I have a wrap-around porch with cedar deck boards.
The previous owner painted the deck boards with a latex paint.
Most of the paint is in good shape, but there is a high-traffic
sun-and-rain-exposed section, about 200 square feet, that is peeling
I don't have the time and energy to strip this down completely to bare
new wood, so I am trying to come up with an alternate plan. I don't
want to power-sand or use a chemical stripper. I don't have the energy
to handle the resulting mess.
Here are some options I've come up with:
1) Use a handheld scraper to remove the large blisters, wipe with a
damp cloth to remove dust and dirt, and apply a self-priming latex as I
go. This allows me to tackle the job a little bit at a time, since the
latex dries fast and cleans up easily.
2) Use a handheld scraper to remove the large blisters, wipe with a
damp cloth to remove dust and dirt, and apply a clear penetrating
water-based sealant to soak into the areas of exposed wood. This
allows me to tackle the job a little bit at a time. When I'm finally
finished scraping and applying sealant, go back to the beginning and
start applying a latex topcoat over the sealant (where it was applied
over the blisters I scraped off) and the previous latex topcoat (where
it wasn't blistering and didn't get scraped off).
3) Use a handheld scraper to remove the large blisters, wipe with a
cloth dampened in mineral spirits to remove dust and dirt, and apply a
clear penetrating oil-based sealant to soak into the areas of exposed
wood. When I'm finally finished scraping and applying sealant, go back
to the beginning and start applying an oil-based primer over the
sealant (where it was applied over the blisters I scraped off) and the
previous latex topcoat (where it wasn't blistering and didn't get
scraped off). When I'm finished with that, go back and put a latex
topcoat over the primer.
4) Blast the area with a pressure washer to remove blistering paint.
Wait till it dries, then start applying a self-priming latex as in
option 1, or a water-based sealant as in option 2.
I could start right away and start making progress. I realize that
from a paint integrity point of view, this approach leaves a bit to be
desired. But, in the future, if I get more peeling, I can just
spot-treat in the same manner.
I would like to use Option 2, because it is almost as easy as Option 1,
and it seems like it would yield a better result. The only problem is,
I haven't been able to find a water-based sealant that explicitly says
on the label that it can be painted over. Does anyone know of such a
I'd rather not do Option 3, because of the hassle of working with
solvent-based products, especially when working incrementally which
results in many clean-up cycles. I have a gallon of clear oil-based
sealant (Do It Best Waterproofing Sealer #770779) that is absolutely
amazing at penetrating into the wood, and the label explicitly says it
can be overcoated with an oil-based primer once it dries. This gallon
of sealant was left over from the previous owner and is probably 10
years old. Despite much searching, I have not been able to locate any
similar product available today which which explicitly allows
As for Option 4, I could borrow or rent or buy a pressure washer, but
cedar is a very soft wood and I'm concerned about damage, and I'm not
sure it would work as well as physically scraping with a handheld
Are there any readers out there who have dealt with a similar
situation? Please share any war stories or success stories you may
Buy a high quality latex bonding primer. Scrape a section and paint as you
go. Top coat when ready. This will not give you the same level of
protection as using an oil based primer and a latex topcoat but I have had
pretty good results over the years with old wood and this process. With new
wood or not cedar I would insist on your using an oil based primer.
Only put a small amount of primer in you "working pail" and keep it covered
with a damp cloth while not actively dipping into it. You may have to add a
minute quantity of water to keep it in a liquid state. Use an older brush
and rinse it often.
True Value Hardware
Do you know of any water-based clear penetrating wood sealant that can
be overpainted when it has dried?
The Kiltz exterior primer from Lowes or HD may be good enough. Sherwin
Williams should have a product. Any real paint store will have an acrylic
bonding primer. Don't waste your time buying paint at Wal*Mart or any
similar store. If you have a Ben Moore store they have good paint as does
Porter's. For the most part your quality is a good as you pay for. The
labor is the same to paint something that will fail half the time or last
twice as long. Over a properly prepared surface it is not unreasonable to
expect 10-12 quality years of service. Yeah! I know the can says 25 years.
