Update an Old Patio Set on a Budget: How to Guide

Old patio set update

I am sharing how to do an old patio set update on a budget.

Eight years ago, three houses ago, when we were at the begining of our relationship we bought a brand new patio set. It was nothing fancy but at that time it was one of the first big things we purchased together.

Over the years, the simple set has rusted over, the grey cushions faded until they were almost white, and there were many times when I wanted to put it on the curb and just call it a day.

But that same set has been the center of so many family barbeques, parties, meals and talks. Friends and family who are no longer around have sat at that set. Our kids have learned to walk from one chair to the next. I am a sentimental fool but the set had to stay.

But it needed an upgrade.

Because it looked cheap and it was covered in rust.

And I deserve pretty things. So do you.

Getting Ready to Update an Old Patio Set on a Budget

This particular set was metal, plastic, glass. You know the one I am talking about because most big retailers sell it and it is usually the least expensive option. By the end of last summer I gave up on taking care of it and just stacked the chairs in the corner of our deck. I figured we would throw them out come this year and start new. But I need a new back door so the patio set is getting salvaged.

update old patio set

update old patio set

When deciding on what kind of paint to choose for our set we got some pretty great help from the Rustoleum Canada team. After a couple of emails, we decided that we first needed to prime the set with Zinsser Cover Stain and then I was going to finish up with Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover in Gloss White. I had every intention of keeping the table glass clear until I got the brilliant idea to change it up a bit.

update old patio set

Priming with Zinsser Cover Stain

When choosing whether to use the traditional primer that you roll/brush on or use an aerosol, I opted for the spray. Mostly because it would be a faster application on the 10 pieces I had to do. Also, dry time was a huge selling point. By the time I finished the first coat on all of the pieces I could flip them over to do the underside. The recommended wait is two hours between re-coats.

update old patio set

Zinsser Cover Stain adheres to all surfaces which was ideal in our situation. I gave the set a good cleaning and also made sure that if there were any high rust areas I gave them a good sand before hand. The primer is made to seal crayon, graffiti, rust, nicotine and smoke stains–I was mostly concerned about the rust and dark collour bleeding through.

Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Paint

I knew I wanted to go the exact opposite of what we already had–bright white. White is versatile and I can easily change the look outside with any coloured accessories. We chose a gloss white for the finish and got it easily with the Double Cover technology of Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Paint. Just like the Zinsser Cover Stain, this particular product is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use and sticks to wood, metal, plastic, wicker and more. After spraying the chairs with the first coat, we made sure to wait a few hours before doing the next coat. We did the underside of our chairs first and then flipped them over to do the top sections although we could easily spray underneath with the can.
update old patio set
It covers surfaces with fewer spray passes, allowing projects to be completed faster and easier. Any angle spray feature allows you to spray in any direction, even upside down. Comfort spray tip with wider finger pad reduces fatigue caused by continuous spraying.

The Patio Table

update old patio set

I did the chairs first because my tarp only had so much space. When it came time to do the table I took the glass top off of the bottom legs. This was as easy as flipping it upside down and unscrewing a few screws. I thanput the legs on the tarp and the table top on an old storage container.

update old patio set

update old patio set

I prepped both pieces by giving them a good clean. I followed the same steps on the table legs as I did the chairs. A coat or two of the Zinsser Cover Stain primer with time to dry in between, followed by a two coats of the Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Paint in gloss white.

update old patio set

I  used the Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Paint to do the initial coat of paint on the UNDERSIDE. By putting the paint on the underside I still get the illusion of a white table top without the possibility of my kids/dog/myself/weather damaging it. After a couple more coats I managed to get the coverage I wanted and once it was completely dry I flipped it over so I could do the plastic sides as well.

update old patio set

update old patio set

update old patio set

I taped off the edges and spray painted the plastic sides of the table as well. I used a paper bag with a piece of wood on it to cover the glass while I sprayed. Once dry I put the table back together and put everything on the deck.

Check out the video below

Final Results

update old patio set

When it comes to the final product, I am so happy with the results. Not only did it meet my expectations of being something I was comfortable using for another season, I think we may be using it for a few more years. We are now waiting for our cushions and umbrella to arrive and I will be doing another post showing you how we are getting ready for Canada’s 150th birthday in a few weeks. See you then!

We ended up using about 8-9 cans of the primer and spray paint each. I think you may be able to use less than us if you have less rust, we just wanted to make sure every nook and cranny was covered well.

update old patio set

Check out Rustoleum’s whole line of products and get some inspiration for your next project on their website (like maybe cleaning and sealing your deck). You can also purchase the Rustoleum line at most major Canadian retailers: Home Depot, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, Lowes, Rona, Wal-Mart.

update an old patio set

This post is in partnership with Rustoleum Canada. All opinions and hard work were done by us.
Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. AD
    June 10, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    It looks great! A good way to refresh an old set…

  2. CalviN F.
    June 10, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    Renewed! Very nice guide. Mine needs a little refresh.

