Outdoor metal patio chairs tend to rust after a couple of years and start to look old and dreary. The best way for a homeowner to protect the chairs and make them look good again is to resurface and paint them. You'll need three pieces of equipment to do the job: an air compressor, a sandblaster, and a spray paint gun. You can rent all three pieces at a building and hardware supply store. Here is how you can make your rusted metal patio chairs look new again.
Make sure you are wearing safety glasses, ear protection, breathing masks, and a plastic jumpsuit when using the sandblaster and spray gun. If you don't have a plastic jumpsuit, buy an inexpensive plastic rain coat and pants combination suit from a dollar store to protect your clothes while sandblasting and painting.
Fabricate Work Room
You will be generating a lot of dust and paint in the air while restoring the chairs. You should do the work in an enclosed area to contain the dust and paint to a limited area. If you don't already have a work room, you can attach sheets of plastic to the joist beams in a garage or basement. The sheets should go from the beams all the way down to the floor. You should make the room so it has four plastic walls and is big enough to work on several chairs at a time.
The first thing you want to do is remove the rust and old paint from the chairs. The easiest way to do this is by sandblasting the rust and old paint off of the chairs. The sandblaster works by using an air compressor, pressure pot, and spray nozzle. The air compressor is connected to the pressure pot. The pressure pot holds the sand you are going to use. As the air pressure from the compressor builds up in the pot, it will force the sand out of the spray nozzle. Fill up the pressure pot with fine grain sand and turn on the air compressor. Set the pressure from the air compressor according to the manufacturer's direction on the pressure pot. Shoot the sand onto the chairs in a swaying motion until all the rust and paint on them gets sprayed away.
Apply Primer & Paint
Connect the air compressor to the paint spray gun when you are done sandblasting. The spray gun will have a container attached to it that can hold the primer and the paint. You will apply a coat of primer first. The primer protects the metal and helps to keep it from rusting quickly. Pour the primer into the container. Set the pressure on the air compressor according to the manufacturer's directions for the spray paint gun.
Hold the spray paint gun about a foot away from the chairs and spray across the width of the chairs in an even motion. When you finish the first row of primer, move down to the bottom half of the row so the next row your spray paint will overlap the first row a little bit. Spray the second row of primer onto the chairs. Repeat the process until the chairs has been covered with primer.
Remove the container and pour the excess primer back into its original can. Thoroughly rinse and clean out the container. Now, fill up the container with spray paint. Spray the paint onto some newspaper until the paint runs clear and all the primer has been removed from the nozzle of the spray gun. Paint the chairs in the same manner that you sprayed the primer onto them. Wait until the paint on the chairs dries before you take it out of your make-shift plastic-walled room and put it on your patio. Sandblast and paint any other chairs the same way you did the first ones.
Check out a local home improvement store to learn more about air compressor rentals.