man touching up paint on outdoor patio chair frame
Photo: Matthew Septimus

Step 13: Frame Touch-Up

The time to touch up nicks and scratches on the frame is after the old straps or slings have been removed and before the new ones go on. The method to use depends on the type of metal to be painted. For aluminum, rough up the surface slightly with 100-grit sandpaper, then smooth with 220-grit paper. There's no need to prime—just apply an exterior-grade acrylic enamel paint. Use a tiny touch-up brush on nicks, a spray can on bigger scratches.

For wrought iron on tubular steel, use a wire brush and sandpaper to sand any rust spots or chipped paint down to bare metal. Next, brush or spray on a metal primer, then apply an exterior enamel topcoat. (A coat of rust converter such as Rust Reformer stabilizes rust without sanding, but a rough, crusty look will remain.)

When a painted frame is covered with scratches or caked with rust, it's probably time for a professional overhaul. Factory-authorized refinisheers like The Chair Care Co. will sandblast and repaint furniture with a tough, powder-coated finish that will last 15 years or more. "The pieces come out looking brand-new," says owner Steven Gentino. The full-body treatment—blasting, repainting, welding, repairing straps, slings, or cushions, and replacing fasteners—runs about $120 for a typical chair. That's still only one third to half the cost of buying new.

Once paint is dry:
• Continue fabric sling replacement
• Continue vinyl strap replacement
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    Tools List

    • utility knife
      Utility knife

    • to remove damaged sling
    • 100-foot tape measure
      Flexible tape measure
    • bar clamp
      Rubber mallet
    • mallet
      Wire cutter
    • wire cable snips

    • to pop out pegs and clips

    Shopping List

    1. Replacement sling or single-wrap vinyl straps

    2. Pegs
    for vinyl strap installation

    3. Metal furniture paint
    for touch-ups or repainting