I don't think you want to seal the wood before your paint. You want the
primer coat to soak in and bond to the raw wood not just be stuck to the top
of it. To answer your question there is no such thing as a water based wood
sealer. Water based products will always allow the moisture to penetrate to
the sub-surface. There are some products that are marketed as being that;
but that is just marketing. I had to learn that one the hard way. I hope
you profit from my experience.
I have cans of both. Each can says not to use on horizontal surface
subject to rain and foot traffic.
I have had excellent results with McCloskey Multiuse self-priming latex
from WalMart (but not on horizontal surfaces exposed to sun rain and
I have searched the shelves of every home improvement center, hardware
store, and paint store in the area. There is not a single product that
claims to come even close to 25 years on exterior horizontal surfaces
exposed to sun, rain, and foot traffic. The most optimistic claim is
the Olympic Maximum water-based solid-color deck stain which claims 8
years on deck surfaces. I highly doubt it would last even 4 years.
Exactly. But every primer I have ever worked with is nowhere near the
consistency of a stain or sealant, and doesn't penetrate like those
products do. For example, I can take a dripping brushful of Olympic
oil-based wood protector and merely touch it to a piece of weathered
deck board, and the board will suck the stain right out of the brush.
I take a brushful of primer and I can paint the entire board with it -
it just lays on top of the wood.
That appears to be true according to the labelling on all currently
available products I have looked at. In years past however,
sealing/waterproofing products were available which claimed to be
suitable for overpainting once thoroughly cured.
Most major paint manufacturers make a water-based wood sealer. In the
July 06 issue of Consumer Reports, a water-based sealer from Olympic
was the #1 rated choice among clear wood sealers. The 8-year-warranty
Olympic solid-color deck stain (and sealer) mentioned previously is
I'm not sure that's true. Check out this web site:
"DEFY UV-Resistant Clear Wood Finish is a high performance, penetrating
finish that helps prevent the destructive effects of water, fungi, and
UV radiation on exterior wood. With its water-based, epoxy fortified
synthetic resin, this product is able to penetrate deeply into wood
fibers, providing protection from the graying effects of UV radiation.
It dries to a clear finish with little or no effect on the original
color of the wood."
This product is recommended by a major national home improvement guru.
Please tell us about your experience. What product did you use, and
how did it fail?
If the wood surface has aged/oxidized since the previous paint has
peeled, I would strongly recommend an oxalic-acid-based deck cleaner be
used on the bare wood before the recoating to get a fresh surface for
better bonding. Otherwise, I would expect the spots that peeled to
simply do so again (and sooner, rather than later :( ).
Otherwise, good advice.
Yes, the wood is grayed/aged/oxidized beneath the blisters (some of
these blistered areas are the size of a license plate). But instead of
using a cleaner/brightener, what I'd rather do is use some sort of
deep-penetrating sealer/bonder which would penetrate through the aged
wood and down to the good wood, and "cure" in place into a surface that
would be very suitable for accepting a primer or topcoat paint.
The problem is, I have been scouring the shelves of all the hardware
and paint stores and home improvement centers, and I cannot find a
product available today whose labelling recommends or even allows this
type of use.
I have a 10-year-old gallon of "Do It Best" Clear Waterproofing Sealer
(solvent based, HWI product code 770 779) which clearly states on the
"Do It Best waterproofing sealer is compatible with oil base paints and
stains. It can be overpainted once it is dry. Allow at least 5 days
before painting over it."
Does anyone out there have experience doing this (priming/painting over
a penetrating water sealant). Are such products no longer available
today due to EPA VOC regulations? Are there water-based alternatives?
I've been searching in vain.
