How To Paint House Numbers On A Sidewalk Curb

This article covers simple black house numbers on a white background or white house numbers on a black background.

Concrete Preparation For Curb Address Numbers

Use a wire brush to knock off everything from dust and dirt to surface grease and grime. A stiff wire brush can begin to wear away the surface of the curb with some effort. That may be a good thing if there’s road grime. A fresh surface will hold paint better. Don’t try to dig too deep, just remove the surface crud.

Use a soft bristled scrub brush to finish preparing the surface to remove any dust that remains. Newer curbs won’t require much preparation and may appear clean but you should still use the wire brush/scrub brush combination to get your curb ready for paint.

Mask The Curb Where You Want Your House Numbers Painted

Using 2″ masking tape, create your background area. Since I recommend and use Cole brand numbering stencils (made by The Hillman Group), I know that a 3″ high numbering stencil is 2-3/4″ wide. If you are painting a curb number that has 4 digits, the total amount of space you’ll need left to right is 11″. I always add an inch to each side so the numbers don’t appear crowded within the background. So the width of the background for a 4-digit curb number is 13″

The bottom of the background looks best at about 1″ off of the street surface, so I run a piece of tape to create the bottom of the background. 3″ Cole numbering stencils are 5″ tall, and after trial and error have found that a 5″ tall background works very well. Run a piece of tape 5″ above the bottom edge piece.

Your background should be formed now. Stand back and make sure your placement is right where you want it and everything appears nice and square. Measure your background on one side, then the other to help ensure it’s squareness.

You can tape some old newspapers outside the taped area to prevent over spray.

Paint The Background Of Your Curb Number

There are a multitude of different kinds of paint available, but the reality of curb numbers is this: If you can get them to last about 5 years, you’ve done very well. There are permanent paints available that claim to last over a decade, but you will need a spray rig to use them and the final paint job will still begin to flake apart after about 5 years anyway. You can also buy pavement striping paint. It really does last a long time… but again, you’ll either need to brush it on or get a spray rig and the thickness of striping paint requires lots of drying time between coats.

The best, most reasonable paint to use for painting address numbers on a curb is Rustoleum Flat Protective Enamel. You can buy it pretty much anywhere, it’s inexpensive, it lasts a long time and it comes in a spray can. Be sure and use “flat” paint. You can paint the background white or black and use the other color for the numbers. Follow label instructions for general use and paint the taped off background.

Prepare Numbering Stencils And Secure Them To The Background

Lay your stencils on a flat surface facing up in the correct order you want them, lining them up at the top and at the bottom. Butt the stencils together at the sides. Tape the stencils together using 3/4″ masking tape. Extra tape beyond the stencils will help you tape the unit into position.

You can tape your stencils into place after just a few short minutes or until the background feels dry to the touch and tape will stick to it.

From top to bottom, the stencils should fit nearly perfect into your background. From side to side, you can easily find the center of the background for placement. Once you have your stencils in position, run a strip of tape all the way around your numbers, making sure your background is completely covered up from getting sprayed.

Paint Your Address Numbers

You may want to wear rubber gloves because as you spray the numbers, you can (and should) press down the stencils as you go to avoid as much under spray as possible. Curbs are rough and under spray is a common issue. Take your time and do a good job. It only takes about 1 minute to spray 4 numbers carefully. Use short bursts and hold the can about 5-8 inches away from the stencils for the best results.

Carefully Remove The Numbering Stencils And Mask

Once you finish painting the numbers, you can begin to remove each layer of masking until everything has been removed. Your curb number is basically done. Once everything has been removed, you can touch up the background or the numbers by spraying a little bit of paint into the cap of the spray paint and using a hobby brush to touch it up. You’ll need paint thinner and a rag to clean your brush.

Now you’re done!

In my experience (and I’ve painted a lot of curbs) address numbers painted this way will last between 5 and 7 years. In my handyman blog, I have a couple of photos of a curb I painted right after I did it, then again 4 years later. See how curb numbering looks after 4 years here.

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14 Comments

  • Amy

    Reply Reply November 26, 2012

    i spray a clear spray paint over the top of them after they dry. I don’t think its called antyhing special. But I have washed them and they don’t bleed off nor do they fade.

  • admin

    Reply Reply November 26, 2012

    Hi Amy!

    In my Curb Number Pro System Ebook, I recommend a clear coat on top of the numbers. The clear coat adds at least a year or two of life to the clarity of your curb number and it can be applied at the end of your job in a matter of seconds. Great suggestion!

  • tn pas cher

    Reply Reply November 27, 2012

    Very good.Thank you very much

  • Kerry Morris

    Reply Reply June 3, 2013

    Hey Phil,
    I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and I’ve NEVER seen anyone with a painted curb. I grew up in the south where it was pretty common. How do I find out if its legal here? I”ve called police departments and they don’t even know what I’m talking about! I’m ordering your system but wanted to ask you this first. Have a great day!

    • admin

      Reply Reply June 3, 2013

      Hey Kerry, The Curb Number Pro System encourages getting a soicitor’s permit so you can go door to door without any hassles. It’s a bit of cheap insurance, actually. You can get a solicitor’s permit from your city or county clerk’s office. Google [your city] + “clerk” to find your local office. Give them a call and tell them you’d like to get a permit to offer curb number painting in your city. They will give you every bit of information you need to know about what you can and can’t do in your area. Hope that helps!

  • Mary

    Reply Reply July 19, 2013

    Hi..my son and I want to paint curbs this summer for fun and $ for him! I am confident about the painting, but wonder easiest way to ask and do collection? Most sites say around $25 a curb, what is your suggestion for central CA? Thanks and also thanks for making it so clear!

  • Jarmes

    Reply Reply May 7, 2014

    Hi, I had my curb painted with specific designs by someone going door to door but some of the colors are wrong. I can’t find anywhere on the internet that says what kind of BRUSH ON paint you can use. It is all spray paint and stencils. What kind of CANNED paint can I use?

    • Phil

      Reply Reply May 7, 2014

      Hey jarmes, All you need is a small amount, I am assuming. Testor’s makes a great set of enamel paints. You can mix them and create an almost unlimited number of colors. Here’s an Amazon link: Testors Promotional Enamel Paint Set

  • Thank you.

  • Jet Tilton

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Phil,
    I am starting up a curb address business and I’ve been told to use white reflective paint. What’s your opinion on this? I see so many houses with addresses that you cannot see at night, so I know the business is out there!
    Thanks
    jet

  • Linda Burns

    Reply Reply June 12, 2015

    Where do I get the stencils I can use over and over that do not cost to much?

    • Aaron

      Reply Reply July 20, 2017

      Shower pan liner stencils.

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