Front Porch Progress, The Back Fence & Porch Floor Paint Options

May 6, 2011 — 8 Comments

New Steps (ready for primer)

Fence Reinstalled!

Porch Looking towards Kitchen Door from Front of House

Bluestone for the Stair Landing













It is a busy day here at the Sentivan household (which I why it has taken me so long to post)! Our carpenter/neighbor and his son are working hard on the front porch and the fence guys finally showed up to replace the post and reinstall the fence and gate. Both sets of steps and the replacement wood will get a primer coat today and paint next week! I also picked up new porch floor paint and bluestone for landing at the bottom of the new stairs this morning (with my 2 little helpers, one sporting a hardhat).

Porch Floor Paint Options

Our porch faces southwest and gets beat on by the sun! The porch flooring is pine tongue and groove. We have tried several different porch floor paint options over the last 11 years. Nothing has held up very well. So we are going to try again with something new.

Original Finish: When we bought the house we had a latex primer and latex paint on the porch (in darkred). The board were only a couple of years old but the paint peeled up after only a year or so of living here. They had also primed the underside.

Mr S. sanding the floor in 2002 (look at that yucky old siding)!

Applying the oil based porch floor paint

















Try #1: After researching online, I decided to go more old school and use an oil based porch floor paint by Benjamin Moore. We completely sanded the floor back to the wood with a giant sander. Then we thinned down the oil paint with paint thinner and installed 2 coats (to help it absorb into the wood) followed by 2 regular coats. This held up for another 3 years or so.

Installing the Front Railings in 2006

Primed Porch Railings in 2006

Try #2: Next we sanded and scraped lightly and put on another coat of the oil paint.This lasted another year or so before starting to peel again. Also when we bought this paint the second time we had to buy it in quarts because the VOCs were so strong they were not allowed to sell it in larger quantities (at least according to the local Benjamin Moore store).

Try #3: It has been about 4 years since we have done anything and in addition to major paint peeling we have had a fair amount of rot. So we thought with the developments in latex paint it was time to give some another try. This time we are going with a Sherwin Williams product designed for high traffic floors called ArmorSeal Tread-Plex.  As I understand it, it is typically used on concrete floors, but was recommended by a number of painters for porch floors. It was kind of pricey but not any more than a Benjamin Moore product. This time, the porch will be patched, scraped, sanded and primed with an oil primer (to ensure adhesion to the oil paint).  Then 2 coats of the ArmorSeal will be installed. Fingers crossed we will get a longer life out of this paint!


8 responses to Front Porch Progress, The Back Fence & Porch Floor Paint Options

  1. Terry Coppinger June 8, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I am just finishing up laying new fir tng on our rebuilt porch. I primed the underside and the tng with latex but have left the top uncoated until I can decide what to use. I to have seen forums recommending the tredplex but am not sure it will offer the flexibility the wood will need. The sherman willams “kid” had no idea that you could even use it on wood. Do you have any in sight our suggestions that may help this troubleling deciscion easier? I uassaly dont cooment on pages but you thoughts echos mine exactly.Thanks Terry C

  2. Hi Terry,

    I have some of the same concerns as you about the flexibility related to the shrinking and expansion of the wood, but because I have had such mediocre results with all of the other finishes I thought it was a good option to try. I did review the data sheet on the Tread-Plex and from what I could find it seemed like wood was an acceptable sub-straight. I am also trying to move away from oil (since it has high VOC and is being phased out). I probably saw the same comments in some of the contractor forums as you about the Tread-Plex. It is still to early to see how well it is going to hold up for us. The paint is thicker than the paint we have previously used so I am hoping that it may provide better long lasting protection. Our porch really takes a beating from the sun and rain so I am not sure how well any finish will ever hold up. I will be curious to see how it holds up at the seams in the wood, I would imagine if it is too stiff that would be where it would crack. Our floor boards are also primed underneath. My understanding is that if you use a latex product it provides a sealed condition for the wood so it is important to get all sides of it covered (if you don’t then the moisture will enter from the unfinished side and can cause the paint to fail on the finished side), where if you use an oil, it can breathe and it should allow for more moisture variation. The only other thing that I have noticed about the floor finish is that the finish is a bit rougher (probably better for slip resistance) but because of the texture any pollen or dirt from the air settles on the floor. It already needs a good hosing off!

