The temptation for homeowners to create a uniform or at least complimentary look to their homes starts by painting the exterior.
However, the utility box in the backyard is often left out simply because most people do not want to get near it if at all possible.
But for those who do want to paint their utility boxes, I have enlisted seven rules you should follow to maximize both your personal safety and the results that you will receive.
1- Check What You Can Paint
Most of the utility boxes are made of metal or vinyl, installed in the garage or a backyard.
Before you start, its important to check what you can paint and what you shouldn’t.
According to utility companies, these boxes may comprise of:
a) Gas Flow Meter:
It includes a meter to measure volume of fuel consumed – it can be painted
Some of these meters may have a plastic cover which should be masked and not painted.
b) Energy Meter Box:
Generally, it includes a meter socket made of glass to measure the amount of consumed electricity in the house – it should NOT be painted.
c) Networking Device:
This vinyl made box usually connects to the telephone network in your house – it can be painted with acrylic paint
d) Cable Boxes and Wires
This outdoor electrical box made of vinyl hides all your connecting wires and thick cables – it can also be painted using acrylic paints
2- Check Your Local Building Codes
Before you make any plans about painting your utility box, it is also important to first check to see if you can through the local building codes.
In most cities and counties, painting the utility box may not be a problem.
However, you also many find that certain restrictions apply or that you cannot paint them at all.
It’s best to find out with your local utility companies before you spend any money on paint or worse, have to remove the paint or pay a fine.
This is particularly true if you live in multifamily housing governed by a condo or coop board.
3- Check Box Enclosure
Another item to check is what materials are allowed to enclose the box.
An enclosure may be a better alternative to painting the box itself.
This is because if it can be enclosed, then you can paint the enclosure first and attach to the outside of the box.
Keep in mind that the enclosure must allow full access to the electrical box.
Again, check with the building codes about the materials that may be used to enclose a utility box.
4- Select the Paint
If an enclosure is not possible, but you can paint the utility box, then you will need to choose a paint that is designed for outdoor use.
You will also need to know the material the box is made from which is usually metal or vinyl and then select the proper type of paint.
5- Mask Meters and Electrical Connections
Wipe the box clean using a dry cloth. Be sure that all dirt and debris is fully removed.
Then, mask the connections and meter with tape and plastic first.
This will help lower the risk of accidental fire if the paint comes into contact with the electricity.
Be sure to wipe the surface first, but do not use flammable liquids such as alcohol or mineral spirits.
6- Apply the Paint
Now you are ready to paint the utility box.
Start by applying a coat of primer designed for rust prevention.
You can add a second coat of primer or use latex or oil-based exterior grade paint that matches the trim or house.
Keep in mind that with oil-based paint you should not have any paint solvents nearby.
In addition, avoid panting the inside of the box apart from the lid itself.
This means avoiding the fuses, circuit breaker switches, and housings.
7- Let Dry & Inspect
Let the paint dry and then examine it afterwards to see if you need to do any touchups.
Once completed, the painted utility box on the outside of your house should blend in perfectly with your home.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls. He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.