (Latex)

Latex Porch Paint

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Latex paint on the other hand, dries to a more breathable coating that allows water vapor to pass in and out through the layers of paint film. As a result, it can resist fading over time. Also, it dries faster and it requires no chemical solvents to clean it up.

However, due to its flexible coating, it tends to shrink more than oil-based paints. More importantly, it has poor adhesion on chalky surfaces, and it does not stand well with high humidity because it tends to stain in such an environment.

At present, water-based paint is being used by a greater number of people due to the fact that it does not contain highly volatile chemicals that can harm both the people and the environment. 

Oil-based paint

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Oil-based paint is very smooth in application; it helps prevent smearing and smudging.

Moreover, it has a greater adhesion to metal, chalky, and dirty surfaces which make it great for porch and floor paint. However, as a result of its chemical makeup, it is harder to clean it up; mineral spirits are needed to do this.

More importantly, oil-based paints tend to dry into a rigid coating that blocks moisture. This will eventually result to the appearance of cracks, chips, and paint blisters, because of the trapped moisture that could not escape. Lastly, oil-based paint tend to yellow, become brittle, and fade away. 

Although water-based paints are continuously being improved at present, there are still situations where oil-based paint is the best option, such as in:

1. Areas exposed to high-humidity and extreme temperature

Oil-based paint is superiorly durable in humid areas and extreme temperature as compared to latex paint.

2. Outdoor metalwork, metal doorframes, metal furniture, etc.

Oil-based paint works well with metal surfaces.

3. Surfaces previously painted with oil-based paint

Surfaces with oil-based paint should never be painted on with a latex paint, because the combination results to poor paint adhesion. However, if this is truly necessary, applying primer first before switching to a different type of paint from the previous one will solve the problem.

What PAINTING TOOLS should I use? (Brush vs. Rollers vs. Spray Guns)

Paint Spray Guns

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Spray painting covers large areas in the shortest time possible, flat surface or not. However, it takes a lot of practice to master this method, because it takes experience to adequately exercise control so as not to spray too much or too little.

In other words, it is hard to achieve uniformity in this manner. This is why, most people use a paint brush along with spray guns, to evenly spread the paint.

Paint Brushes

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A paint brush is often used to pay attention to small details. It is ideal for painting narrow edges, railings, and trims, and for using specific hand strokes to achieve a desired style. This is the reason why a paint brush is needed for deck painting.

Paint Rollers

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Paint rollers are good tools for painting large, flat surfaces in a short span of time when utilizing spray guns is not preferred, or if they are unavailable. Rollers are excellent for having an even, uniform look all throughout.

Porch Painting ACCESSORIES (Be Prepared!)

Aside from the obvious painting tools and paint needed to paint your porch, there will always be some fantastic accessories available to make your porch painting experience better and more efficient. Check out these great products every porch painting project should consider using:

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Measuring Tape – it is important to know the dimensions of the area to be painted on, so one can estimate how much paint is needed to cover the entire space one wants to be painted on.

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Painter’s Tape – this will protect surfaces you don’t want to be painted on, like the edges of the outer wall of the house.

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Drop Cloth – to protect shrubbery and furniture from paint spills

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Ladder – used to reach inaccessible areas.

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Sandpaper – to roughen glossy surfaces or smoothen previously painted exteriors, so that paint will effectively adhere to the surfaces.

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Sanding block – is used to hold sandpaper, so you don’t have to hold it directly; makes it easier to smoothen surfaces.

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Paint Scraper – used to get rid of peeling or loose paint.

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Caulk – is needed to seal off holes; a hole filler. A caulking gun is a good device to apply caulk.

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Brush comb – it is used to clean paint brushes.

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Spackle – used to patch holes.

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Spatula – is needed as an instrument for spackling.

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Hammer and nail set – is important for replacing old, loose nails.

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Pail or bucket –a portable container used to carry paint to and from the worksite; where paint can be mixed.

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Stirrer – stirring before applying paint is needed, in order to remove lumps that may have formed in exposure to air.

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Spout – In pouring paint from one container to another, a spout is very useful to prevent unnecessary spills.

