New homeowner in need of advice for painted/peeling deck

YogimamaAugust 26, 2011

The upper/lower, north-facing deck on the home we purchased in the PNW looked great when we purchased two years ago... It was a beautiful solid blue color that matched the fence and coordinated nicely with the house color. Last summer we applied some deck cleaner (from Lowes or HD) and the deck started peeling terribly as soon as I started to scrub and hose off the cleaner. This summer it looks terrible, due to the peeling paint and the damage from us not even realizing how much annual cleaning and maintenance we should be doing (yes, well-meaning but clueless new homeowners). So now we're reading forums like this one to educate ourselves, and realizing we'll easily do more harm to the deck if we don't plan carefully. After digging around in the various paint cans the previous owners left behind, I now realize the pretty blue product they used was a Sherwin Williams exterior latex paint. And from what I've read here and elsewhere, that was not a good choice (moisture build up from below causing the paint to peel so quickly etc). I'm hoping those here with loads more knowledge and experience that we have can help me sort out what steps we need to take to get this deck into decent shape. We're focusing only on the floor boards of the deck--the rails and ledges are holding up fine. My questions:

1) Am I correct in thinking we need to use a stripper specifically formulated for latex paint? And that after applying we should pressure wash but use a low psi (less than 1000) to keep from damaging the wood? Any recommendations for a specific stripping product?

2) Do we need to sand the deck also?

3) Can someone please recommend what kind of product we should use once we get rid of the paint? I'm pretty clear from reading here that even in the stain department, we should avoid a solid b/c of high maintenance etc.? But I'm completely confused about all the other options, and specific products folks get into long back-and-forth arguments about here. Our highest priorities are a) that the deck be protected from the elements so we can put off rebuilding for a good number of years; b) that it look presentable so we can enjoy our otherwise beautiful backyard space (so we're fine with letting go of a solid stain color matched to the blue color of the rails); and c) that the maintenance be more rather than less worry-free--we don't mind reapplying a product every few years but would like to avoid having to strip beforehand.

Any constructive recommendations to help us get off to a fresh start with this poor abused deck greatly appreciated!


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I found some good postings on an old thread with current posts. Search for "Long lasting deck sealer". Two products mentioned in Aug 2011 is Floor Shield (an epoxy which I haven't found out if it will have to be stripped) and Lifeline Endure.

I have also worked with Allback purified Linseed Paint products at The beauty of their products are: they are all natural, they nourish the wood rather than put a sealing coat on the wood that will peel when moisture gets trapped, and to re-coat you just clean and re-coat when you can tell the wood is getting dry 3-5 years. While working with my 125 year old home's exterior they have been very patient with my questions.

If the 15-20 year finish of Floor Shield doesn't check out, I will probably go with Le Tonkinois No. 1 Linseed Varnish, because I want a little sheen. For a natural look, a 50/50 mixture of Purified Boiled Linseed and Pine Tar works good. You could even mix in some of their Linseed Blue paint if you want a blue stain look again. Only go with Purified Linseed Oil as the other stuff breeds mildew. We did have a problem with mildew on some areas of our house, but have been pleased when we followed their directions of washing it with Linseed Soap Xtra. It seemed to breed mildew because we painted too thick and too late in the season for it to get a good cure. Need dry hot days for the Paint. I don't know if that is also true about the Varnish.

Here is a link that might be useful: Silent Paint Remover and Allback Paint

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:29AM
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Having built decks for over 35 years, and being relatively knowlegable regarding deck finishes, I have never heard of the products Huberhouse speaks of.

You will definately need to strip the existing finish, no matter what you will replace it with. We don't do much striping because we never use paint or solid stains. Both of these have the potential to peel up. Paint more so. We did just strip a 1750 sq. ft. deck and used a Behr stripper It got most of the old solid stain, but we did have a fair amount of sanding to do, as well. A painting contractor friend of mine recomends Jasco strippers.

If you want to see the grain, seal the deck with a semi transparent stain. We usually use Penofin, others speak highly to TWP, which we cannot get. You will need to repeat every 2 years, no stripping needed, only cleaning.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:20PM
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I am at a loss to understand any of the Huber post as well Mark.

The few times my outfit has had to strip a painted deck we used md-80 from , this is nasty stuff be careful, and it will have to be follow up with an oxalic wash plus sanding.

What kind of wood is the deck/railing ??


    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Yes, I agree with the last 2 posts-JonMon and Mark. You WILL have to strip whatever is on your deck currently.

My goal in life is to work with wood products that don't have to ever be stripped. We are still stripping the exterior of our clapboard house that has 130 years of peeling paint build up. That is how we came to learn about Allback Paint.

Linseed paint has been used for hundreds of years. If you ever tour Mt Vernon, President George Washington used it. However, the new products are greatly improved by purification process. Linseed products protects and nourishes the wood and leaves it breathable so there is never trapped moisture and a plastic coat to peel. The draw back is the slower dry time. There are no chemical accelerators. This fact makes the product "GREEN" for the environment. Hot dry days are a perfect time for painting Boiled Linseed.

To find out more about Purified Boiled Linseed try the link posted or call Soren or Collete at Viking Sales. They have been most helpful to me. Be sure to ask them if your climate will allow the Boiled Linseed products to cure properly. I live in the mid-central states. We had 30 days of 100 degree weather this year.

I am still researching Floor Shield USA and Lifeline Endure at 1-800-548-3554. If I cannot find a longer lasting product that doesn't need stripping to re-coat than the AllBack products, I will definitely be using the Linseed Varnish mentioned in the link.

Strip a deck once and you're desperate to never do it again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Silent Paint Remover and Allback Paint

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 8:29AM
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Way to Go Huber !!! I like a Tenacious Person.

Linseed oil,boiled," purified " roasted or all of the other things they do to it has the bottom line of giving mildew/mold lunch,it has no uv protection and very little water protection after the first few moons or so.

They used it that long ago because they had nothing else. Varnish ??? give me a break that's been proved long ago to peal/lift exposed to the Sun.

But go on and use it Ol Son !! I like your stile,even if it is stuck way in the past.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 6:06PM
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