Porch Floor Paint Peeling

The first photo was taken 2 years ago after we had completely removed the previously applied paint and then we primed and painted it with 2 coats of premium exterior porch floor paint. The second photo is today, it's just a fricking mess, peeling and flaking off. I'm at wits end, this is the second time we have stripped and painted it and both times the same miserable results. We live in Wisconsin so a lot of snow and rain tend to accumulate and sit on it but painting it every 2 or 3 years is just ridiculous and very expensive..... I'm going to sand it down to bare wood and paint or stain it but please tell me a fail safe product and procedure that is time tested, don't tell me about a product you used last year, we want to hear about something you did 5 to 10 years ago that held up. The wood is tongue and groove, probably fir. Your advice and expertise is appreciated.
Thank You
porch floor paint peeling, curb appeal, painting, porches
porch floor paint peeling, curb appeal, painting, porches
  16 answers
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Apr 23, 2014
    Looks great! Lots of hard work...now we want to see it after you get it all spruced up!
  • Energy Wise Mfg. Energy Wise Mfg. on Apr 23, 2014
    Thank you for the suggestions but this doesn't answer my question because I'm searching for a remedy to the peeling problem.
  • Emma Taylor Emma Taylor on Apr 23, 2014
    I feel your pain; I live in IL. Can't help with paint, but since you have to sand down to bare wood I would use a semi-solid OIL BASED stain. Make sure it's oil based so it will penetrate the wood. I used Olympic brand on my deck and it held up well for a few years before it needed to be washed down and recoated. Nothing lasts forever, but at least with stain it won't peel.
  • Vicki Cox-Wild Vicki Cox-Wild on Apr 23, 2014
    I had the same problem. In my case it was the fact that the porch was shaded and the soil stayed damp most of the time. The side of wood facing the ground would "absorb" the moisture. If you can put down a moisture barrier under the porch and control any water that runs under the porch in the rain you should see a difference. Hope this helps. Good luck!
  • Energy Wise Mfg. Energy Wise Mfg. on Apr 23, 2014
    Thanks Emma, stain is the way I'm leaning, stain goes in and paint goes on.
  • Energy Wise Mfg. Energy Wise Mfg. on Apr 23, 2014
    Thanks Vicki, it makes sense, maybe the underside of the wooden floor is absorbing moisture and causing the peeling on the painted top side. I'm thinking of staining this time.
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Apr 23, 2014
    Best way to remove paint from deck is to rent an orbital sander from Home Depot. Then use a hand sander for the places you cannot reach. a lot of work!! What about the fairly new product by rustoleum that is mush thicker for heavily wood damage. I think that might work much better.Ask the educated reps at Home Depot about the prep with the existing paint.I also agree if the porch is exposed to severe winter conditions I would cover the porch with a tarp hopefully one that does not scream orange or bright blue during the middle of winter.i purchased a gray tarp to cover an eyesore wood pile and to me it doesn't look too bad.will save a lot of work for you in the spring
  • Energy Wise Mfg. Energy Wise Mfg. on Apr 23, 2014
    That new stuff from Rustoleum is getting horrible reviews from people that applied it a year or two ago, coming off in sheets. That is what I had been considering until I checked out the satisfaction of actual consumers. Thanks for your input Funnygirl.
    • Rburroughs Rburroughs on Apr 28, 2018
      its true. The product is terrible. Peeled in one season. I wrote the company and my money was returned. It’s so much work to have it look horrible
  • The reason why the porch is peeling is dampness coming up from underneath the deck. The moisture gets into the wood from underneath and pushes the paint off. In conditions such as that semi transparent or transparent stains work best. They allow moisture to travel through the finish. As soon as you place a solid surface stain or paint on a piece of lumber it acts as a vapor barrier not allowing moisture to travel through. While the semi and transparent stains will repel water and allow it to bead up on the surface, its the vapor that is prevented from traveling through. Think of the stain as a window screen. It allows air through but not bugs. Well the stains and sealers act the same. the vapor is more like air that can travel through, yet the water is more like a bug its molecules are to big to pass through the screen and simply puddle on the top. With moisture coming up from under the deck the vapor becomes trapped behind the film of the paint or solid stain. This when it gets warm causes the vapor to act much like a steam causing the blistering paint. You need to provide better ventilation under the porch if your sticking with a paint material, if ventilation is ok, a plastic vapor barrier on the soil would be the next course of action. Prep is also very important. Be careful when sanding older porches as they can contain lead paint. If its new lumber and if it has not been sanded or properly prepared the surface is simply to slick for any paint or stain product to properly adhere. You need to sand the surface or power wash it and allow it to dry to remove the patina on the surface. With all the deck paints such as Rustoleum, and the others, the same issue applies with the vapor under them. I would bet a dollar that those that complained that the finish failed that it was caused by moisture below or incorrect application. These companies provide some pretty good products and its rare that they would fail at such an alarming rate and still have their brand name attached. I used Restore product on a deck a few years ago. It still looks as good as the day I painted it. Yet it too gets horrible reviews. One last thing I would add, these deck restoration paints are thick and will leave a slightly rough surface that may be hard on the feet for some folks. Be sure to brush or roll it out with smooth roller or you will have a rough final finish once done.
  • Energy Wise Mfg. Energy Wise Mfg. on Apr 23, 2014
    Thanks, my porch floor is anywhere from 4 to 6 feet higher than the soil below it and that soil never gets wet do you think moisture is still causing the paint to peel?
  • It can energy wise. Does the porch get a lot of sun during the day? or is it on the shady side? In any case that would be my first guess in why the paint does not adhere properly. Of course the prep is another reason. If the wood where the paint is being applied is treated, there also could be a chemical reaction from the outgassing of the chemicals to the new paint products. Is there any way to finish the back side of the deck? This will assure that no moisture is being drawn into the unfinished lumber. Think of putting a piece of lumber painted on one side on the ground for a few days. Then another turned upside down so the paint is on the ground. you can guess what way the deck will curl. Well that moisture that causes the wood to warp will also move through it and cause the paint to loose its adhesion. Remember older homes that always had peeling paint outside the bathrooms. Caused by moisture pushing the paint off of siding. Also think about water proofing paint in basements, Dampness will push that product right off of wall causing flakes and chipping of the surface. The same exact thing happens with the deck finishes. That is why using a transparent or semi-solid stain always works best and lasts the longest. Same goes on cement as well.
  • Jojo Jojo on Apr 23, 2014
    I am in Minnesota and have had the peeling paint from moisture, too. We finally replaced with cedar decking 5 years ago and used Sikkens brand stain. It holds up well for years. I just touch up in the spring.
  • Woodbridge has done great job of explaining what's going on. We've run into this numerous times. It's very rare that someone coats all the sides of the porch decking (accept us of course) before installing it. I'm talking all 6 sides of each piece!
  • Energy Wise Mfg. Energy Wise Mfg. on Apr 23, 2014
    Thanks Jojo
  • Liz Mansfield Liz Mansfield on Apr 24, 2014
    rebuild the area with the decking material that don't rot and you don't paint , in the long run will pay for itself.
    • Energy Wise Mfg. Energy Wise Mfg. on Apr 28, 2014
      @Liz Mansfield Thanks Liz, but I'm sure as heck not going to send 8 year old douglas fir to the landfill. Easy and expensive doesn't always equate to responsible use of our natural resources.
  • Anna Bennett Anna Bennett on Jul 07, 2014
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