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Paint Tray – it is used to contain smaller portions of paint while painting; this is very important because having a paint brush come in contact directly with the pail or bucket, which holds a large amount of paint, will contaminate paint with dirt.

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Screen – used to wipe off excess paint from the paint rollers

Protective Wear For Porch Painting

It is important to take note that scraping off loose paint, and sanding surfaces can be detrimental to one’s health because it releases dangerous chemicals, such as lead. Moreover, using chemical solvents entails exposure to certain risks. It is therefore highly recommended to utilize protective wear to protect oneself from dangerous elements.

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Painter’s gloves – A great way to keep your protected but still dexterous enough to handle painting all those troublesome corners

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Painter’s goggles – Best to keep your eyes safe and away from fumes or paint drops

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Painter’s mask – Keep your lungs, mouth and throat safe from harmful fumes

Other Materials Needed For Porch Cleaning

  • Sponge
  • Long handle scrub brush
  • Detergent
  • Mild soap solution
  • Stiff brush (it is used to brush off slack paint and dirt from the wall)
  • Putty Knife (to remove loose paint)
  • Wire brush or steel wool (used to remove powdery substances on masonry)


STAGE 1: Preparing the Porch to be Painted on

1. Clear the area of any furniture, shrubbery, or decorations

It is very important to remove any obstructions from the worksite, so you can easily move around while working. More importantly, there will be no unnecessary objects that will ruin the paint, or be ruined by it. If there is anything rooted in the patio, a marble table perhaps, cover it with a drop cloth to prevent any paint to be splattered on it.

2. Make Repairs

If there are any necessary repairs to be made, especially when the patio floor is consists of a deck, it is advisable to make them before painting.

Painting a deck starts first and foremost, with a thorough examination of the entire deck, especially the parts that are at ground level, or are in direct contact with the ground: such as the poles, joists, or beams.

A screwdriver, or anything with a jutted tip, could be used to prod into a joist or beam, and if it sinks right in, it means that it is rotten. At this point, it is important to replace the rotten parts in order to prevent any further damage to the deck.

Also, if there are rusting screws, bolts, or nail heads, it is time to replace them with new ones. It is advisable to replace rusting or loose nails with the next large size in order to provide a new grip that will firmly fasten the loosened wood. Preparing a deck firsthand is the proper way on how to paint a deck.

3. Clean the patio or porch extensively

Thoroughly sweep and mop the workplace to remove any debris, from cobwebs to dust, that can mix with the paint. Scrub the surfaces with water and detergent; a sponge and a long handle scrub brush will do the work efficiently.

After all the scrubbing and scouring has been done, make sure to rinse the chemicals completely. Allow the patio to dry entirely. At this point, another round of sweeping, or vacuuming will be good to remove any dust that might have settled.

Tips: Pressure washers are very effective cleaners with great effectivity in a shorter span of time, than the purely manual methods discussed previously. Plus, the high-pressure removes loose paint and stubborn grime.

In using these, take note to:

  • Be careful around glass windows, an accidental hit could break them.
  • Make sure that you are balanced where you stand, lest you be knocked on the ground with the recoil.
  • Regulate the amount of water it pumps out, and the distance of its nozzle from wooden surfaces, too much water will hollow the wood out.

4. Sand surfaces

If one is doing a repainting job, it is not necessary to scrape and chisel out all the old paint entirely; that would be mercilessly backbreaking. However, it is necessary to sand or scrape the surfaces to be painted on.

This is to remove splintering old paint, and/or to smoothen out bumpy surfaces. Otherwise, paint will not stick for long, and it will appear lumpy. Sandpapers have varying grits: coarser ones are good for leveling out large bulges, and gradually move to finer ones for smoother surfaces. It is best to dust off the area after sanding.

Tips: In sanding wooden surfaces, it is important to go along with the direction of the wood-grain with long strokes in order to avoid ripping the wood fibers, which will create an uneven surface.

