Can Chalk Paint Be Used On Outside Furniture – Will It Last?

outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture gets to witness its fair share of wear and tear thanks to the relentlessly bright sun in the summer, and icy cold gushes in the winter. And when you add heavy rainfall to this equation, you are left with furniture pieces that look a far cry from when they were freshly painted.

Fortunately, DIYers have several paint options to renew shabby-looking furniture, and chalk paint is a popular choice among them. It doesn’t require prep work and can be applied directly to any surface, making many wonder, ‘Can chalk paint be used on outside furniture?’

The answer is: Yes! Chalk paint is suitable for outdoor furniture, whether wood, plastic, or metal. You only need to remember to add a sealer on top of the final paint layer to make it weather-resistant and durable.

Chalk paint delivers a unique texture that’s aesthetically pleasing, but if it’s not applied and sealed correctly, the paint finish can deteriorate quickly over time. I will discuss how you can achieve lasting results with chalk paint and make your outdoor furniture as good as new.

Can You Use Chalk Paint On Outdoor Furniture?

Chalk paint is an excellent choice for painting furniture because of the clean and modern finish it delivers. But the paint is water-resistant and not waterproof; therefore, you must be careful about where and how to use it.

Generally, indoor furniture is exposed to occasional spills and water splashes from time to time. For this reason, waterproof paint isn’t really a priority when selecting a suitable paint for the job.

However, it’s not the same with furniture pieces that remain outdoors. Here you need a paint formula that dries to a waterproof finish and keeps your outdoor furniture safe from rain, snow, wind, and the sun.

Chalk paint has water-resistant qualities, so it will not wash off when it comes into contact with water. But if you want to use it on outdoor furniture, applying a sealer on top is a must. You can read more about ‘Is chalk paint waterproof’ to figure out where to use it outdoors.

Expert Advice: Chalk paint is best suited to small furniture pieces, so avoid using it on large surfaces like the outdoor patio or gazebo.

How To Apply Chalk Paint To Outdoor Furniture

Chalk paint is a favorite among DIYers because it requires practically no prep work or primer. Since it can be applied directly to the object you want to paint, that significantly reduces the time it takes to complete the paint job.

That being said, I prefer to do some prep work before applying chalk paint to my furniture. That is because a little TLC makes the final result look crisp and smooth and makes the color vibrancy last longer.

Here is my take on using chalk paint on outdoor surfaces.

Step 1- Clean the Surface

It’s crucial to start your paint application with a clean surface. This helps ensure the paint goes on smoothly, without any dust or debris getting stuck underneath its layer. Also, I prefer to remove the previous color from the furniture to avoid problems of flaking paint.

For this step, the pressure washer can be your ultimate friend. It not only removes the dust off the furniture quickly and thoroughly but also partially removes the previous color stain.

After cleaning with a pressure cleaner, you can finish with a professional heavy-duty cleaner used prior to painting any surface.

Don’t try to save time on this step because any grime or dirt left behind is sure to find its way back up, resulting in peeling paint on those spots.

Step 2- Apply the Chalk Paint

Make sure to give your paint a good shake before you begin in case you’re using a spray can. Apply one thin layer of chalk paint to the object and wait for it to dry.

As the paint dries down, you will notice cracks and other imperfections in the surface becoming more pronounced. Now is a good time to repair and fill these gaps with a wood filler.

Allow the filler some time to dry before sanding the surface for a smooth finish. Now, apply two more thin layers of chalk paint to complete this step. Remember to give each coat ample time to dry.

Step 3- Seal the Deal with a Top Coat

This is crucial, especially when getting your furniture ready for outdoor use.

After your final chalk paint layer has dried, apply one to two layers of top coat to protect and seal it. This will help make the surface waterproof and withstand rain, snow, and other environmental pressures.

Also make sure that you check out our blog on “Is chalk paint waterproof?” to get a clear answer to this question that might have popped up in your mind.

Best Chalk Paint for Outdoor Furniture

Everyone loves the farmhouse-chic appeal of chalk paint, and when you combine that with quick-drying properties, we have a winner! However several chalk paint options are available in the market, but only some deliver good results.

To save you the trouble of searching for the best chalk paint for outdoor furniture, here are my top picks for the job:

Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Chalked Paint

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The Rust-Oleum chalk paint is a highly versatile option that covers various surfaces like wood, metal, canvas, ceramic, etc. It is perfect for a quick touch-up since it dries in just 30 minutes, but if you want a more professional finish, I’d recommend you wait up to 2 hours before applying another coat.

The paint is effortless to apply and dries down to a contemporary, ultra-matte finish with rustic aesthetics. Another thing I love about the Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint is the exciting variety of colors available, for example, blush pink, coastal blue, serenity blue, etc.

It also comes as a matte clear top coat which is ideal for waterproofing your outdoor furniture.

KILZ Chalk Style Paint

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Here is another great option for chalk paint. The KILZ Chalk Paint is perfect for renovating and upcycling your outdoor furniture. It can be used on different surfaces like wood, cast stone, glass, wicker, metal, concrete, etc. Because of its versatility, you can use it on different objects to create a customized look.

