How to Paint Outdoor Carpet (With Latex Paint!)

My porch looked like this at the start of this project:

Yes, the carpet was in better shape. It was a few days ago that I had spilled an oil-based stain.

It was only a few days ago that I spray-painted furniture.

Overall, the condition was not bad. A strategically placed rug could cover up the stains.

It was a shame to throw away a floor that worked perfectly well because I didn’t like the color.

Flooring is also expensive. The cost to replace the carpet would have been around $200.

So I thought. Could I change color of the rug? There were two choices for me, either painting or dying. The “right” solution to changing the color of the carpet was to dye it. However, since I could not remove the carpet and wash the dye away, I worried that I would be unable to do so.

The carpet would bleed every single time it rained. My other option was to paint the carpet, but this would stiffen/firm it in a way which could be uncomfortable.

I decided to paint the carpet. The carpet was an outdoor flat weave carpet that wasn’t soft at all. I thought a firmer carpet would not be a big loss. This gamble paid off and I was very pleased with the results:

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Some general notes about painting carpet

  1. This is going to take a lot more paint. Initially, I believed a gallon of paint would be sufficient. I was terribly, incredibly wrong. I used 4 gallons for my porch that measures 12′ x 18. Paint soaks into carpet like crazy.
  2. The carpet I was painting looked very thin. It’s a “flat weave” outdoor rug, but I’m not sure. The carpet was different from traditional indoor carpeting. There were no soft fibers.

    You’d need a lot of paint. It’s probably better to replace it. B) The paint will stick the fibers all together, making it hard and weird.

    The paint did firm up my carpet, but the difference wasn’t very noticeable.
  3. It is hard to choose colors. The carpet absorbs the paint. Paint does not cover the carpet; it absorbs it. This is why the paint cannot lighten the carpet. You can only make the carpet darker.

    The paint also tints the original color of the carpet. As a result, it doesn’t appear to be the color you bought. It’s not likely that you will be able get the exact color you want.

    In my situation, I was aiming for a dark greyish/blackish/more neutral color, and wasn’t too picky about what I got, as long as it wasn’t green anymore.

Paint Outdoor Carpet with Latex Paint!

  • Latex Exterior Paint– Since the claims of “superior adhesion”, “one-coat”, and “one-coat-only” didn’t seem to apply here, I chose Valspar “Season-Flex”, available at Lowes. The color is “Carbonized”, which is a dark gray. You can see from the photos that it looks black on my green carpet.
  • Water
  • Spray Bottle
  • General Painting Supplies– Roller, tray, paintbrush, etc
Step 0: Vacuum Carpet

The carpet was a mess, but it would have been better if I hadn’t had so much stuff on it. If you don’t vacuum the carpet, it is possible that small particles will get stuck to your paint. This is not desirable!

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

I diluted the paint before painting to ensure that it would penetrate the carpet and not only stiffen the top. I would love to tell you that I added x cups of paint per gallon but I did not do anything so scientific.

I poured some paint into the tray, then added some water (about 1/4 mug) and mixed it about half-heartedly. I probably added different amounts of water each time. The variation did not seem to make a difference.

Step 2: Spray Water

I slowly worked my way around the room, working in sections of 2′ x2′. I started by spraying water with a bottle. If you are able to use a power sprayer or hose, this could be much more efficient.

Water helps prepare the carpet before painting. The water helps prepare the carpet for the paint.

Step 3: Apply Paint

I used a roller to apply the paint on the square. I used a paint roller to apply the paint to the square section. I decided to apply multiple coats of paint to ensure that the carpet was evenly covered.

To avoid accidentally painting the house siding or the screens on the porch, I used a brush to paint any edges.

Step 4: Reverse the steps 1 – 3.

I filled my paint tray up at an alarming rate. I actually spent more time filling it with paint than I did painting.

The first coat is half-way done!

The gallon I bought was not enough to cover the entire project. This is what one gallon of paint actually covered…I ended up using 4 gallons.

Lowes had a paint sale, so despite the large amount of paint needed, this project was still relatively inexpensive.First Coat

You can see from the photo above that the carpet had a very blotchy finish to the first coat. This problem was solved by applying another coat of paint using the same procedure.After Second Coat

After the second coat, there were fewer blotches on the carpet. There were still some uneven spots so…

Step 5: Touch Up Any Uneven Spots

Although I could have applied a third layer, it seemed to be more work and cost when there were just a few greenish spots. Instead, I used a paintbrush to add paint wherever I saw green. This was enough to give my porch a uniform look!

Final Photos

This project was a great experience. It was a big project for me. I was a little nervous at first. (Who paints carpet??). It turned out great.

The paint did not cover the white spray-painted stain. Two photos below show it quite clearly.

I was going to lay a rug in that area of the seating anyway, so I pulled out an old one that my mother had given me. She says it’s a rug for the exterior, but I doubt it.

It looks great against the dark gray carpet. It looks much better now that the carpet is grey. I’m so glad I painted the carpet.

You can see that my cat also sneaked out when I was dragging the rug. I can assure you that exploring the porch was her highlight of the week.

The dark gray carpet is the perfect foundation for my porch. I can’t wait to see it finished! You can follow me on Pinterest to see the final result! In the meantime you can save it to Pinterest and find it later!

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