5. Fill Holes

Fixing existing gaps or holes is very important in order to have a smooth finish. This can be done with spackling and caulking. Spackling is used to fix larger cracks, or to fill in nail holes; whereas caulking is effective in filling in very small gaps.

Allow the newly applied patches to dry, before applying a second coat if needed. After everything is done and the surfaces are dry, it is advisable to sand again in order to level out any resulting lumps.

Note: Caulks shrink, which is good in filling in small holes, but not for large cracks because it appears as a small bump on the surface. Lastly, caulk cannot be sanded on. Therefore, be careful to not apply it on surfaces that are to be sanded.

Tip: Apply caulk at all joints (For Decks)

STAGE 2: Priming and Painting Your Porch 

6. Prime surfaces

Primer, which is layer of coating applied initially before painting, is necessary in order to guarantee the quality of the outcome.

When unprimed surfaces are painted on, appearances of flakes and cracks can be observed more often and in a short span of time, in comparison to paint applied on appropriately primed surfaces. Therefore, applying primer firsthand guaranties better paint adhesion to surfaces, which will prolong the life of both the paint and the surface to be painted on in the long run.

Moreover, primer helps seal the penetrable pores of permeable materials. Therefore, it prevents moisture buildup that can cause paint bleeding.

Walls that were previously painted on do not require the application of a primer, because it was already applied on the surface when it was first painted. However, if the old paint is in a poor condition, which means it is chipping and flaking in places, primer must be reapplied after the surfaces has been smoothed out by sanding.

After the application of primer, ample time must be given for it to dry completely. Afterwards, cleaning the primed surfaces is advised so as to achieve the desired effect of painting. It is very important to spray nail heads with a spray primer in order to prevent them from rusting.

Otherwise, rust will bleed through the paint.

Note: Primer vapors can be toxic, remember to wear a face mask or respirator; ensure that there is proper ventilation as much as possible.


The very first step of painting, is to mix the point thoroughly with a stirrer. After which, a small amount must be poured into the tray.

A paint brush or roller will do for the task. However, grab the ones with long handles to make the job easier. A paint roller does a more uniform look in a smaller amount of time. Whereas a paint brush is more concerned with style and details, since rollers cannot paint the trims and edges.

It is a general rule to always start with the highest point, and move slowly downward.

For instance, in painting deck processes, one must always begin with the railing before working on the deck itself.

In porch and floor painting, one must decide a starting point from where to begin, and slowly work your way outward with even strokes that will eventually cover the entire patio area in a light paint coating.

Allow the first coat to dry completely, which usually takes a few hours; it is best to follow the concrete paint manufacturer’s say on this particular matter, before applying subsequent painted coats of painting.

Allot time intervals between each coat of painting to allow them to dry completely.

After all the painting is done, give your patio a rest and allow for the paint to set and dry properly. This requires more time, and factors such as the climate can prolong or shorten the length of time it will require for the paint to settle.

8. After Painting… Clean Up Your Work!

It is advisable to clean the patio with a mop or a marginally damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust that might have settled while the paint was drying up. Allow the surface to dry, before proceeding to the next step.

Apply a concrete sealer to help protect the newly painted surfaces against the chemical and mechanical stress of everyday life. The same principle of coating is applicable to the concrete sealer: the more coats, the better. It ensures a better durability, than a single coat. Therefore, apply as many coats as you are able.

Tips: Remember that two or more coats of painting is more desirable compared to a single coating. In fact, a few thin coats is considered to have a much superior result compared to a single, thick coating because they prove to be more resistant to the effects of weather such as peeling and flaking.

Wood floor paint is very important, otherwise degradation of the wooden floor will occur as a result of unprotected exposure to moisture.

Porch Painting TIPS & TRICKS

1. How To Choose Porch Paint Colors

The Porch or Patio style and design not only gives beauty to your house, it is also an expression of personal taste. Instead of what looks good for painted decks, go for something that is a reflection of yourself.


