Painting Outside. Yay or Nay.


phone operatorA lot of people have contacted me and asked:

“Can you use Annie Sloan chalk paint outside?”

{OK.. So no one has actually contacted me about that – but this is my blog and I often take poetic license and make things up}.   But you have to admit, it is a great question.

So, can you use ASCP outside?  It’s funny you ask because I have, in fact, used ASCP outdoors to both my deepest joy and darkest despair. Indulge me a moment while I give you some background info.  Step into my life for a moment, won’t you ….

I live in a neighborhood with a … let’s say … ‘zealous’ Homeowners Association.  The main objective of a HOA is to suck every ounce of joy associated with home ownership from you. If you read their monthly newsletter, you will be reminded that they are relatively successful at this.

Rules

I have a house.  And that house has a doorstep.  A dark grey cement doorstep, that screamed for help a few years ago.  Having a social work background I quickly realized that I could ‘rescue’ that little cement doorstep and breath new life into it.  Plus, I laugh in the face of HOA’s.  Rules schmules.

Before doorstep

Bring it on.

Why I decided to spend time painting a step is quite beyond me.  The most obvious rationale  would be to blame my childhood.  I lived on a street, similar to this one, until I was seven years old.  I didn’t grew up in the Victorian era; but in Bradford, Yorkshire – it felt as though I had.  Ah, good times… I remember our street having some color to it, but that may be just nostalgic thinking on my part.

"A man's house is his castle"
“A man’s house is his castle”

We were poor.  We were all poor; so poor that  every house had an outside loo.  We had to walk through a passageway to get to the toilet.  And then we’d go pee-pee with the door open, so that we could still talk to our friends who were going pee-pee in the next toilet.  Why bring this up? Well – even though everyone was poor, there was still that strong feeling of pride when it came to the home.  Most of the families rented,  but pride was pride and a house was always a home.       As a young child, I vividly remember the mothers/housewives going out to whiten their doorsteps.  Two crisp white lines on the edge of the step was a good indication that you were ‘house proud’.  You cared about your home and your family, and subsequently, you cared about what the neighbors thought of you.

Did you see that state of her door step??
Did you see that state of her door step??

So maybe that’s why I decided to paint my doorstep.   But maybe not.

So back to my front doorstep.

The first step was prep work.  Boring boring prep work.  Hate it.  It took me a long time to pressure wash that sucker; because once I’d cleaned the step then I realized that the driveway needed doing, and then the sidewalk in front of the house.  Duh.  Once it was clean and dry,  I chalked out a pattern with a coaster as a template.  Then I painstakingly painted the pattern with Annie Sloan Olive and Old White chalk paint.  It was amazeballs.  I loved that doorstep.  I remember thinking that people will probably drive from miles around just to look at my doorstep.  The HOA would love me (and completely forget about my overgrown grass).  I even painted the rocking chair and Hello sign in Emile ASCP.   A job well job.

Yes, I'm THAT good.
Yes, I’m THAT good.

Nothing was going to spoil my front doorstep.  Nothing.  The value that I had added to the our home was immeasurable.  My husband said he was lost to put a value on my work. (I’m choosing to take that as a compliment).  And, to make sure that nothing would happen to it, I applied a few coats of Annie Sloan lacquer – to preserve it for eternity.

Big Mistake.  Do.  Not.  Do.  That.

{Don’t make me have to repeat that. Seriously}

Do. Not. Do. That.

When I bought the lacquer (about 2 years ago), there was nothing on the label to say that it was NOT for outdoor use.

In all fairness, it did look rather lovely – for a while.  It was all new and fresh, and gleaming white  (think  ‘Donny Osmond teeth’ white ).

  Indeed, it was A DOORSTEP TO BE PROUD OF.

After a few months, it changed.  It started to look as though the neighborhood dogs had been sent by the HOA  to congregate on my door step and pee on it.  In unison.  For a long time.  My beautiful doorstep had developed a beautiful ‘dog pee patina’.  All yellow and stuff; very authentic looking.

Learning the hard way can be heartbreaking, for the ‘often emotionally unstable’  (that’s me).

When the trauma had worn off some, I decided to take things into my own hands again. Simple brushing with a cleaner and water, didn’t cut it.   It would not budge!  I tried peeling it off with my fingernails, with a paint scraper, with a razor blade.   Eventually I had to revert to a pressure washer. It took me two days to pressure wash the chalk paint and lacquer off my step.  (Now truth be told, I did have to stop every now and again to take a nap, or have a glass of wine and munchies, but it took a long time I will not lie).  I did take photos of it, but I can’t find them.  (Worlds Worse Blogger).

So the answer to your question can you use Annie Sloan Chalk paint outside:

Yes! and No!  

If you want to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint outside.  Do it.  Go crazy, it’s beautiful paint.  It stays put (in my case, whether you want it to or not!)  The lacquer has staying power like you wouldn’t believe, but it will go ‘dog pee’ yellow if you use it outside.

So – don’t use lacquer.  Lacquer is for inside.  Not outside.  Inside.

When I gained mobility back in my legs, and my will to live reappeared.  I decided to repaint the step again.  LAST TIME.  I live in Oregon.  It rains.  A LOT.  I wanted to be able to use a top coat to protect the paint.    I researched paint and came up with General Finishes Exterior Paint. It’s been about six months now, and it’s still nice and fresh.  These are the colors that I used (Driftwood/Snow White/Coastal Blue with this top coat.   No ‘dog pee patina’.  Just as I like it.  I was able to still keep my ASCP rocking chair and sign (I didn’t put lacquer on these).  It’s a compromise of the best of both worlds.

Front door
As it is today.

So here it is.  My doorstep.  You may be able to judge me on a lot of things, but when it comes to my doorstep – I honestly don’t think you can say a bad word about it (or me).

And I have yet to hear from the HOA.

 

{insert catchy ending here}

Diane aka The Paint Factory

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45 thoughts on “Painting Outside. Yay or Nay.

  • Avatar
    September 7, 2014 at 8:07 am
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    Too funny! I like the second version better anyway, and lessons learned that you can use to help spare others the hardship of a pee’d on look outside! I am super new to the paint world, haven’t even painted yet, just accumulating some junk to paint.. I will follow your blog and look forward to learning more from you, in your wonderfully humorous writing style! 🙂 (and from what I’ve seen of your painting, awesomeness!)

    Reply
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    February 21, 2015 at 1:07 am
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    Hi, I am in the UK (not far from Bradford) and it rains, a lot you might remember! Anyhow, we have a caravan and I want to put some wicker furniture on the decking. My quandary is how to prevent it from rotting and becoming soggy. I know I can paint it with AS chalk paints and intend to do this, but is there a way of giving it some kind of protection, other than covering it everytime it clouds over.? Having read your blog regarding your doorstep (hilarious) I would rather avoid laquer , I don’t quite fancy the peed on look either. Love your site and blog and look forward to hearing from you hopefully. Pam

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    • Diane
      February 21, 2015 at 9:17 am
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      If you don’t want to use a clear top coat on the wicker, I would probably skip the chalk paint. I think in a dry climate the wicker would be fine, but I know that they only dry thing in Yorkshire is the humor.
      Why not just spray the wicker? There’s some great spray paint (like Krylon) that would be perfect for wicker.
      Besides, the ‘peed’ look is so 2014 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    April 16, 2015 at 9:51 am
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    Love your story… you are a writer extraordinaire as well! I think you are great Diane!

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    April 17, 2015 at 8:24 pm
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    You had me laughing right from the start! I have admired your painting on the Annie Sloan Q & A forum on FB, I had no idea your talent extending to writing as well! Thanks for great information and a good laugh! By the way that Emile rocker is awesome!

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    • Diane
      April 17, 2015 at 8:41 pm
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      Glad you found me, Kathy! It’s just drivel, really 🙂

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  • Avatar
    October 23, 2015 at 5:55 am
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    Hi! It looks great! How is the door paint holding up? Did you sand or anything first?

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    • Diane
      October 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm
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      Just a very light sanding. Still like new, although we’re having to replace all of the siding in the new year – so I may just get a new door!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    October 28, 2015 at 11:52 pm
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    Hi I live in Australia I just painted a metal sign that I intend to hang on a outdoor fence area with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint I’ve let it cure for many weeks and I HAVE NOT waxed it. Lol.
    Is it ok to put out in the weather?
    Many thanks Donna

    Reply
    • Diane
      October 30, 2015 at 9:51 pm
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      You can use ASCP outside. It will naturally weather, but that’s what we like! Good call on the waxing. You can also burnish the paint, by using a super fine sandpaper over it (the type you use for car paint jobs). But I’ve had several things outside (I painted my cement bird feeder a few years ago, and that’s still holding up).

      Reply
  • Avatar
    February 5, 2016 at 8:44 am
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    I love all of this! I have been contemplating painting my door a navy blue and love the color you used. Your blog says that you used general finishes white/coastal blue. Does this mean you mixed white in with the blue? If so, what was the ratio?

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    • Diane
      February 5, 2016 at 7:04 pm
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      No, I didn’t mix them Jessica. Just straight Coastal Blue on the door. Good luck!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    February 24, 2016 at 6:01 pm
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    One year later…how’s the porch look? Do you need to ever reapply top coat?

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    • Diane
      February 25, 2016 at 12:15 pm
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      Still holding up! I’m going to be redoing it ONLY because I’m having new siding installed and we’re changing the color of the house.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    August 3, 2016 at 7:20 pm
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    Can you tell me what paint you used on the front door? I think it’s the second photo…the dark blue. I love it! And your step looks awesome!

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    August 3, 2016 at 7:33 pm
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    I LOVE the blue door and the step! I found the colors you used via the links (I couldn’t get the color one to work at first) but I was wondering is your door wood or metal? I have a metal front door and I’m wondering if this will work on it.

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    • Diane
      August 3, 2016 at 9:14 pm
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      My door was wood, a cheap nasty wood. We’ve replaced it now, so I’ve just repainted the door step! I’m sure if you use the right type of primer, you won’t have any trouble with it. Good luck!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 11, 2017 at 10:15 am
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    Hi Diane thank you for your little nugget of wisdom, I’m doing research on chalk paint as I want to repaint my dining table hence the waterproof investigation, the end result needs to stand up to every day use, cleaning and accidental spills. Any suggestions?

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    • Diane
      January 19, 2017 at 8:13 am
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      All chalk paint will need to be sealed, especially in a high-use area. Try the topcoats from General Finishes, they are really good!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    February 18, 2017 at 3:51 am
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    Hi I wanted to paint a Mandala design on my out door deck, it has no roof and we live in the tropics in Australia. But after reading your funny post I’m thinking that Anne’s chalk paint won’t be any good, as I will need to seal the deck to protect against weather. Maybe i need to find some flat white outdoor paint. I enjoyed your blog. Thanks Tracy

    Reply
    • Diane
      February 18, 2017 at 10:38 am
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      Can you get General Finishes there? I’ve used it on my step and it’s still looking good. Good luck!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    April 5, 2017 at 4:40 am
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    Thank you for the great advice and making me LAUGH! I laughed so hard that had I been on your doorstep when I read it, I would have left my OWN patina! Thanks again for making me day… Have a blessed one!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    May 20, 2017 at 7:20 am
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    Hi!! So you painted your rocker. Did you coat it with wax, lacquer, or a top coat of any kind??

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    • Diane
      May 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm
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      I burnished it with 1500 sandpaper (you can buy it at an auto store).

      Reply
  • Avatar
    June 11, 2017 at 9:12 am
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    Hi, I’m from Pacifica, California (two blocks from the ocean). We just built a structure out of old windows and doors. I’d like to paint it AS Old White. I know you can’t use the wax outside. I’d like to know how you think this will hold up? We don’t get a lot of rain (although this winter we did). We have sunshine and sometimes fog that brings some moisture. I’m not worried about it looking perfect but I don’t want it to chip off either.

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    • Diane
      June 13, 2017 at 5:53 pm
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      Oh, lucky you!! The ASCP will obviously fade overtime, but I think I would just leave it as-is, and bypass the sealer. Often nature gives you the best results!

      Reply
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    June 24, 2017 at 5:53 am
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    Reading a bit of humor is a fantastic way to start my day. In addition, you answered many of my questions regarding my next project: painting my front concrete patio. Clean, paint, and General Finish Sealer. I ASCP everything; inside and out. It may be the next ‘Wonder of the World’. It transforms my blah into wow!

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    July 12, 2017 at 5:28 pm
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    I live in Phoenix Az. UGH-110+ degrees and direct sunlight hits the door during the afternoon. Do you think ASCP would work on my door? If it does, should I seal it? What do you suggest.

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    • Diane
      July 13, 2017 at 8:11 am
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      You could use it, I’d probably seal it with an exterior clear coat though.

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  • Avatar
    March 26, 2018 at 8:35 pm
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    Do you mean you cannot use the white wax on an outside table? I have a lovely heavy table and chairs that need a beachy look and was going to use white wax?

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    • Diane
      March 29, 2018 at 6:52 pm
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      Yes, that’s correct. You can’t wax anything outside. It will just blister 🙁 You could do a white wash over the table though, that would work. OR – you could do a white wash over the table and chairs and then seal them with an exterior clear topcoat.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    April 18, 2018 at 1:42 pm
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    I have an old church pew I want to paint to put under our covered porch. If I chalk paint it what type of sealer should I use on it. We do have high humidity in our area and it can get rain under the porch

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    • Diane
      April 18, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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      Hi Theresa, I like General Finishes Exterior 450. It’s water based. And I happen to love the company 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    June 4, 2018 at 1:13 pm
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    I have that ugly 70’s giraffe look lava rock, brownish reddish with ugly gray grout, on part of the exterior of my house. Any advice on how to update it, possibly into the neutral color palette, grays or anything earthy? Love your blog!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 28, 2018 at 5:52 pm
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    Glad to see you are still replying to your original post. I am thinking about painting my wood front door (with beautiful carved inlays). I don’t share the love the preivous owners had for the violet red color on our door. I have only dabbled in the world of ASCP, collecting more colors than applying them. Our door is western facing and I know wax is a no-no for exterior. There is no storm door. After researching options I was thinking of using ASCP Aubusson with General Finishes 450 and a glaze to show off the carvings. Will that work? Thanks.

    Reply
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    August 19, 2018 at 8:40 am
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    I WANT TO USE OLD WHITE ANNIE SLOAN PAINT ON OUTSIDE ALUMINUM CHAIRS, ( I HAVE SANDPLASTED THE SPRAY PAINT THAT WAS ON IT OFF) .. SHOULD ANYTHING BE DONE TO THE CHAIRS NOW BEFORE PAINTING? THEY ARE IN FOUTH FLORIDA WHERE IT IS HOT AND HUMID …BUT THEY WILL BE ON COVERED PATIO..DO I NEED TO SEAL?

    Reply
    • Diane
      August 19, 2018 at 9:39 am
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      I think it depends on what final finish you’re going for. If the chairs are covered, you don’t technically need to seal them. The white paint will eventually yellow to some degree (most white paints end up yellowing with time), it the chalk paint isn’t sealed it will eventually fade and wear away. Waxing is a No, for outdoors. You can use a polycrylic as a top coat. You could also use a white paint with a built-in sealer (I like Pure & Original). Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    August 29, 2018 at 7:49 pm
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    Diane, you saved me from making a terrible mistake. I created my own Annie Sloan plum color for an outdoor chest that I just painted for my covered patio. It looks beautiful but I almost started waxing it a little while ago! Thank God I just happened to see your blog about outdoor waxing: “WAXING is a NO FOR OUTDOORS!” Thank you so much for your wonderfully entertaining and informative post.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    May 19, 2019 at 11:13 am
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    What a wonderful blog to discover late on a Sunday afternoon! I have just a doorstep to paint, which was once the typical hideous rusty red you see on British doorsteps! I have painted my front door dark grey, and through the miracles of YouTube and elbow grease, I have restored the brass door furniture from black to its original brass., I have a tin of Charcoal chalk paint (not ASCP,) and I am going to give it a go. Given that we live in the English seaside (Hastings), I will seal it once the paint is dry. Funny you grew up in England, and now live in Oregon,…I still live here (UK) but my family are all in Oregon!

    Reply
    • Diane
      May 29, 2019 at 10:49 am
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      I used to live in Maidstone, Kent – so I know the area well!!

      Reply

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