How can I tell if it's paint or stain on deck railings?

1dahlia4meNovember 7, 2011

Bought a rather neglected house last fall and we're restaining the deck now. Stained the floor of the deck a natural color, but we cannot figure out what's on the railings. The professional painter who painted the inside of the house didn't know. I took a sample of a peeled-off bit into Sherwin-Williams and the guy there wasn't sure but thought stain, and said either way, stain it. DH doesn't believe me, thinks it's paint, went and talked to another Sherwin-Williams person, and came home with paint, lol. How can I tell once and for all?

Whatever it is IS peeling in some sections -- sometimes just the pain/stain but often a thin layer of wood WITH the pain/stain. DH thinks it's paint because there are some signs of it bubbling.

I'm planning to sand off the peeling and chipped parts, wash it with a bleach solution if necessary, and then get to work. Not going to use a chemical stripper since DH already stained the floor of the deck (probably not a good idea to do it in that order ...), and I don't want it to drip down and ruin that. Any other thoughts for prep are welcome.

But most of all, stain or paint??

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paintguy22

It really doesn't matter much what is on there now. The prep and staining process is the same no matter what coating you are going over.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 4:52PM
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1dahlia4me

I thought you can't stain over paint?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 5:28PM
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paintguy22

If you are talking about solid color stain, then yes it's perfectly fine to stain over the paint.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 7:05PM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

Does it scratch off as a film? If so, it's paint.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 9:20AM
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1dahlia4me

Thanks, Paintguy.

Brushworks, I'm not sure what you mean by "as a film." In the peeling and chipping sections, you can scrape off pieces and sometimes pull off a longer flexible latexy strip (usually with wood stuck to it). But if I went and scratched other sections, I don't think anything would come off.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 9:30AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

You answered my question. It's paint.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 10:52AM
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1dahlia4me

OK, good to know! So, as paintguy said, I can still stain over it ... but (to anybody who's still reading) is it BETTER to use stain or paint in this situation? And why?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 11:22AM
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paintguy22

Stain is better because it won't peel like a paint does. I think Sikkens is the best.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 8:11PM
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1dahlia4me

Stain it is. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 1:24AM
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