What Paint and Primer Is Best for Outdoor Metal Furniture?

Metal furniture pieces such as chairs, tables, and benches are popular for outdoor spaces due to their durability, strength, and stability. However, exposure to weather conditions and sunlight can cause the metal to rust and lose its luster. One way to protect and upgrade your metal furniture is by repainting.

Oil-based paint and primer is the most popular option for painting outdoor metal furniture. Oil-based paints are durable, weather-resistant, and provide a smooth finish. An oil-based primer is also recommended, as it helps with ensuring adhesion and rust protection.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 4 factors to consider when choosing paint for outdoor metal furniture
  • What type of paint to use
  • What paint finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for outdoor metal furniture

The 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Outdoor Metal Furniture

1. Type of Metal Furniture

The type of metal furniture you want to paint is crucial in choosing the right paint. Many types of metal, including aluminum, steel, wrought iron, and cast iron, have different textures and finishes.

The paint that works for one type of metal furniture may not be suitable for another. Before you choose to paint, research the specific paint type recommended for the type of metal you’re painting.

2. Weather Conditions

Weather conditions play a big role in determining what paint to use on your outdoor metal furniture. Different climates have their weather conditions, and the paint you use must match the environment in which the furniture will be placed.

If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall, high humidity, or intense sunlight, choose paints resistant to moisture and ultraviolet rays.

3. Paint Finish

Choosing the right finish is directly connected to the type of metal furniture and the environment. A good finish will be scratch-resistant and rust-resistant and protect the metal from harsh environmental elements.

4. Application Method

Finally, consider the application method to paint your outdoor metal furniture. You can apply paint to your furniture using a brush, roller, or sprayer. However, the method you choose should depend on the furniture’s size, shape, and texture.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is a type of paint that uses oil as its main binder. It is commonly used for painting outdoor metal furniture due to its durability and resistance to weathering.


  • Durable and resistant to weathering
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be applied in multiple layers for a thicker finish
  • Has a glossy finish that stands out


  • Takes longer to dry
  • Strong odor when wet
  • More difficult to clean-up
  • Not environmentally friendly due to high level of VOCs

Water-Based Paint

Water-based paints are a great option for painting outdoor metal furniture. They provide a durable finish that is easy to clean and maintain and more environmentally friendly than oil-based paints.

Water-based paints are available in various colors and finishes, making them suitable for any outdoor metal furniture project.


  • Low VOCs
  • Easy clean-up
  • Quick drying
  • Low odor
  • Eco-friendly


  • Less durable
  • Moderate rust protection
  • Multiple coats needed
  • Adhesion challenges

What Paint Finish Is Best?

High-gloss paint is perfect for outdoor metal furniture as it is incredibly durable and can withstand harsh weather without losing its shine.

High-gloss paint finishes offer a sleek and polished look while providing excellent resistance to moisture, UV radiation, and rust.

With its non-porous surface, a high-gloss finish creates an impermeable layer that prevents moisture from seeping into the metal. This helps to prevent rust, which can weaken the stability and overall structure of the furniture.

High-gloss finishes protect against harmful UV rays that can cause fading and discoloration over time. This makes it ideal for outdoor furniture exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods.

Additionally, high-gloss finishes are easier to clean and maintain. Dirt, stains, and grime are less likely to stick to a high-gloss surface, making it easier to wipe down and keep clean.

The Best Paint and Primer for Outdoor Metal Furniture

Best Paint

Rust is a common issue on metal surfaces exposed to the elements, causing them to lose their durability and protective covering and eventually corrode.

To prevent this from happening, it’s essential to use a high-quality rust-prevention spray paint that provides superior coverage and durability.

Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Rust Prevention Hammered Spray Paint is the ultimate solution for outdoor metal furniture. Its oil-based formula creates a protective, corrosion-resistant barrier that dries to the touch within two to four hours and covers up to 15 sq ft (1.4m²) per can.

It offers superior protection against abrasion, fading, chipping, and rust and imparts a hammered metal finish that minimizes surface imperfections. This modern finish provides a decorative appeal, making it an excellent addition to any outdoor furniture.

Rust-Oleum Stops Rust paint is renowned for being UV resistant, which means it can withstand prolonged exposure to the sun without fading.

The spray paint also features a durable layer that resists peeling, cracking, and chipping, significantly improving the longevity of your outdoor furniture.

Best Primer

Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Rusty Metal Primer is the go-to primer for anyone looking to protect their outdoor metal furniture from harsh weather conditions and corrosion.

Its weather and corrosion-resistant formula bonds tightly to exterior and interior surfaces, providing excellent adhesion for the topcoat.

What makes this primer the best choice for outdoor metal furniture is its oil-based formula that provides a durable protective coating with excellent rust prevention.

Unlike many other primers on the market, Rust-Oleum’s formula is specifically designed to withstand demanding, heavy-use environments, making it an ideal choice for furniture that is often exposed to the elements.

Another great benefit of the primer is its easy use. The primer dries to the touch in just 15 minutes and can cover up to 12 square feet (1.1m²). You can quickly and efficiently coat your outdoor metal furniture to ensure it remains protected and looks great.

In terms of aesthetics, Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Rusty Metal Primer creates a flat finish that can be easily covered with any topcoat. This allows you to customize your furniture’s look while ensuring its long-lasting protection against the elements.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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