Ten Steps for Painting House Numbers on a Curb or Sidewalk
We love well-crafted, good-quality numbers in beautiful fonts! This includes a set of house numbers at the curb, or sidewalk to greet your guests. As a visitor, it's helpful to know that you've arrived at the right place! Why not start your curb appeal right at the curb? We'll show you how.
Palm Springs curb stencil decal
Personalize your curb appeal
We love when homeowners put care and attention into displaying their address. This small detail makes a big impact. New house numbers are especially fun when you can personalize them to match your style and aesthetic. To make navigation easier for emergency responders, parcel carriers, and visitors, it's important to have your address displayed clearly on the exterior of your home where it's easy to find.
Palm Springs address numbers, and matching curb stencil
A great addition that is always helpful is to have your house number painted on the curb or sidewalk in front of your home. Some cities or HOAs might even require it. Whether it’s necessary or not, it’s a good idea, and a wonderful opportunity to express your style. Painting numbers on a curb or sidewalk is pretty simple; especially if you have a stencil!
Palm Springs curb stencil decal applied to a sidewalk
We've created our own curb stencil decals to make it as easy as possible to add your numbers to your curb or sidewalk and do it in style! Select your favorite font from our website and our team will lay out your numbers and stencil cut them from a single peel-and stick vinyl sheet. This allows you to add numbers in a stylish font to your curb, and eliminate the hassle of using individual number stencils that are difficult to properly space and level. Our curb stencil decals are helpful, affordable, and unique!
Here's how to use stencil to add address numbers to your curb or sidewalk:
It’s always best practice to clean a surface before painting it. Your curb or sidewalk can get especially dirty. Years of dust, grime, dirt, and loose concrete build up make it tough for paint to stick. You don’t want to paint on top of any kind of dirt or debris. You'll risk the paint peeling up. Even for brand new concrete, give it a cleaning. It is good to use a wire brush or stiff bristle and put some elbow grease into it. A clean surface allows the paint to adhere better and last longer. For best results, allow the curb or sidewalk dry before applying any tape, stencil or paint.
2. Create a Background
If you want a painted background behind your numbers, you'll have to paint that first. You don't need a background for this project, but you'll want one especially if you're painting over older or worn numbers. A freshly painted background gives you a clean start and is great for creating contrast which is helpful for visibility.
Before you begin, you’ll need to know the height and width of your house number stencil. If you're using one of our curb stencil decals, it's very easy to measure. If you're using individual stencils, don't forget to calculate the width of each number and add in the space between each digit. Use 2" painters tape to mark off your background area. Line up your curb stencil decal inside the designated area to ensure you have enough room. If possible, we recommend you leave at least one inch of space between the bottom of your numbers and the edge of the background section. You don't want the numbers too close to the edges.
3. Measure for Precision
Measuring is essential in ensuring your background and curb address numbers aren't crooked or out of alignment. If it's crooked, it will bug you every time you look at it! Make sure to measure your background diagonally, corner to corner. The two diagonal measurements should be the same. If they’re not equal, your background area is uneven. Our curb stencil decals remove a lot of the hassle and guesswork. Our team lays out your curb stencil decal to make sure they are level, and have the perfect spacing. Confirm the curb stencil decal is centered and level within the background area. If using individual stencils, you'll need to make sure each one is level to the background edges, and then to each adjacent number.
4. Utilize Masking Paper or Newspaper
Now’s the time to rejoice over hoarding all those newspapers in the garage. If you don't get the newspaper, a roll of painters masking paper - available at any home improvement or paint store - will do the trick nicely. The goal is to use enough masking paper to avoid any overspray, and to keep the paint only in the designated background area. You will repeat this step when it's time to paint the address numbers, to mask around the curb stencil.
5. Select Paint Colors
You'll want to select two spray paint colors: one for the background and a second contrasting color for the address numbers. Contrast between the two makes your address more legible. Many people like a white background, and orange, blue, green, or black paint for the address numbers. Other popular color combinations are an orange background with white numbers, or a black background with white numbers.