  • Red orange – suggests vibrancy; it is a color of youth and laughter.
  • Sky blue – is a color of serenity and peace; it blends well with green surroundings.
  • Yellow– it symbolizes joy and intelligence; it is the color of sunlight. Therefore, this will look good in houses where the sun rarely comes out.
  • Bright/Dark red – is a color of vitality and strength. It is a color that contrasts earthen or greenery landscapes, making it stand out.
  • Purple – symbolizes enlightenment and spirituality; it is a good color for relaxation.

2. Work With Existing Porch Paint Schemes and Established Colors

If we are to bring a patio or porch to life, even if you use home depot exterior paint, we have to be consistent with the exterior paint of the house. One good way of doing this, is to know more about exterior paint schemes.

The exterior paint patterns should be based on the existing colors of the elements that will not be, or cannot be painted. For example, the color of the chimney or of the brick walls, and the entire house must be in visual harmony with whatever color you have in mind for the rest of the exterior surfaces of your patio.

The color you want to add may blend in, or may act as a counterpoint to the existing colors; as long as they do not clash, or subdue each other.

3. Establish Your Exterior Color Scheme

When deciding for the color of the paint for the patio, especially exterior concrete paint, it is important to know that there are three essential parts of an exterior color scheme: field color, trim color, and accent. 

The first is the dominant color; it is the first thing people will see because it makes up most of the house.

The second, is usually used in railings, windows, roof edges, and such; it typically contrasts the field color in order to bring out the hues of each. A light hue for a field color using Lowes deck paint will look absolutely striking when in contrast to a darker trim. Conversely, a dark field color will look completely stunning with a lighter trim.

The third, as the term itself suggests, accentuates; it brings life to the entire scheme by highlighting smaller areas such as doors, and window frames.

Similarly, the intricate details and floor paint colors that will be applied to patio or porch painting must adhere to the principles of the exterior color scheme. The field color, which is the equivalent of the floor paint color of the patio or porch, must be complementary to the color of the railings or of the exterior of the house itself. A perfect balance of contrasts and accents will bring the outdoor area to life.

Using (and Abusing) Color Harmonies

The question remains: How do we know which colors are compatible with each other, and which ones are not? The answer, is simple: Color Wheel. Yes, all the color tricks hidden under everyone’s sleeves come from the color wheel.

There are two basic ways to use the color wheel as a reference for color harmonies.


Colors opposite each other are considered to be complementary. This is often used when one wants to achieve a stunning effect with contrasting colors, like with the field and the trim color schemes.

Examples: Red & Green, White & Black


Adjacent colors, or colors right next to each other, are known as analogous colors. They create a quiet and calm scenario, many examples of which are evidently seen in nature.

Examples: Green & Blue, Orange & Red

4. Blend In With Your Environment

What type of landscape surrounds the house? Does it have brightly colored flowers? Is it full of green shrubbery? Whatever it may be, make sure to choose colors that will not go in direct contrast against the surroundings.

For instance, if the outdoor area is surrounded by lush greenery, it would look best if it is painted in earthy tones and hues, or with a light blue color, to compliment the surroundings.

5. Respect the Historic Architectural Design of Your House

Does your house follow a specific historical style? Perhaps, Victorian? Or Georgian? If it does, it is highly recommended that the original scheme be retained for deck painting. It looks best in all its classic grandeur. However, one may experiment a little and alter a shade or two, but to completely ignore the default colors would be inadvisable.

Some final things to remember about painting your porch

Well, if you’re still reading this give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve made it through our ultimate porch painting guide and hopefully you’ve picked up a great tip or trick to use on your next porch painting project.

The house exterior is constantly exposed to weather and environmental factors. Therefore, it is the part of the house that is most susceptible to the tear and wear of everyday conditions. These same principle apply in painting the porch or the patio. It is best to protect and prolong its lifespan by following all the necessary steps in applying the paint to properly maintain its good condition. Everything about the patio paint will greatly affect the longevity of the exterior surfaces; the type and color of the paint are important considerations to take note of.

Remember though that any kind of home renovation project may certainly be beyond your own skills and circumstances so if you have any inkling whatsoever that this might be too difficult for you to achieve on your own, make sure to consult with a painting professional for more assistance.

We hope you enjoyed our guide to painting your porch!



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