Asked on Sep 23, 2015

How to remove bad paint job on deck railings?

by Keziah
I had a new deck and railings put on my house. The builders used a Thompsons water resistant sealer on the wood railings. When the painters painted the railings used latex primer and paint. This paint just bubbled up and I could emote it with a finger nail. My husband did five minutes of scraping. See picture. Is there a product that would help with the work. I know I will have to sand and scrape but painters are giving me a hard time so l need to fix this myself. Please help!
Photo of scraped paint. The painters tried to just use filler to fix areas. I want the whole thing done properly. Am l crazy but should they not have used oil based paint on a deck that is rained on every afternoon. I live in Hawaii.
  14 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 23, 2015
    I just googled your problem. Go to for all the steps.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Sep 24, 2015
    Think the problem resulted by using a Latex paint over a sealer which was oil based. If you repaint with latex, you might get the same problem. I'd switch to a paint that is oil based and try it on a small section before doing the whole thing.
  • Nancy J Nancy J on Sep 24, 2015
    that's just horrible, professional painters would NEVER do that, and I'm sure you paid them a pretty penny for botched work....I would see what you can get off with a pressure washer and maybe TSP? Then definitely use a good primer over the entire thing to cover any waterseal that may be left on it, THEN paint, with a deck paint....I hear that Behr makes and excellent one
  • Z Z on Sep 24, 2015
    The painters should have been knowledgeable enough to ask what was on the deck in the first place before choosing the proper paint. It's their job, not yours, to know what they are painting and using the proper products. I suggest you check over any contract or paper work or warranty on their work, and then have a talk with the owner of the company, if he won't help you fix it, contact the BBB. You can find some great guidelines at the link below. If you aren't able to get them to help, please let me know and I'll help you find the best way to fix it.
  • Marilyn Marilyn on Sep 24, 2015
    For outside use we use oil based paint. That goes over most any other finish or sealer. Yep, it's messy and must be painted with a brush, but it's good for a few years. Once you use oil or sealer you can never use latex after.
    • Z Z on Sep 24, 2015
      @Actually Marilyn, you can use latex over oil based exterior paint IF the proper prep work is done first, but not oil over latex. You don't hear of anyone painting latex over oil too often though.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Sep 24, 2015
    You got a really bad painter. He should have known better. This is not an easy DIY fix at all! If you cannot get him to fix his mistake, (and I would use any leverage you can, BBB, lawyer, etc) You might be better off getting a real pro in who knows what to do. This is no easy DIY removal issue.
  • Keziah Keziah on Sep 24, 2015
    I was given a product name but they have no retailers in Hawaii.So need a solution with pretty common products. Does anyone think that ammonia or maybe baking soda and vinegar might just lift this up. Would either ruin the wood?
    • Z Z on Sep 24, 2015
      @Keziah you need to contact the contractor and make him do something about this. As stated above in my previous comment, it's up to them to repair what they did wrong. If you don't want to do this, then you're going to have to scrape off the rest of the paint and start from scratch. Period. It won't be easy, but there's not miracle in removing paint.
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Sep 24, 2015
    GO GET THOSE PAINTERS... any pro should have known better, Theu know how to prep for those situations and DIDN"T... The contractors assoc, local union, if one, and state lisc dept..complaints dept.. PLUS report them to the local agency on consumer issues.. I'd contact a consumer helpline of the local TV station on such issues,, no company wants bad PR.. Sometimes a nasty letter stating things and who you have talked to, and will notify if not handled correctly and directly, BE SURE Certified, with receipt for signature restricted delivery....stating unless handled in _____ days You will proceed to notify all the areas above.. If a large company go to the HEAD- I don't waste time doing that anymore the secretary- crew-foreman etc....GO TO THE OWNER..YOU are getting the run around..It may just be a sloppy crew,, or 1-2 new hires.. good luck
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Sep 24, 2015
    You might add if they can't repair the work they can replace to your satisfaction.. Its called R/R on some work orders. I'd get 2-3 estimates for that and enclose with the letter you send to the owner. Keep a log of who you talked to each time you made contact with them,, I also log the call-wait times, call backs- time on hold, when calls are not returned.. DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT.. This sounds nasty.. BUT, if its a good company, well trained, with great people none of this wouldn't have been needed....
  • Evelyn Saxer Evelyn Saxer on Sep 24, 2015
    You might try a pressure sprayer if it comes off with scraping easy, I'll save you some elbow grease.
  • Keziah Keziah on Sep 24, 2015
    Mahalo (Thank You) to everyone! Your support and understanding of my fury was very helpful. I am going to try a soy gel product (citrus strip isn't sold here) and TSP ( little store in a small town had it) and do the job myself. Clocking my time and getting a Dr's note about this being a no-no for me but a woman's fury knows no boundaries. I'll send a picture of finished job.
    • Nancy J Nancy J on Sep 25, 2015
      @Keziah the paint pieces that come off with the pressure washer, will end up sticking to your deck, my sister did it with my mom's porch and chips are sticking to her foundation, have baked in the hot sun & are impossible to get off, if you are going to use one, make sure any paint that is removed is washed off right away from your's weird, and I haven't tried it, but I heard that scrubbing bubbles removes latex paint, just like a stripper, might be cheaper to try that first.
  • Renata Renata on Sep 24, 2015
    I used a pressure washer, then let dry a couple days. These guys should have had a contractors license. Call the Labor Board. They will go after them.
  • Martha Martha on Sep 25, 2015
    A pressure washer was used to remove baked on enamel paint from my decking. You need to be very careful though, because if the pressure is too strong, it can remove splinters from the decking.
  • Tricia Tricia on Aug 31, 2016
    Bought dark cedar primer & paint - it looks like barn red -was trying to match cedar railing/can I go over it with a dark brown paint after it drys?