    • Terry Coppinger June 10, 2011 at 1:24 am

      Thanks for the info. Among paint type we (my wife) are also undecided about paint color. I seen where you had a red brick color. We both like the red and have an accent of it on our home but just like you said the color alone shows off dust and such. Gray hides it so well but such a blah color. So we just keep putting off the decision. I should be ready for paint on the floor next week so I plan on biting the bullet this weekend with some decision making. I was curious did you use the oil primer because of the existing oil on the floor our is that what Tredplex recommends? I thought that Tredplex was an oil based product?

      We started about four years ago scrapping our Victorian down to bare wood,sanding, repairing etc,etc,etc and then painting.I started the first year painting with an oil primer but the next summer I found that Illinois also phased out the oil paints. So after much research I ended up buying Valspar Duramax (latex). Just like you said the “new technology” they have for latex promises just as long of life as oil. Duramax didn’t look like normal latex or behave like latex. It had an ammonia smell (when first opened)dried fast but harder then a normal latex (at least I thought). None the less we finished last summer and I have no problems yet! So I too thought latex would be the way I went with the porch but the forums get the best of me and so now I am back to thinking oil based. Any how thanks for your time O and what a beautiful home you have. You can see ours on facebook photos just look up Kelly Coppinger.

    • Terry Coppinger June 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      I think my head is going to explode……oils,latex, latex, oil,oil,latex. I can be so indecisive. We do 99% of our work on our own mostly for budget reasons(My wife says its because I’m too picky)None the less I just wish there was an easier answer. I guess allot of the paint issues is the actual preperation and type of wood used that can effect the life of paint. Most failures and successes our probably contributed to the prep work not the paint. Even as careful as I have been to get my porch perfect. I am seeing the cracks between the tng grow in just the past week. Some up to 1/8 inch. I spent allot of time and effort getting the boards tight. I even let the boards dry for a month before installing them. I guess Ill mark up another one to, that’s life when remodeling an old home. I am definitely leaning towards the tredplex and now I know Ill need latex primer (thank you)I am going to see SW tomorrow.I also seen where you guys painted a light grey after the red or green. It looks great, I tried to get Kelly to “feel the love” but she wasn’t going for it. “Looks great with thier colors but not so good with our green” she says. I,ll keep working on her.

      As far as the scraping goes. Two years ago I bought a “Paint Shaver Pro” basically a hand held plainer that will skim off the top layer of paint, and wood if your not careful. One of the best things I ever spent money on. Worked exactly like they said it would and saved me years on removing paint. You can damage the wood and you have to go back and sand good but Ill take it any day over a heat gun and knife. Just a note, this thing was expensive $400 used off ebay. I tried the Wagner paint remover tool and some other ones that were in the $100 range. They were horrible using disk after disk.
      I realized the benefits of the concrete fiber lap siding after I was about half way done painting the exterior. I look back and think if I had to do again that’s the route Id take.
      BTW we have flowers all along our property probably around 120 ft of flower beds at about 4 ft wide and about thirty more planed around the porch. My wife has a amazing green thumb for flowers and she was delighted to see your page.

      She sent you a friends request on FB. If you do end up on our photos you have to look at the older albums
      for some before and after pics and then the newer ones for the present look. It tends to take several years to get projects done……Thanks again,

      • Terry,

        I just looked at the photos. Your house is BEAUTIFUL! Wow your family has been busy! It looks great! An old house really is a labor of love!

        I looked at the Paint Scraper a few years ago. We bought The Silent Paint Remover (UV paint remover) for the siding and trim under the porch. It worked okay, but not great (it seems to work better in places where there are lots of layers of paint). Unfortunately our siding was not in any condition to take scraping. My guess is that it must of sat unpainted for YEARS before they covered over it. It was definitely at the end of its life. We also have a general rules that we don’t do work above the first floor ourselves, although I see that you had a lift. Unfortunately our yard is too steep in most places to fit a lift.

