How to Prep & Paint Front Porch Post & Railings

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A new coat of paint on front porch posts and railings can freshen the look of the whole house. Paint the porch white or with an accent color. Before you paint porch posts and railings, take the time to prepare the surface. Proper preparation will help your paint job look better and last longer. While it's tempting to skip this sometimes tedious step, your extra effort will pay off with a professional looking paint job that will increase your home's curb appeal.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap and water
  • Water hose or pressure washer
  • Wire brush or sandpaper
  • Drop cloth or plastic
  • Two-inch and three-inch paintbrushes
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Wash the porch posts and railings with a mild soap and water solution. Rinse with a water hose. You can also use a pressure washer, but keep the pressure low to avoid etching the wood. Stick to a plain hose with older, more delicate wood.

  • Use a wire brush or coarse sandpaper to remove loose flakes of paint and smooth the surface of the posts and railings. This is the most tedious part of the job but probably the most important. Wipe down the wood surface with a clean cloth when you've removed all the loose flakes of paint. Cover the floor of the porch and the surface of the steps with drop cloths or plastic.

  • Apply a coat of primer to the surface. Use a 2- to 3-inch soft-bristled paintbrush. Start at the top and work down, painting in small sections and feathering each new section into the old section while the paint is still wet. On the railings, paint the porch spindles first, then the underside, sides and top of the railing. Use a smaller brush to paint in between posts and railings and on any detail such as carving. Allow the primer to dry.

  • Apply the surface color, using the same technique as for the primer. Don't load the brush with too much paint to avoid dripping. Allow the paint to dry. Apply a second coat of paint if needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a wood/epoxy putty to patch any holes or gouges in the posts or railings.

References

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