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Nov 08 2010
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Refinishing Metal Furniture

Filed under: Furniture » Refinishing,

How to Refinish Metal Furniture

Vintage Metal Chairs in Need of RefinishingAs part of our series on refinishing furniture, we examine your options when it comes to refinishing metal furniture. Wood isn’t the only type of furniture that people like to refinish. Often time’s people find old patio sets made of metal that they feel would look absolutely perfect out on their deck if only it had an extra coat of paint on it.

It is important when venturing in to refinishing metal furniture that you properly follow the following steps in refinishing in order to avoid simply painting over damaged or rusted areas of metal furniture. While it may not seem like a big deal to paint over a piece of metal furniture it can cause bigger problems in the long run when the process of refinishing is not done properly and can quickly result in your new paint peeling from your furniture piece. The most common types of metal furniture that get refinished are outdoor patio sets, outdoor toys, bikes, planters and other (generally outdoor) pieces. 

Make Sure to Wash Your Metal Furniture before Refinishing 

The first step in repainting your metal furniture is to remove any pieces of the furniture piece that you do not want painted such as the cushions of patio chairs or the casters from the bottom of the chairs. It is important to remove these pieces in order to get the neatest finished product possible.

The next step is to get a bucket of warm soapy water and a rag as well as a regular dish brush to clean off any dirt. It is particularly important when working with outdoor and patio furniture to remove any mud or bird droppings because these are not going to add anything to your repainted piece of furniture!

You will come across patches of rust on some pieces that you will not be able to remove with your regular scrubbing brush and your rag and soapy water, don’t worry about these parts at this step because they will be dealt with in the next step. After you have wiped off the dirt with the warm soapy water (it may take a few buckets) you want to get clean water and wash off any soapy water that remains on your piece. You can use a hosepipe if you are working on your piece outdoors. 

Pay Attention to Rusted or Bubbled Paint 

After your cleaned piece of metal furniture has dried you will now have to work on any rusted or bubbled spots of paint on your piece. It is important to remove these elements from your piece of metal furniture in order to ensure that your new coat of paint is smooth and gives your new piece of furniture the best look possible when it is repainted. Most rusted spots of paint can be brushed with a wire brush – available at any hardware store or home improvement store.

Bubbled paint will also peel with a wire brush but sometimes it may be necessary to pry off bubbled paint using any tool you have at your disposal such as a screwdriver tip or a butter knife. After prying off bubbled paint you will want to again use your wire brush to smooth over any cracked areas or areas that will cause lumps and bumps in your paint. Particularly stubborn areas of rust may require you to use a professional rust remover which will also be available in your local hardware store or megastore.

It is important after this step that you either wipe over your furniture with a clean damp rag or else wash it as you did before using the wire brush in order to make sure that you have a clean surface to repaint. One mistake that people often make at this step is to try and sand metal furniture. When refinishing metal furniture it is important to use a wire brush which is used as a replacement for sanding paper. A wire brush is utilized because sanding paper can scratch metal and damage your furniture, leading to a poor looking finished piece. 

Always Choose an Appropriate Type of Paint 

Now that you have cleaned off your metal furniture you want to apply your chosen paint. It is very important to keep in mind that you need to select a weather proof or rust resistant paint when you are refinishing outdoor furniture. Using paint that is intended for outdoors will reduce the chance that your newly refinished piece will rust or become damaged by the elements as it sits outside.

Many people choose to apply spray paint to outdoor furniture as it is easy to apply and gives a great finish. Other people choose to paint in the more traditional way and while this is just as effective the spray paint tends to give a better overall look to finished pieces. After painting your piece you want to allow it adequate time to dry before applying a second coat of paint. Each type of paint is different but it is generally safe to wait 24 hours before applying a second coat of paint. If the first coat of paint still feels tacky or stains your fingers it is still too early to apply a second coat.

Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

Average: 4.8 (4 votes)
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Antique metal furniture

I think antique metal furniture looks way cooler once it's had a chance to rust a bit. Those metal chairs you show in your picture at the top of this article, for example, look awesome. Why on earth would you want to refinish, much less paint over them?

Corrugated metal?

Will this also work with corrugated metal? I like the idea of spray painting my ghetto metal patio furniture and bringing it back to life. I'm just now sure it's worth all the work. I suppose someone that knows about antiques could take a look and see if it's even worthwhile...

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