Curb Address Painting Done Right

Curb address painting in front of house

You can get everything you need for simple black and white curb address numbers at your local home improvement store for under $30, along with a few things you probably have around the house. There are more complex designs you can do too, and we'll explore some of them as well in this curb number painting tutorial.


Curb Address Painting is Pretty Easy With Just A Little Know-how

If you spend just a few minutes to make it look nice, and you use the right materials, you'll find that it's pretty easy to paint great looking, long lasting curb numbers yourself. In the images below, you can see a curb number I originally painted in May of 2008 ("2041"). Since this was right next door to where I was living at the time, I was able to watch it over a period of years. I watched it, in fact for almost 5 years years just so I could monitor how long curb address painting would last, painted exactly like I describe here in this article.

Here's how it looked the day I painted it:

Upward facing curb number painting done in 2008

...and here's how the same curb number looked after 3 years and 11 months. Still doing it's job. 

Reality check: If anyone tells you they can paint curb address numbers that will last 20 years, ask them how they know that, because it ain't true.

curb number painting after 4 years and 11 months

Supplies for Painting Curb Numbers:

  • One can of Rustoleum brand flat black spray paint. 
  • One can of Rustoleum brand flat white spray paint.
  • 1/2" to 1" wide masking tape.
  • Masking paper or something to prevent overspray.
  • 3" or 4" high numbering stencils.
  • Small brush for touch ups (so your neighbors will like them too)!

I recommend Rustoleum brand flat enamel, which I use for all my non-reflective curb numbers, including the ones in the photos on this page. If you want to take a look at a complete list of the tools I use, check out my recommended products page over at my curb number painting website. I also sell a course on how to build a serious curb painting business on that site. If you sign up for my curb painting email list, I'll send you an ebook that covers a lot of the bases. It doesn't cover everything about building a business, but it will get you started on the right foot.

1. Decide on Your Layout

To start, tape your numbering stencils together lining the stencils up along the edges. If you are using brass stencils, lock your numbers together.

Once your numbering stencils are together in a single piece, you'll have a starting point for the size of your background. Measure the height and the width of the combined numbers.

As a rule of thumb, you can add about 1" - 2" around the numbers for your background. 

Now you know the size of your background.

2. Practice On a Piece of Cardboard

curb address numbers painted on a piece of cardboard.

Before you apply your curb address painting directly to your curb, try painting your numbers on a piece of cardboard, exactly how you want them to appear. This will give you a clear idea of how your final product will look.

This is optional of course, but it only takes a few extra minutes and can save you a do-over if you flub it up. Without practicing, you are likely to have overspray or under spray, which you'll have to touch up. If it's drastic, you may have to paint over everything and start again.

The good news is, you can paint over everything and start again.

3. Prepare The Curb For Paint

Once you locate the spot for your numbers, use a wire brush to knock off the dirt from the curb and brush away the dust. Your painted area should be free from oil, grease and other heavy crud. That's why you use a wire brush. Make sure you clean away the dust too. Paint won't stick to a dusty surface. A soft bristle brush is ideal for the dust.

If you have heavy crud and your wire brush won't clean it off, you may need something like paint thinner to cut through it, or if it's really heavy crud, I use a product called Goof-Off. Just be careful with that stuff. It's pretty heavy duty, but it will clean off the worst stuff.

4. Paint The Background

taping off a background for curb numbers

Mask an area the size that you determined in step 1 of this tutorial using 1 inch (or wider) masking tape. Double check things like placement on the curb, how level it is, and for true right angles at the corners of your mask. It's easy to make it crooked if you're not careful. Don't trust your eyes. Use a measuring device and step back and look at it before you begin.

Make sure the inside edge of your tape is stuck on the curb well. Press it down all the way around. If there are gaps, you'll probably have under spray. Especially if the curb you're painting is rough.

Once you have your background in place, you can tape some old newspaper or masking paper outside your painted area to protect the surrounding area. Then simply apply your background color. If you want white numbers, apply a black background. Use a back and forth motion and lightly cover the entire area, paying attention to the edges and corners.

Continue spraying until you have good coverage. Don't spray it on too thick. Thick paint is more likely to chip off and it won't add life to your curb address painting. Just get good coverage and no more. Rough concrete will require extra paint. Let your background dry for a few minutes until the surface is no longer cool and feels dry to a light touch.

5. Paint the Curb Numbers

Once your background is dry enough to apply tape to it, center your assembled number stencil to the background, and tape it securely on all edges. Mask the remaining background from getting painted.

You can also use a light spray of stencil adhesive to help hold the stencils down and to minimize under spray. If you use stencil adhesive, make sure your background is completely dry before applying your stencils to it. 

  • Paint the numbers carefully using short bursts of paint.
  • Wear rubber gloves and use your fingertips to press the edges of the numbers as you go and that will help to minimize under spray. Once complete, you can remove the stencils immediately and allow the numbers to dry a little before touching up.
  • If there's under spray, spray a little paint into the cap of the paint can and use a small brush to touch up any areas that need it.

Finally, remove all your masking and you will have new curb numbers that should last for years!

Colorful Logos and Other Styles

Colorful designs for curb house numbers include USA map and Texas Map

There are a lot of colorful designs you can imagine for dressing up your curb address painting. Like all the curb number images on this page, I did the above curb styles while I actively operated my handyman business.

In the early days, I painted curbs as a means for getting fast work and making money. I also used curb number painting as a way to introduce my handyman business to the neighborhood. In the process I discovered that curb number painting can make very good money all by itself.

Eventually, I established my handyman business and stopped painting curbs in favor of larger, more lucrative jobs.

I enjoyed curb numbering and loved working that part of my business so much that I dedicated a whole website to curb number painting. I created a business model for painting curbs over two summers when I first got started.

How about that? 🙂 

If you want to check out my dedicated curb painting website, go here

In Conclusion:

Curb address painting is a lot of fun. At the very least, you'll likely have a neighbor or two come out and watch you do your's or ask you to do their's. It happens all the time. It also adds a little curb appeal, especially if you have old and worn out numbers there now. If you're getting ready to sell your house, painting fresh curb numbers can add a fresh feel and final touch.

For sure, you'll never pay anyone to do your curb again.

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