How To Spray Paint Outdoor Light Fixtures

Learn How To Paint Outside Light Fixtures - WIth 7 Easy DIY Steps

Outdoor light fixtures add style and elegance to your home, but if they look faded and weathered they can also detract from your curbside appearance. However, with a little know-how, you can easily spray paint outdoor light fixtures yourself – Giving them and your home a new lease on life.

Do your garage or porch lights look worse for wear?  For just the cost of spray paint, a couple of hours of labor, and following these 7 DIY Steps, you can learn How to restore faded outdoor light fixtures into “like new” condition. 

How to Spray Paint Outdoor Light Fixtures: 

1) Gather your supplies. You will need the following:

  • Spray Paint that is specifically designed for metal and outdoor use
  • Painter’s tape
  • Disposable gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Rag
  • Wire brush, Steel Wool, or Fine Sandpaper 
  • Step Ladder
  • Non-Contact Wire Tester

2) Disconnect the Power

disconnect breaker before removing light fixture
Turn off the correct breaker to disconnect power to outside light fixtures –

The easiest and safest way to disconnect power to your outdoor lights is with a bit of help from a friend or family member.

First, turn on your outside lights, then head to your electrical breaker panel with another person outside watching the outdoor lights. 

Breaker switches are often not marked or mismarked. While on the phone, switch off the most “likely” breaker, one at a time – until the person outside confirms all the lights are turned off. 

Note:  When removing light fixtures, always start by turning off the power to the fixture at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Verify that the power is off using a high-voltage neon circuit tester like this one. Only then is it considered safe to remove the light fixture.


Working with electricity can be dangerous. Follow all safety precautions. If you’re unsure which circuit to deactivate, turn off power to the entire home. Be sure the circuit is  “dead” before touching terminals or wires. Additionally, check that your tester is functioning correctly by trying it safely on a live electrical receptacle/outlet.

3) Remove the Light Fixtures

Removing outside light fixture - Best home gear
Remove Outside Light Fixtures Before Spray Painting –

If you’re asking, “How To Paint an Outdoor Light Fixture without taking it down?

Based on our experience, we highly recommend removing the light fixtures from their mounts before painting them.

The time you save disconnecting the power and removing outdoor lights to paint them will take less time than leaving them up and protecting the house from overspray.

4) Clean the Light Fixtures

If there is any rust, you can use steel wool or very fine sandpaper to remove it. Use a rag and soapy water to clean the light fixtures. Remove any dirt, grease, or rust, and rinse soap off thoroughly for the paint to adhere correctly.

DIY Trick:  Painting Light Fixtures Without Removing Them

If you’re feeling a little more risky, you can try a faster method of painting lights in place;

Spray Painting Outside Lights without removing them.
Painting Exterior Lights without removing them – Courtesy –

Slightly loosen the screws holding the light fixture to the bracket, and make a 1/4″ slot in the bottom of a piece of cardboard—enough to allow you to slide cardboard over and past the electrical wiring.  

Slip the piece of cardboard behind the light fixture, ensuring that none of your siding is exposed, and spray paint light fixtures with them in place.

Note: Use a piece of cardboard at least twice the above size.

5) Apply a Primer

A primer will help the paint to adhere better to the surface of the light fixture. Apply two coats of primer, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat.  Or, buy a spray primer + paint combination – see the FAQ section below for our recommendation.

6) Apply Paint and Clear Coat

Apply two coats of spray paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat. Be sure to apply the paint in even, smooth strokes.

Follow Spray Paint with Spray Clear Coat – See the link in the FAQ section below.

7) Reinstall the Light Fixtures

If you removed the light fixtures, reconnect the electrical wires, reinstall them, and test the electrical connections by turning the breaker back on and powering the outdoor lights.

Outdoor Light Fixture Installed
Refurbished Outdoor Light –

Painting Tips for Outdoor Lights:

  • Choose a spray paint and spray primer designed for metal and outdoor use. This type of paint will be more durable and resistant to the elements.
  • Apply the paint in a well-ventilated area. Spray paint can be harmful to breathe in, so it is important to wear a respirator or mask when painting.
  • Be careful not to overspray. Overspray can get on surrounding surfaces. Use paper and painter’s tape to cover the garage or house if spraying light fixtures without removing them.
  • Applying the primer and paint in light coats is important to avoid runs or drips.
  • Let the paint dry completely before using or reinstalling the light fixtures.

You can easily give your outdoor light fixtures a new look with just a couple of hours of time and effort. So get out there and start spraying!

Here are some Additional Tips for Spray Painting outdoor light fixtures:

  • Choose a day when it is not windy. Wind will blow the paint around and make it difficult to get an even coat.
  • If you are painting a light fixture of multiple pieces, you may want to disassemble it first. This will make it easier to paint all of the surfaces.
  • Once the paint is dry, apply a clear coat to protect it from the elements and, more importantly – Prevent Fading.

DIY Video:  How To Replace Outside Light Fixtures


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Best Spray Paint for Outdoor Light Fixtures?

The best paint for outdoor (metal) light fixtures is a combination of “Paint and Primer” spray called Rust-Oleum “Painters Touch” Gloss Black. After the outdoor light fixtures are dry, we highly recommend following the exterior spray paint with a Clear Finish Spray

A clear finish spray will protect the paint from harmful UV rays, which can quickly fade the newly painted light fixtures.

Should I Remove Outdoor Lights Before Painting?

For the reasons explained in Step 3, we always recommend removing outdoor lights before spray painting. Removing lights will save significant time, such as masking off the siding on your house or cleaning up overspray from paint – if you don’t remove them.


Following these DIY instructions to paint outside light fixtures can save you considerable money vs. buying new ones.

In addition, by using these home maintenance tips, your new “spray-painted outdoor light fixtures” will look fantastic and last for many years.

References & Additional Reading

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carroll
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.

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Image of Kevin Carroll, author and publisher @
Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Owner, Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

As a Professional in Construction, Real Estate and Property Management, Kevin uses that experience to publish Useful Articles, and help homeowners improve (DIY) their own homes, lawns, and outdoor spaces.

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