If you're not going with a background on the curb, then only one paint color is necessary. Pick a color that will make you smile, and one that is dark enough to be easy for visitors to read.
6. Spray Paint the Background
Spray painting is most successful in calm, dry weather conditions. Because you're outside, don't take on this project if it's windy, or if there is rain or snow in the forecast. Follow the instructions on the paint can, and apply several light coats to avoid drips.
Apply as many light coats as needed for an opaque background. Consider wearing a respirator mask if you want to be on the safe side and avoid paint fumes. Allow the paint to dry completely before moving to the next step. If you remove the tape or apply the curb stencil decal too soon, you risk the paint you just applied peeling up during the final steps, and you might have to begin again from the start. You may be excited to finish this project, but trust us, you'll be happy that you allowed extra time for the paint to dry.
7. Apply the Curb Stencil
Once the base coat of paint is completely dry, center your curb stencil on the background. You can use some tape to tack in place while you use a level to check that the numbers and the background are aligned.
Then double check that the stencil is centered. You can do this by measuring from the top, bottom and both sides. Once you're happy with the placement, lightly mark the curb at each corner of the stencil with a pencil. Our curb stencil is intended for a single use. Mocking it up before you apply it to the surface is important.
Example of MHN vinyl curb stencil decal
With our vinyl curb stencil decal, the next step is as easy as peel-and-stick! First, remove the stencil backing to reveal the sticky side of the vinyl decal. Then slowly, using the pencil marks you made, align two corners of the curb stencil decal, and adhere the decal applying even pressure starting from the top to the bottom, or left to right. Try to minimize and eliminate air bubbles. Rub firmly over the entire stencil surface to ensure the stencil is fully adhered. Use your fingers to press on the edges of all the numbers to confirm the edges are firmly adhered. This will help limit bleeding under the stencil.
Removing the top protective film
Once the stencil is level, and firmly adhered, you can slowly remove the top protective film and expose the stencil. Be very careful not to lift any of the edges of the vinyl stencil as you do. Once the protective top layer is removed, rub the edges around the numbers a final time. Then you are ready to tape and mask around the stencil, and apply the spray paint.
8. Spray Paint the Numbers
Time for the fun part! You may want to wear rubber gloves for this. If you skip the gloves, your fingers and hands could get covered in spray paint. First, mask off the stencil using your roll of masking paper and painters tape. Mask sufficiently to avoid overspray on the background that you just painted, and on surrounding surfaces. Apply several light coats to avoid drips and bleeding.
Spray painting the curb stencil decal
You will apply light coats of spray paint over the entire address area. Allow coats to dry slightly before applying the next coat. This will help cut down on bleeding and running. Apply enough coats of your chosen color to achieve the brightness and opaqueness you desire. When you're happy, it's time to leave it alone to dry.
9. Leave the Material Until Completely Dry
Don’t be quick to remove the paper, tape or stencil. You'll get the best results if wait until all the paint is completely dry. When you are sure the paint is dry, you can remove the stencil.
Painted curb stencil decal
10. Touch up
Missed a few spots? Do some areas look barer than the rest? Spray a little bit of your paint into a container and use a small artist's brush to touch up edges or spots you may have missed.
Curb stencil decal project complete
There is nothing better than clean numbers that pop. At Modern House Numbers, we love allowing home and business owners to custom-create numbers and letters that will inevitably enhance their curb appeal while displaying an address clearly and visibly. Check out our gallery to get a glimpse of the type of work we do, and then let us know if we can help you create some stylish house numbers for you.
rick mclain, author
Rick is a licensed architect at repp mclain design & construction. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona and an MS from the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). When he’s not designing and fabricating he enjoys spending time with Brandy, Jack, Avery & Taylor and restoring his grandfather’s Ford pickup truck.
You can learn more about Rick on the Repp McLain Website, on LinkedIn, at the AIA Website, or on Facebook.
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