While a fresh coat of paint is one of the best ways to freshen up the walls in any room in your home, there are many other surfaces around the home that you may not have thought to paint, or may not have been entirely sure how to go about it.

Some of these surfaces include concrete, brick, metal, aluminum, and even plastic. So if you want to bedazzle your basement walls or make your worn aluminum siding a little more alluring, here are some tips on how to go about it.

Keep in mind that the best results for painting are achieved with proper preparation and the selection of the appropriate high quality paint product.


Concrete can be found in and around the home in driveways, walkways, basement walls, and floors. There are two ways to treat concrete, whether it is inside or outside your home, staining and painting.

Deciding whether to stain or paint concrete depends largely upon the current state of the concrete (whether it’s new, old, or previously finished) as well as the look you want to achieve.

Staining concrete porch.

Staining Concrete

Similar to wood stain, concrete stain permeates the surface and provides a long lasting, durable, and decorative finish on interior and exterior concrete and masonry surfaces. The stain permeates the surface and actually bonds with concrete and masonry to form a tough shield that doesn’t fade, peel, or flake like paint.

To extend the life of the stain, consider using a clear stain as a final coat. Stain is inherently more transparent than paint and therefore does not completely cover up the concrete. Paint offers complete coverage and would be considered “opaque”. Concrete stains come in a variety of colors and can create a beautiful custom look to any walkway, patio or indoor floor.

Painting Concrete

Again, the choice here would depend upon the look you want as well as the current state of the concrete. Painting is a good choice if you want to create a more solid look, cover over any imperfections in the concrete or are simply re-painting an already painted concrete surface. An ideal choice of paint for basements is one that offers a waterproof feature as well as mildew resistance.

Whether you choose to stain or paint your concrete, make sure the surface is free from dirt and grease, and it is completely dry.

Using grinder with wire brush to remove rust from metal handrails.


When it’s time to freshen up a metal handrail or fence, you must be vigilant to completely eliminate metal’s #1 enemy—RUST! There are a variety of products available that can help remove rust, but the most simple and effective way to do this is with an old-fashioned, hand-held wire brush or a special wire brush attachment for your drill.

Simply scrub the rust with the wire brush until it is completely gone and then wipe the metal down with mineral spirits. Once you have removed the rust, immediately apply a primer, ideally one that contains a rust inhibitor and then apply a topcoat of high gloss enamel paint.


Many people are surprised to learn that repainting their existing aluminum siding is not only quite easy but certainly more cost effective than replacing it with new siding.

As with all surfaces, the most important step is preparation. In the case of aluminum siding that means completely removing any chalk that has built up over time. This chalky substance is usually fairly easily removed with a standard cleaner or degreaser and then wiped dry. However, in some cases a little more scrubbing is required.

In most cases aluminum siding does not require a primer, however, if the original coating is completely worn down to the metal, prime those areas with a thinned-down oil based primer. Once you have cleaned and primed where necessary, choose a high quality 100% acrylic latex exterior paint with a satin finish. A satin finish best simulates the look of new aluminum siding.

Painting pink plastic flamingo.


Painting plastic is now much more of an option due to new paints made for plastic which adhere to plastic in a way no other consumer paint has before. You can now extend the life of plastic chairs, lawn furniture, and children’s toys; and send less plastic to the landfills.

When painting plastic it is important to consider the current state of the plastic. If it is brand new, the surface needs to be wiped down with paint remover so that the paint will adhere properly. If it is older, simply wiping it clean will suffice.

Apply a thin coat of one of sixteen brilliant colors available, allow to dry for a very short time and then apply again. Applying multiple thin coats of this product will prevent runs and drips.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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