The KILZ Chalky Paint is available in 13 colors, so you have plenty of options. Whether you’re looking for a subtle and neutral shade or a bright, eccentric hue, you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy.

Krylon Chalky Finish Spray Paint

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Krylon is a name you can trust when it comes to excellent color payoff and durability. The Krylon chalk paint is flexible enough to be used on wicker, plastic, vinyl, metal, and other surfaces. Since it is available in aerosol form, it can be sprayed onto furniture quickly and with minimum fuss.

Apart from several practical colors, it is also available in ‘Wax coating,’ which can be used to seal the chalk paint and increase its life.

Chalk paint is a popular choice among homeowners but whether or not it’s an ideal choice for outdoor furniture is debatable.

Here is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of using chalk paint outdoors.

No preparation requiredPricier than other paint finishes
No primer neededToo many visible brush strokes
Less time consumingUsing a sealer on top is necessary
Easy to clean up
Quick drying

Advantages of Applying Chalk Paint

1.      No prep work Required

In most cases, prepping your surface is necessary for a good finish. From cleaning the furniture to removing the old paint, sanding, and repairing gaps, you need to spend considerable time getting your surface ready for paint.

However, chalk paint is more forgiving when it comes to application. This is the reason why you can skip the prep work but still achieve a decent finish.

2.      No need for a primer.

While topping off the chalk paint finish with a clear coat is essential, there’s no need to apply primer to the surface before you begin. This helps cut down your painting time that would otherwise be spent on primer application. Another benefit of skipping primer is that your paint job’s total budget decreases as you no longer need to purchase the primer.

3.      Perfect for quick paint jobs

Since there’s no prep work required for chalk paint application, you can start and complete a project on short notice without compromising on its quality. Whether you have to repaint your outdoor furniture on short notice or need just a few quick touch-ups, chalk paint is an excellent option that delivers quick results.

Another perk of chalk paint is its quick drying time compared to other paint finishes. Although the actual drying time can vary based on humidity, the application process, etc., most people vouch that chalk paint doesn’t take too long to dry.

4.      Easy Clean-up

If you’re new to painting furniture, chalk paint is perfect because it is extremely easy to clean. From accidental spills to washing paint brushes, the clean-up is quick and effortless. Also, as a beginner, you have a high chance of getting paint on your hair and clothes, but not to worry because we have you covered! Here is a useful article about removing paint from skin and hair.

Disadvantages of Applying Chalk Paint

1.      More Expensive

Chalk paints are comparatively more expensive than latex paints. This can be a problem if you’re on a tight budget or have several pieces of furniture to color simultaneously.

2.      Too many brush marks

A common problem that many DIYers have observed is that it’s not easy to get a smooth finish with chalk paint. Since the paint dries to an ultra-matte finish, brush marks appear more prominent than in other paint finishes.

A quick way to tackle this issue is using a sprayer or aerosol chalk paint.

3.      You Cannot Skip the Sealer

Sealing the deal is a crucial step that decides the success of your paint job. When you’re painting furniture for outdoors, you cannot skip the sealer application, or else the paint will weather away quickly. This added cost can be avoided if you use a two-in-one paint.

How to Seal Chalk Paint for Outdoor Use?

Sealing the chalk paint finish is necessary if you want to protect it from moisture. Although the paint’s formula has water-resistant properties, it’s not enough for the exposure it will get outdoors. This is why it’s best to apply a sealer after the final layer of chalk paint has dried down completely.

Depending on the surface you’re applying the sealer to, here are a few solid options you can try:

  • Wax
  • Lacquer
  • Polyurethane
  • Varnish
  • Wood glaze

Remember that the final chalk paint layer should be fully cured before you apply the sealer. If you seal the paint too quickly and the solvent hasn’t fully evaporated from the surface, it will get trapped between the two layers.

The solvent will prevent both finishes from drying, leaving behind a sticky paint film.


Can I use chalk paint on exterior door?

Yes, you can color your exterior door with chalk paint as long as you apply a layer of sealer on top to protect it from rain.

Can Rust-Oleum chalk paint be used outside?

Rust-Oleum chalk paint can be used outdoors on surfaces such as wood, ceramic, wicker, metal, etc. The paint’s formula has water-resistant properties, which makes it a good choice for furniture. However, it’s best to add another protective layer of sealer to make the finish waterproof for the outdoors.

Can chalk paint be used on metal?

Chalk paint has a highly versatile formula that can be applied to various surfaces, including metal. Remember to clean any rust from the metal before you layer on the paint for the best results.

Is chalk paint permanent?

Chalk paint is permanent on any surface, from wood and metal to wicker. So, if you get any paint on your rugs or floor by accident, you should try to clean it with soap and water while it is still wet.


Chalk paint is an exciting alternative to regular semi-gloss paint that’s usually used to color furniture. It has an aesthetically pleasing texture that instantly gives your home a modern look. But if you’re concerned about the durability of chalk paint, you can expect it to last for 3 to 5 years when sealed correctly.

So the next time you want to color your outdoor furniture, don’t hesitate to reach out for chalk paint in the paint store.

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