One of our friends is asking for some help with his deck. He is a new home owner and wanted to clean up his deck and decided to use some primer and latex paint instead of staining. The results are pretty ugly and the paint is chipping off in wear areas and in random areas around the deck surface. Unfortunately it seems that he painted everything including the railings and steps and now doesn’t know what direction they should go next.
This is a beginners mistake that happened because the home owner didn’t ask his paint supplier to suggest a coating for his deck. If he wanted a solid color he could have used a solid stain and it wouldn’t have looked like the inside of his home but then again it wouldn’t have given him this headache.
There are three directions that someone can go when faced with this situation you can use a pressure washer and try to remove the paint without damaging the wood however the pressure required to remove the paint will most likely damage the wood. The next option would be sanding or stripping the paint off of the deck and that is pretty difficult to do. Stripper is pretty caustic and if it gets on your skin it will cause chemical burns. There are strippers made of Citrus Oils that could do the work but they are really expensive for a full deck. Sanding is also pretty difficult. Normally deck boards are uneven and if you try sanding with something large like a sanding screen in a floor sander you are likely to have pretty bad results. The final option is redecking the deck which means that you just destroyed an entire deck with a few gallons of paint.
None of that seems very fun does it. So what can you do? The final solution will probably be a mixture of all of the above. One thing you might want to try if you are crazy enough is flipping the deck boards and repairing any that you damage in the process. Railing won’t be that easy so you might want to upgrade the railing by buying vinyl covers for the posts and see what you can do about the runners and the rails. The steps can be redecked with new wood and the rest of the areas that you cant get easily will have to be stripped and then cleaned with the pressure washer.
This is a bad situation for a new home owner and any coating that he would put over this paint would eventually fail because the latex paint will peal off due to moisture in the wood.
This is why if you have never tried completing a job you should look for some help or pointers before you get started. If not then you end up learning by your mistakes and it can cost you time money and embarrassment.