How to refinish an old tongue and groove front porch?


Our front porch is tongue and groove boards. The paint is peeling up and it needs repainting any suggestions on how to solve this problem without a huge expense?

  13 answers
  • Dee Dee on Jun 16, 2020

    First power wash to get the loose paint off. then see if there are areas that need repair. Slope exposed soil underneath the porch away from the center to eliminate puddles. Reduce the upward migration of moisture by laying a moisture barrier (4-mil polyethylene), anchored with gravel.

    Encourage airflow beneath the porch by using ornamental vents or lattice skirting. Slope the porch framing a quarter-inch per foot away from the house to permit water runoff.

    Paint or stain. You can stain or paint for primary protection. The traditional look is a medium gray paint, as if the wood were concrete, with a slick finish even though a sand mix would make the surface less slippery when wet.

    But the main trouble with paint is that you'll need so many touch-ups, plus sanding and scraping, where people walk, grind in grit or even move a chair.

    Stain makes more sense because it soaks in instead of resting on the surface.

    And you can choose a wood-preserving, pigmented stain from nearly white to charcoal and any shade of gray in between. It will wear, but more gradually and less noticeably than paint.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 16, 2020

    How to Refinish Wood Porch Floor: Autumn DIY Project

  • Seth Seth on Jun 16, 2020


    Our 1839 Greek Revival had a front porch added at some point in it's history. The flooring was tongue and groove fir. The previous owners had painted it with a solid color gray stain. When it came time to refinish it we decided to strip it and stain it a natural wood tone. I thought about tackling it myself, but decided it was too important. We paid $400.00 (about $2.70 a sq. ft.) several years ago for a historical flooring specialist to replace some rotted boards, sand it, and refinish it with an oil based stain. It was worth every penny. You could certainly do it yourself, but some projects are better left to the pros. We needed to re-stain it every few years, but that is an easy DIY job.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Jun 16, 2020

    Sounds like it will need to be sanded and then stain may stay better than paint.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Jun 17, 2020

    I would not power wash an old porch floor, as it could damage really old wood and get it too wet.

    Depending how many coats it’s had and how bad it’s peeling, definitely take a paint scraper and see how much it’s peeling.

    If you can scrape it and it’s still sticking to the previous layer and just peeling a little, then vacuum and determine if you want to take a belt sander to it,

    before cleaning with detergent water or TSP water, rinse and dry well with clean rags.

    Do you know if it’s had oil or latex based paint put on it? ...or both, which might be why it’s peeling?

    Prime with a binding exterior primer.

    Then paint two full coats of porch paint.

    Avoid doing this in too high humidity and too hot conditions. Read the paint can labels to see what they say.

  • Janice Janice on Jun 17, 2020

    You can use a metal scraper to remove the worst sections of peeling paint, then sand with a coarse sandpaper, then a medium. Once you've removed the paint and have a smooth surface you can use a primer, then a good quality porch paint to make your porch look brand new.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jun 17, 2020

    Pressure wash, if you don't have one get an attachment for your garden hose that makes it high pressure. That will knock a lot of loose paint up. Scrape and sand. I'm in process of doing my stairs and am considering purchasing a palm sander but I'm using a sanding block on the rails.

  • Joy Elizabeth Joy Elizabeth on Jun 17, 2020

    I agree with the pressure wash, it will take most of the paint off. Then a good sand and you are ready to stain or repaint!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 18, 2020

    Hello Linda,

    If the peeling is small amount, then sand down that area and re-build the surface up again. If a larger area, use a sanding machine or striping gel solution and remove or blow torch, but be careful not to direct the flame for too long, for fear of burning. Once you have an unpainted surface again, maybe Stain the floor this time instead of painting.

    Best wishes.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jun 20, 2020

    It depends on the condition of the wood and the look you want. Is there a lot of peeling? Pressure wash will remove loose paint, and probably some that's not loose. So if the floor is already in rough shape, you may damage it more. Stains are great, but, need to soak into the wood. Putting it over a surface that isn't prepared by removing paint and sanding is going to create a mess. Yes, you can strip it and sand it, but it's a messy job. I would clean it, sand and scrape loose paint and use a high quality exterior porch and floor paint. If you want, you can get more colors than gray, although personally I like gray. Good luck and stay safe!

  • Homeroad Homeroad on Jun 22, 2020

    If you're talking about the floor, I would use a paint specifically made for floors and then seal it well with a heavy duty sealer.