how to clean porch for paint

terryrJuly 12, 2006

Hi everyone,

We have an old (1896) house with a front porch that expands the whole front of the house. It's in dire need of paint. We moved in a year ago and time got away from me last year doing all the other repairs needed. I can now concentrate on the front porch. The paint is missing in some places, showing the wood, which has grayed. When I inquired about cleaning/painting it at our local Ace Hardware, I was advised to just use a power washer to get it clean, then paint. They advised against any primer. My thinking is that the gray needed to be removed and the wood should be primed. So I'm confused about the proper way of doing this. Any and all help is very much appreciated!


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Ace is the place with the friendly hardware man. Unfortunately, also the place of bad advice and cheap paint. Make a mixture of 1 part household bleach, 1 part trisoidum phosphate (in proper dilution) and three parts water. Scrub with brush, or in lieu of brush use a pressure washer. Absolutely prime with an oil base, then do one or two topcoats.

If you don't want to get into chemical mixing, go here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Clean and prep

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 7:45AM
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No, I don't mind mixing chems, and I have all the above mentioned products. My question I guess, would be what would be a better paint than what Ace has? My sister lives in a house, almost this old, and has used every paint available in this town (BM, SW, Ace, WalMart). They all peel within a year. We have a back deck which doesn't exactly look right, so to help it blend, I used Cabot's, and even it's peeling. It was stripped, cleaned and prepped perfectly (if I do say so myself!), primed and 2 coats of Cabot deck paint. It was allowed to dry for 4 days before I primed. Then the next day I painted. The BM store is now closed, so it's no longer an option.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 4:17PM
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It sounds like it's not the paint product that's the problem (even mid-grade paint should last more than a year), nor the prep/wash....that leaves the porch itself. When you're dealing w? a 100 year old paint job, there's a good chance there are many layers of old paint on it. And it's hard to know what materials were used in the past, or whether prior painters did a good prep job. So, unless you have removed ALL the old paint, my theory is that as soon as your new paint is drying, the old paint underneath is starting (or continuing) to peel. No one likes to scrape down to bare wood, but it might be the only way short of replacing the boards. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 4:01PM
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Does your deck have adequate ventilation beneath it? Bad prep and bad airflow are two things that primarily cause premature finish failure. Get your pain from a paint store. Sherwin Williams seems the way to go.

Another question for you on the deck. If it was stripped (how was this done?) why didn't you apply a penetrating oil as opposed to a solid?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 7:29PM
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I'm sorry, I've been away for 3 weeks.

My front porch was rebuilt by the previous owners. I'm not sure when, but my best guess was in 96 (porch supports are wrapped in aluminum and the house was sided in 96). It appears to only have 1 coat of paint on it. It's made of typical materials you'd find on an old porch, ie tongue and groove flooring and the steps are 1x6's. The railings, to me, look like they have primer on them and not paint. The floor of the porch does have paint though. The porch is approximatly 40" off the ground with lattice around the bottom, which I'm not fond of and would like to replace.

I have borrowed a pressure washer and plan on removing all paint and cleaning the wood before it's repainted.

Regarding the deck on the back/side of the house.....IMO (which really is the only one that counts since I live here *insert smile here*) looks so out of place on a house that is 110 yrs old. If money grew on trees, I'd have the whole thing ripped off and replaced with a porch, not a deck. But it doesn't, so I can't. I used a solid stain for floors from Cabot to try and make the deck look more like a porch. My next thing is to remove the deck rails and make railings that match the front porch to help it to look more like a porch and not a deck. I used a product (can't remember the name, but recommended by a guy I know who does deck cleaning and restoring but has no idea on porches) to remove stain and paint, then a product that neutralized the first. Let it dry for the recommended 4 days and then put on the solid stain. Both products required scrubbing and rinsing off with a power washer.

I know it was a grammatical error on your part pressurepros, but the local SW really is a pain. This store does not have anyone who really knows what they're talking about. When someone from the store told me that Stripeeze was supposed to be all glumpy and would take the whole darn can to remove paint from a door and I got a hold of the company and found out my can, that the SW store sold me, was over 2 yrs old...well, let's just say that was pretty much the last straw for me. Stripping paint isn't new to me, nor is Stripeeze, so I knew better. I'm limited in my paint stores here and SW really isn't the place to go.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 4:57PM
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