Curb Appealing Street Numbers
Painting your house number on your curb
The house numbers that
had been spray painted on the rounded part
of the curb at the street level of our
driveway were no longer legible. They
were just faded areas of chipping black and
white paint. I did not get any
'before' photos of our numbers. But they
looked similar to the photo to the right.
Periodically street/house number painters
come around and offer to paint new numbers
on the curb for $20 -30.
Fading curb number paint
With their cheap spray paint and
stencils they do nothing more than mask out a
rectangle and spray the background and then the
numbers. They do little in the way of
preparing the surface properly. Within a year, the
paint is coming off, showing the previous paint job
If you live in a fancy gated community or some other
housing with a home owners association, you may want
to check with them before you take on a similar
project. They may have regulations on the
colors and size of the numbers.
Why even bother with curb numbers? Heck, if I
call 911, I want the fire department or ambulance to
find my home. Wouldn't you?
I do have big 6 inch black numbers smack dab in the
front of my house on a light background. Not
that the anyone actually 'sees' them. In this
area of El Paso, where every house is different....
every house has their house number in a different
place, with different sizes, colors, and there are
some houses with no numbers at all. It is like
looking for a specific tree in a forest.
The painted curb numbers, on the other hand, provide "some"
For this simple project, I did not want to go to the
hardware store and buy anything. I decided to
use only the supplies and materials I had on-hand.
Stencil - Make Your Own
You can find the stencils for numbers easily
on-line or at the hardware store. Most
are made of cardboard and are not reusable.
You are also left with extra numbers you
have no use for.
I wanted my stencil to be reusable. In
3-5 years I want to be able to whip out the
stencil and re-paint the numbers quickly on
My numbers traced on polyester based
then cut out with an Exacto knife. (After
I used a polyester based drafting
material I had on-hand to make my stencil. You
can find a similar material at most hobby or craft
shops. Just ask for the material to make
You will want a sheet large enough so you have
enough area around the numbers to help prevent over
spray. You can also place newspaper around the
With any computer graphics program or even a program
like Word, you can make your house numbers.
You can make them the size you want and space the
numbers so they are easy to read.
The numbers should be at least 4 inches high so they
can be read from a distance. No fancy type
faces! No italics!. Just simple bold
numbers. Remember, you want the ambulance to
find your house.
Print out your numbers, trace them onto your stencil
material, and then cut the numbers out.
Your stencil is now ready.
the Curb Surface
If you have old paint on the curb, you
want to get rid of as much of it as you can
To do this, I used my variable speed hand
drill and a 3M Paint & Rust Stripper.
You just insert the stripper into your
drill. It helps to have a variable
speed drill to keep the stripper from
chewing up your concrete.
You want a speed that is only high enough to
lightly remove the paint on the surface not
the concrete. Use two hands to control
the kick back. Use the side of the circle
for better control, not the front.
Wear a dust mask. Glasses to protect
your eyes if the concrete is in bad shape.
You probably won't get all of the paint off
without destroying the concrete. That
is OK. Just make sure your new paint will
cover this area.
How long does this take? With this
stripper, a few minutes.
What is you don't have a hand drill or the
3M stripper? You can use regular old
sand paper. 60 or 100 grit should do
it. You will not get as much paint off
with this method unless you do it for a
Sweep off the dust and wipe or hose the area
down with water to remove all of the dust.
When the area is dry, you are ready to mask
off your background area.
3M Paint and Rust Stripper
Old paint stripped off curb
Mask off the
On the clean dry surface, mask off the
background area for your numbers.
There should be at least 1 inch around the
edges of your numbers. More is OK and
may be necessary to cover up some old paint.
I decided to make a small corner detail by
covering each corner with tape.
Background paint area masked out on curb
If you want to get this job over
quickly.... use spray paint or if you are
using a brush-on paint, then latex.
I had concrete paint, which works fine until
the paint surface breaks in an area.
Then it peels off.
I needed something tougher.
The one thing I have noticed over the years,
on concrete that has drops of paint on it,
is how oil based paint is difficult to
remove after it has dried.
So as an experiment, I am going to paint the
background with an oil-based wood primer
which happens to be white. I already
had a can of Sherwin Williams Exterior
Oil-Based Wood Primer on-hand. I will
see if this lasts any longer than spray
I painted the first coat. Then a
second coat about 6 hours later when the
first coat was dry to the touch.
Sherwin Williams Exterior Oil-Based
Then I let it dry for a couple of
days. I was not in a rush to finish this
And because this is El Paso, where people cannot
leave well enough alone. Someone ran over the
white paint with their bike. Wiped it off
easily with a wet rag. Then the next day a car
tire print on one. Wiped it off again.
I decided to spray paint the numbers.
I had a can of BBQ black Rust-oleum High
Heat. I figured, in the hot El Paso sun,
my curb was a good candidate for a high heat
I placed the stencil over the white
background centering it. I then taped
it down. On my left hand I wore a
plastic glove. With my right hand, I
sprayed using my gloved hand to hold the
stencil flush on the curb around the number
I did have a little over-spray, which I
touched up with a small brush and white
Rust-oleum High Heat Spray
painted street number on curb, August 2016
Let's see how long this paint job
I will add photos to this page as the years pass to
see if the type of paint I used lasts any longer
than cheap spray paint.