  3. Lynda Cook
    June 11, 2017 / 2:17 am

    Great job, looks like a brand new set!!

  4. Treen Goodwin
    June 11, 2017 / 9:28 am

    Wow looks amazing , love how it turned out , looks brand new , Great Job πŸ™‚

  5. kathy downey
    June 11, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    You did a fantastic job,it looks great !

  6. Laurie P
    June 11, 2017 / 3:48 pm

    Well done, it looks fantastic! I love being able to keep using furniture by giving it an updated look!

  7. Angela September
    June 12, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    wow it looks brand new!

  8. June 13, 2017 / 11:54 am

    what a great makeover! way cheaper than just buying new.

  9. kristen visser
    June 13, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    oh my god I LOVE IT!!!!! Awesome job girl. so clever. What a difference it makes and you dont even need much to make it happen

  10. Darren Scrubb
    June 14, 2017 / 9:53 am

    Great information I will keep when I am ready to arrange my first patio set.

  11. Corry L.
    June 14, 2017 / 7:13 pm

    Great way to make your old patio furniture look new again! Thanks for the tips!

  12. Alla
    June 14, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    Very nice, did not have an idea that a patio set could look this good after renovating it. Thanks for the idea

  13. Kim Tanti
    June 14, 2017 / 10:45 pm

    It looks so much nicer. So many people fill up the dump and waist money on a new set instead of a little work. Great job.

  14. June 15, 2017 / 5:18 am

    I love your site.

  15. LisaM
    June 15, 2017 / 7:38 pm

    Nice job – I really like the idea of painting the underside of the table! How clever.

  16. Carole D
    June 15, 2017 / 10:01 pm

    Looks beautiful! You did an awesome job and it doesn’t look too hard!

  17. Kristi F
    June 17, 2017 / 8:44 pm

    I had never though of repainting an old patio set. I love that you did this!

  18. Angela Jones
    June 19, 2017 / 8:51 am

    Wow, brilliant! I’m excited to go find an old set from a garage sale or something to update like this!

  19. LeslieC
    June 19, 2017 / 11:17 am

    I wish I was more crafty, especially since I live on such a tight budget!!

  20. Christine Holliday
    June 22, 2017 / 3:30 am

    Looking great….I have a similar set.

  21. Nate
    June 23, 2017 / 11:50 pm

    I need to update my backyard

  22. Debbie White Beattie
    June 24, 2017 / 4:45 am

    Wow, Your furniture looks beautiful and now it’s got a new lease on life but I will say I probably wouldn’t have painted the glass top but I might have frosted it

  23. Elizabeth Matthiesen
    June 24, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    What a difference a bit of paint makes eh? A super job, it all looks brand new now. πŸ™‚

  24. Sharon
    June 24, 2017 / 11:43 pm

    I hadn’t thought of painting the table top too,I’ll keep that idea in mind

  25. Shirleyp
    June 25, 2017 / 10:45 am

    wow!!! great job and idea

  26. Nate
    June 26, 2017 / 11:36 pm

    very nice job on the charis

  27. Elizabeth Matthiesen
    July 2, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    I, for one, would be very disappointed if you only used these for one season. They look so good now I’m sure you could get several more years out of them, that’s the reward for all your hard work sprucing them up. πŸ™‚

  28. Ronald Gagnon
    July 4, 2017 / 10:47 pm

    You make such a beautiful renovation so simple…and it is wonderful because the set has been the center of so many family barbeques, parties, meals and talks. Friends and family who are no longer around have sat at that set

  29. kathy downey
    August 11, 2017 / 10:35 am

    wow,i just can’t believe how good they look,just like new!

  30. Tiesha
    August 24, 2017 / 10:14 am

    Nice job! I love when people re-use and improve what they already have!

  31. loucheryl
    December 11, 2017 / 8:53 pm

    I have done this! It turned out amazing. My hubby was going to throw out our old patio set but I told him that I wanted to try and save it. I spray painted it and it looked brand new!

  32. kathy downey
    May 16, 2018 / 2:04 pm

    We are going to give this a try with an old set my sister has,you done such a great job!

  33. kathy
    June 2, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    The weather is still too cold to get outside,calling for a bit of snow tonight

  34. Cheryl Grandy
    May 2, 2019 / 7:18 pm

    Your patio furniture looks great! I’ll have to remember your idea of painting the bottom side of the glass table top – so smart!

  35. Heather Swanson
    November 25, 2021 / 7:44 am

    can’t wait for spring