        We definitely have some gaps in the porch flooring (it was tight when we moved in but over the years some gaps have formed). The painters filled the larger gaps with caulk before priming this time. Theoretically it should help minimize water infiltration into the gaps, but I’m not quite sure how this will hold up. I guess only time will tell.

        Glad to hear your wife likes the blog. I’m always glad to find another gardener!

  3. Terry,

    Yes we used the oil primer because of the previous oil floor paint (to ensure adhesion). I would say you should go with a latex primer since you put a latex primer below and the Tred-Plex is also a latex based product. Then everything is latex based. Not sure which one would be best (I didn’t investigate the latex primer options).

    As for color, that is a tough one. The brick red was too dark for us (it made the space feel gloomy) plus it made the floor heat up more (less comfortable for bare feet). We went with the light green because it went with the rest of our color scheme and I thought gray was boring. We also went with a sky blue ceiling.

    I give you a lot of credit for scrapping your whole Victorian! We have had most of the siding replaced and painted (by others). We did scrape the siding under the porch and paint it ourselves but the rest of the house was covered with fake brick and asbestos siding. After our contractor removed those we evaluated the original siding and most of it wasn’t salvageable. Plus we were missing all of the stick work. So for the majority of the house we used fiber cement clapboards, azek stick pieces and cedar half rounds and half hexagon (back primed). For all of that we used latex primer and paint (MAB Seashore latex paint).The only thing I have since learned is that it is not advisable to paint the azek a dark color because it causes it to expand and contract quite a bit. We have had a couple of these stick pieces “pop” and have had to screw them back down.

    I would love to see pictures of your house, but facebook won’t let me look at the pictures.

    Good luck!

    • Hello Heidi,
      Glad to see you made it threw Irene ok. Didn’t realize you were that far over (east that is). My wife LOVES the flower pics and the photo of the shed with the flower garden surrounding it, Great!!. We have not had rain in a couple months, at least not enough to amount to any thing. Now the flowers and plants just don’t have the glow they normally do. She actually had me cut some down cause she was spending so much time trying to water and weed. They were looking pretty bad with the heat and dry conditions anyhow. We still have plenty to come around for fall. Anyhow keep up the good work the house looks great.

      We are also still working on our porch. Crazy I know, In fact we still haven’t painted. We were pretty busy this summer with things at home, and then got busy at work and so on and so on….. Long story short we still haven’t finished. I do have the floor laid and have been installing columns the last couple days. I am planning on painting next weekend. I still plan on using the Tredplex but the SW guy is telling me I don’t need a primer. The fact sheet on the product shows to use one but if I can save the money…. So anyhow I am curious if you guys used a primer. From your posts looks like you did but I thought I would still ask. Of course I am curious how the tredplex is still holding up. Last time we talked, you mentioned the only issue you all had was the porch was getting dirty quicker then normal. Well I better get back to work. Ill let you know when I post some new pics on FB.

      • Hi Terry,

        Yes it appears that we have all the rain that the rest of the county could use! Plus more flood watches this week. I haven’t seen anything like it before. I just hope September isn’t as rainy as August. We were well over 20″ for the month. I cleaned up the porch this weekend with some water and a big broom. I didn’t get out there with any heavy duty soap yet. There are definitely some dirt marks from the walk off mat and a few other places. The tredplex definitely seems to hold more dirt, I think because it is a rougher texture than the previous paint. So far it seems to be holding up well, although we are still pretty early in the process.

        We used an oil primer (because we had oil based porch paint underneath). I would think that you would be okay without a primer in your case, although I always try to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when possible. If you use a primer I would use a water based primer. You could also water down the first coat to help it absorb into the wood better.

        I enjoyed your photos of facebook! Your family has been very busy on your house! We haven’t managed to get much done lately.

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