How to Paint a Front Porch in 4 Actionable Steps

Painting your front porch is easier than you might think. Maybe the wood is showing signs of weathering. Maybe you just want to spruce it up with a new color. Whatever the reason, you can confidently and successfully paint it by yourself. We’ve put together a step by step guide to ensure your newly painted porch looks beautiful for years to come.

Follow these four steps to paint your front porch:

  1. Prep
  2. Prime
  3. Paint
  4. Seal (if applicable) Collage of a persons hand painting with front porch of a blue house on the background, How to Paint a Front Porch in 4 Actionable Steps

The exact details and breakdown of each step will depend heavily on the current material and finish of your porch. Keep reading to make sure you know how to deal with wood and concrete surfaces as well as the different components of the porch (steps, railings, columns, and floor).

Supplies

Before you get started, review the list of needed supplies below:

Materials

  • Paint/Seal/Stain remover
  • Quality exterior primer 
  • Quality exterior paint (made for porches/floors)
  • 80 grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge
  • Concrete sealant (if applicable)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wood putty
  • Caulk (if applicable)

Tools

  • Orbital sander (optional)
  • Mask
  • Gloves
  • Paint rollers (large and small)
  • Paint tray
  • Paintbrushes (various sizes)
  • Rags for cleaning up spills
  • Bucket of water for wetting and rinsing cloths and cleaning tools
  • Cardboard to set your paint cans on

Step One: Prep

You’ll want to move all furniture or other items from the porch before starting.

Remove Existing Finish 

If your porch has already been painted, sealed, or stained, you will need to use a stain and seal remover to remove the old finish. If you notice any uneven spots, ridges, or lifted grain in the deck boards, you’ll need to sand it down with 80 grit sandpaper. An orbital sander works best for this. 

This exterior wood stain stripper will remove the old stain on your porch.

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Clean and Tape

Next, you’ll need to sweep any dirt or dust off of all surfaces. Hint: A leaf blower is great for doing this quickly and getting in the cracks between the deck boards. Once you’ve done your initial sweep, we recommend a good hose down to ensure you get rid of all dirt or debris. It’s imperative to make sure all surfaces are spotless before painting. Wood is porous, so make sure you give ample time to allow it to dry out before priming. We recommend 48-72 hours to be safe, especially if humidity is high.

What if I Have a Concrete Porch?

If you have a concrete porch, you’ll need to clean it with a scrub brush and a mixture of water and concrete cleaning chemicals. While you can use a pressure washer to do this, it is not necessary. 

This concrete cleaner can be used without the need for a pressure washer. It needs to be diluted with water before applying to the surface and scrubbing with a bristle brush. After cleaning, you’ll need to rinse with water three times to ensure all chemicals have been removed before painting. Be sure to wear rubber gloves, a mask, and boots while using and follow all of the manufacturer’s safety instructions.

Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Next, make sure to protect any surfaces that you don’t want to get paint on using painter’s tape, such as places where you might be using different colors and where your porch meets your house.

Step Two: Prime

Make sure to use an exterior primer on your porch. You can apply it with a roller attached to an extension pole to save your back. A paintbrush is handy for getting into the tight spaces and cracks between boards. If you’re priming concrete, make sure to purchase primer specifically meant for concrete. Take your time and make sure you get all of the nooks and crannies. The primer is what will help the paint to adhere to the surface.

Allow your first coat to dry completely for as long as the manufacturer recommends before applying a second coat.

Step Three: Paint

You can’t just use ordinary exterior paint. You have to use a paint that is made for exterior porches or floors since it will hold up better to constant foot traffic. As with the primer, make sure you choose an appropriate paint for the material (wood or concrete). Start with the railings and columns first, so you don’t have to wait for the floor and steps to dry before working on them. Use two coats of paint for each component. 

How to Paint the Railings

The railings may be one of the most tedious parts of painting a porch, but you’ll want to take the time to be sure it’s done right. The last thing you’ll want to see when you pull up to your house in a year is peeling paint on your railings. This task involves a little more prep work. 

Since it will be harder to strip the old finish using chemicals, you may need to scrape and sand all of the individual spindles. You may also need to use wood putty to patch any holes you find. Once you’ve done that and cleaned away all dust, use an angled paintbrush or a 4″ foam roller to prime and paint each spindle as well as the posts, and top and bottom rails. 

We found this great instructional video for how to prep and paint porch railings on Youtube.

How to Paint the Columns

Similar to the railings, you may have to scrape and sand a bit more on the columns, depending on the style you have. Again, use wood putty where necessary. If you have wrapped columns, you will need to apply caulk to any seams where the wood boards butt into each other before painting to keep water out. Other than that, this task is easily accomplished with a standard roller and a brush.

How to Paint the Floor

Start by getting into the corners, in between the floorboards, and tight spaces with a brush since this will be easier before you cover the floor with paint. Then, start at one end of the floor with an extension pole and a roller. Pull it towards you, so you don’t step on wet paint. Apply the paint evenly to finish your first coat. Once the first coat is dry, use the same method to apply the second coat. If you notice any gaps between your house and the porch where water could penetrate, be sure to use caulk before painting.

How to Paint the Steps

Painting the steps will require a bit more brushwork, but the process is otherwise identical to painting the floor. Start with a brush to get between the treads of the steps, around and underneath the railings, and the sides of the stringers (vertical pieces on the outsides of the steps). Then use a roller to paint the treads and risers. 

Step Four: Seal (If Applicable)

If you have a concrete porch, you will need to apply a coat of sealant after your last paint coat is completely dry. This will protect the paint from water and sun damage. This step is not necessary for wood porches.

In Summary

If you have the time and desire to learn how to do it correctly, painting your front porch can be a fun and rewarding weekend project. The biggest take away is to do an amazing prep job. This will make all of your hard work worth it for years to come. If you don’t think you’re up to the task, you can always hire painters for between $2-$6 per square foot of painting area, according to HomeAdvisor.com.

If you enjoyed this article, you might find these other related articles interesting:

What Is the Best Flooring for a Porch?

How Can I Make My Porch Look Nice? [12 Actionable Tips]

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