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How To Paint Mesh Metal Patio Furniture?

Painting your mesh metal patio furniture is actually pretty straightforward – provided you follow some simple steps to the letter.

To paint mesh metal patio furniture, first brush, and sand, then wash the surface. When it’s dry, apply Rust-Oleum quick-drying spray primer followed by your color choice of Rust-Oleum universal all-surface paint spray. You may need a second or third coat to make your outdoor furniture look like new.

In this article, we’re going to outline these exact steps in greater detail, so you can fully refresh the paint job on your mesh patio furniture pieces…

Can You Paint Mesh Metal Patio Furniture?

Yes, you can paint mesh metal furniture, and it’s a great way to keep it looking newer for longer, or even to give your patio a different look. Good quality mesh metal furniture should last for years; however, the finish can get a little old and tired looking, or could even be getting a bit rusted. Painting it is the perfect solution.

Obviously, mesh is harder to paint than say, a smooth plank of wood, and it looks like a daunting fiddly job. However, there are some great products out there to help you, and we’ll take you through these, and what to do with them, in just a moment.

You’ll need to make sure that any paint you use is suitable for metal and for outdoor use. You might also need to add a can of primer to your shopping cart, depending on what type of paint you choose.

Refresh your outdoor patio cushions at the same time. Take a look at our guide to making your own outdoor cushions, for a great new look that saves a few dollars.

How Do You Prepare Outdoor Metal Mesh Furniture For Painting?

There are a few steps you need to take before painting your metal mesh furniture. You need a smooth, clean surface for painting, otherwise you will end up with an unattractively bumpy texture, or the new paint may simply not stick.

Renovating old metal furniture is an outdoor job, so pick a nice dry day, and choose a corner of your yard where you don’t mind a bit of mess. A drop cloth is a good idea if you want to protect your pavers.

To prep your metal furniture for painting, you will need a wire brush and a range of sandpapers in different levels of grit. Acetone is good for cleaning after you’ve sanded (or you can simply have a bucket of soapy water ready, plus a cloth).

Start by giving the furniture a good scrub with the wire brush. The mesh portions of the furniture are harder to prepare for painting, but the bristles of the brush should fit neatly into the little gaps. The brush is to remove any flaking bits of paint, rusty flakes, and general dirt, dust, and debris before you get sanding.

Next, create a smooth surface for painting using sandpaper. You can use a palm sander on larger areas; however, smaller and more fiddly portions can be easier to hand sand. Start with a rougher grit and work your way towards a smoother gradem, until you’re happy with the finish of the surface.

Give the furniture a good brush down to remove fragments and dust. When it’s brushed, you can wipe it down with acetone or soapy water to make sure it’s extra clean. Leave the furniture to dry thoroughly before getting on with the priming and painting.

What if you want to paint some sections and not others? It could be that the frame is rusty but the mesh is still in good condition, or vice versa. It could even be that you want to create a stylish two-tone effect with different colors on the frame and the mesh.

In that case, when the chair or table is dry, mask off any areas you don’t want to paint. Cover these areas with painter’s tape and newspaper to protect them from any over-enthusiastic spraying.

What’s The Best Paint To Use For Metal Mesh Furniture (Is it Spray Paint?)

Spray paint is by far the easiest way to get a good, even cover on metal mesh furniture. Imagine painting all those fiddly gaps with a brush…

Well-known brand Rust-Oleum has a great range of outdoor spray paints that will give you a fantastic finish, and you can pick these up easily on Amazon or your local hardware store. Their Universal All Surface Spray Paint is suitable for metal furniture, and we love this range of metallic colors.

The best thing about this range, however, is that it is a two-in-one paint and primer. This cuts out a whole stage of the painting process, saving you time and money.

Of course, you don’t have to have a metallic finish (we just liked that one!). Rust-Oleum has spray paints suitable for outdoor use in a range of finishes including satin, gloss, semi-gloss, and textured. As you’d expect from this brand, their paints are designed to protect the surface from rust.

What if your favorite shade requires a primer? Pick up a can of quick-drying spray primer for outdoor use. It may add another stage to the project, but it’s definitely worth doing if you want your paint job to last. Also, if you choose a fast dry product, it won’t delay the project very much at all.

Mesh Metal Patio Furniture

How Do You Paint Steel Mesh Furniture? (Step By Step)

You’ve chosen a paint color and you’re ready to go. Here’s our step-by-step guide to preparing and painting steel mesh furniture, using a spray paint like Rust-Oleum.

  1. Choose a well-ventilated space, ideally outdoors on a dry day. Put down a cloth to protect the floor
  2. Start by brushing the furniture to remove flaky paint, rust, and general debris
  3. You’ll need a smooth, clean surface to paint, so rub-down the furniture with sandpaper. Start with a rougher grit and move onto a smoother grade
  4. Brush the furniture to get rid of the dust, then wash it. Use soapy water or acetone, depending on how dirty it looks
  5. Make sure it’s thoroughly dry
  6. If you don’t want to paint the entire piece, mask off the paint-free areas using painter’s tape and something like newspaper
  7. If you’re using a spray primer, shake it well then apply the first coat (follow the instructions to see how many coats you need)
  8. It’s not always possible to prime or paint the whole piece at once. So, spray as much if the surface as you can reach, leave it to dry, then turn the chair or table over so you can reach the underside
  9. When the primer has dried, it’s time to paint. If you’ve chosen a 2-in-1 primer and paint, you can get straight in there with the painting
  10. Spray the paint as per the manufacturer’s instructions, using long, smooth sprays to get it as even as possible
  11. As we mentioned with the primer, you may need to turn the table or chair over to reach the underneath. As the paint protects from rust as well as making the furniture look nice, it’s important that you cover the whole surface, even the unseen parts
  12. When it’s dry, apply the second coat in the same way
  13. You may even need a third coat, especially if you’re using the 2-in-1 primer and paint option. Just keep an eye on that mesh: you don’t want it becoming clogged up with paint. A light touch on the spray nozzle is needed here
  14. Leave it to dry thoroughly
  15. If you’ve used painter’s tape and papers to mask off an area, gently remove it. Now stand back and admire your handiwork. It’s like a whole new piece of furniture


While easy to do if you follow the steps above, painting your mesh metal patio furniture will still take some elbow grease.

However, like all jobs that are worth doing, this is worth doing well – and the results will be amazing.

So I guess it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get started.

Mark H.

Homeowner and property investor Mark H. aspires to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >