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.


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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