That may be what you would prefer but as the say goes "if frogs had
I know of no product with such magic properties of being applied of an
improperly prepared surface will perform as if it (the surface) had
been used per manufacturer's recommendations.
Possibly, also quite possible it turned out the product didn't actually
perform that well in actual service.
As noted above, I am unaware of any product that will perform your
desired magic. The closest thing to get a result that will last w/o
the cleaning step would probably be a transparent or semi-transparent
stain, but neither will come close to matching a painted existing
The power wash route _may_ adequately remove the oxidized layer, but
often it isn't if there has been peeling over a period such as this as
there has been such a long time w/o a bond between the coating and the
surface even though the actual paint layer is still laying there.
Doing the power wash with either such force or for so long a time as to
remove the oxidation layer may result in more damage than cure,
especially w/ a wood as soft as cedar.
Of course, there's part of the problem--cedar isn't very amenable to
painting, owing to the aromatics (even "white" cedars though they're
much less aromatic than red cedar, of course).
There must be chemicals which would do exactly what I have described
(soak into weathered wood and cure to a paintable surface). It
certainly wouldn't be "magic".
The only question is whether there is a manufacturer mass-marketing
such a product so the price is affordable.
I am running some tests on sample boards with the 10-year-old gallon of
Do It Best sealer. It will be most interesting to see how well a coat
of oil-based paint will adhere to it.
Sample #1: sealer, then oil-based primer, then latex topcoat
Sample #1a: oil-based primer, then latex topcoat
Sample #2: sealer, then oil-based primer, then oil-based topcoat
Sample #2a: oil-based primer, then oil-based topcoat
Sample #3: sealer, then semi-solid deck stain
Sample #3a: semi-solid deck stain
Sample #4: self-priming Latex solid stain
Sample $5 two coats of self-priming Latex paint
All samples will be finished on all six sides. All samples will soak
in a tub of water on Mondays and Thursdays, and bake in the sun the
rest of the week, until failure (defined as blistering of finish, or
warping/cracking of wood).
(If anyone has already tried a similar test and would be willing to
share the results it would be most appreciated).
That there aren't such solutions readily available and marketed for the
purpose must be saying something...
Are the test samples the same as the weathered spots you intend to
It would seem to me that by the time you have gone to the effort of
this you could have a significant portion of the deck properly prepared
and done...with the test and w/o proper preparation, you'll still have
a job that will shortly fail again.
Yes this point was brought up elsewhere in the thread. The question
is, what is it saying? Is it saying there used to be such solutions
but they are now banned by the EPA? Is it saying this is just an idea
whose time has not yet come? (after all, pick any modern-day
convenience and you can go back in time to a time when it wasn't
mass-marketed). Is it saying the chemicals are available but marketing
studies show they would be too expensive to produce to make a profit?
There could be many reasons, not just the one you have in mind, to wit,
"it can't be done".
But it wouldn't be as much fun, or as enlightening.
There is no universal agreement on what constitutes "proper
preparation". Power washing? With or without TSP? Bleach? Chlorine
or Peroxide? Chemical stripping? MEK, Methylene Chloride, or Citrus?
Power sanding? Scraping? Wire brushing? Must the bristles be
non-ferrous? etc etc etc.
Some staining products are actually not recommended for new wood - the
wood must be aged.
I'm headed off to a HWI paint store in the next town tomorrow to show
the old-timer there the 10-year-old gallon of sealant and ask if he
remembers ever selling it, and if it really can do what it claims on
One or two coats of this or similar after appropriate scraping and
Benjamin Moore Alkyd Primer 366
followed by one or two coats of an epoxy modified porch and floor
BTDT a few dozen times. This works.
Can you suggest a specific product (brand and model) for the "epoxy
modified porch and floor paint"?
I've stared at the labels on a LOT of paint cans in the past two weeks,
and the only one I recall seeing that said anything about epoxy is the
DEFY brand deck stain (but I don't think that's what you meant though).
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