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How to Keep Your Porch Paint from Peeling

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Excessive moisture, as well as improper paint application, can lead to paint peeling on your porch. And depending on your porch setup, chances are you’ll need some tips on how to keep the peeling from happening. 

Applying sealers and primers when you paint your porch and painting when the weather isn’t too cold or hot are good ways to avoid paint peeling. It also helps to properly sand and clean your porch before you paint it. 

In this article, we’re going to unpack several effective ways to help prevent the paint from peeling off of your porch. This can be a pesky problem, so having the right insight will help you to nip it in the bud. Keep reading, and let’s get into it!

7 Ways to Keep Your Porch Paint from Peeling

Most of the reasons that paint starts to peel on porches have to do with not painting it correctly in the first place. This can be due to issues such as forgetting to seal the paint, not removing old paint before new applications and more. We’re covering the following tips to prevent paint peeling:

  1. Thoroughly Clean Your Porch Before Painting It
  2. Remove the Old Paint First
  3. Paint During the Right Weather Conditions
  4. Paint During the Right Moisture Conditions
  5. Prime Your Porch Surface Before Painting It
  6. Seal the Porch After Painting It
  7. Don’t Paint Before It’s Supposed to Rain

1. Clean Before Painting

Stylish fall decor for the front porch

One of the reasons that paint starts to bubble up and peel off of surfaces is that there is debris trapped beneath it.

For instance, if it’s springtime and your porch has a thin layer of pollen coating it, that could get trapped beneath a layer of paint and lead to issues.

The same is true if the porch has hard-to-see cobwebs, insects, and/or residue on it. 

To ensure that you don’t trap debris beneath your paint application, make sure to thoroughly clean your porch first and let it dry.

You’ll want to sweep off dry debris and larger objects, and then you can hose it down. You may even elect to use a pressure washer to really get rid of dirt. 

Furthermore, wiping down any light fixtures that hang above your porch and removing hanging plants will help too.

This eliminates the possibility of dirt falling from above while painting, and it keeps water from dripping down onto the paint surface. 

2. Remove the Old Paint

Old porch

Another key task you should take on prior to repainting your porch is to remove as much of the old paint as possible. You can do so with:

  • Paint stripper products
  • Etching solutions
  • Paint scrapers

You have to be careful when doing this because you don’t want to damage the surface (especially if it’s wood).

However, you can use a scraper or similar abrasive device to scrape off the surface. Or, if you have a concrete porch, you can elect to remove the old paint with an acidic solution. 

Once you’ve manually removed as much of the old paint as you can, you also want to take a sanding device to the porch if it’s wood.

Sanding will not only get off hard-to-reach paint flecks; it will also help to make the porch more evenly surfaced for when you paint it. And the little grooves that sanding creates also help the paint to adhere better. 

3. Paint During Good Weather

Men Painting Backyard Wooden Planter with Protectant Oil

If you don’t paint your porch at the right time, it won’t matter how well you’ve cleaned it beforehand. Applying paint in temperatures that are either too hot (above 85 degrees F) or too cold (below 60 degrees F) will alter the way the paint adheres. 

Whether you’re using oil- or latex-based paints, the right temperature will vary, so it’s a good rule of thumb to stay within this range.

Otherwise, paint won’t be able to evenly attach to the wood or concrete surface and may eventually start to bubble up and peel in those spots. This is why most people elect to paint their porches in the summertime or during the spring months. 

Keep in mind that certain paint products may say that they’re usable in low temperatures. This doesn’t mean much considering the fact that they won’t dry well in those low temperatures and actually need warmth and dryness. 

4. Paint During the Right Moisture

rustic porch with forest and waterfront view

Just as the temperature is super important when painting your porch, so is the moisture level outside. Paints are pretty finicky, and they won’t dry properly or adhere to the porch if it’s too humid outside. 

You should ideally wait at least 5-8 hours after a porch surface has dried to do any painting. This means you may need to wait a day or so after a big rain, and you definitely need to wait some time after you’ve washed the porch surface. 

If it’s too wet outside or within the wood/concrete, tiny water droplets could get caught beneath the paint coating.

Paint can actually trap the moisture there because it’s made of plastics and oil-based substances.

If this occurs, it may lead to peeling in the future when the paint dries and is not stuck to the porch. 

Furthermore, trapping moisture into wood (if you have a wood porch) is never a good thing, as it can lead to rotting down the line. This makes the wood susceptible to all sorts of maladies that you want to avoid. 

5. Prime Your Porch First

Deck maintenance apply stain on wooden decking

Another important step when painting a porch to avoid peeling is to prime the surface first. Just like it’s recommended to prime your indoor walls before painting them, your porch needs the same treatment.

A primer is specially designed to help the paint adhere properly to the surface (especially wood surfaces). It really helps the paint to adhere to all parts of the porch at the same rate, resulting in a better drying time. 

And chances are, since this is an outdoor floor surface, it isn’t super even to begin with. So having that extra help from the primer is essential. 

For example, Rust-Oleum wood primer  is a common product that people use to help the top coat of paint adhere to the porch. This means less peeling due to the surface beneath the paint.

Products like this are marketed as something you can use on a damp or dry porch surface. However, to play it safe, you should wait until the surface is completely dry first. 

6. Seal the Porch Paint

Using Silicone Sealants

Another factor that people don’t often think about is how much moisture your porch will come in contact with after the paint dries.

It’s important to eliminate moisture beneath the paint to prevent peeling. But it’s also important to eliminate moisture from getting into the paint from above. 

Whether it rains a lot where you live or not, your porch is going to get wet sometimes. Because of this fact, you need to apply a coat of sealant after the paint has fully dried.

Sometimes, this means you’ll use an actual sealant. Other times, you might opt for a varnish or stain product, but a sealant is the sure-fire way to lock the moisture out. 

When it comes to painting your porch, you want a sealant product that’s specifically designed to go over the top coat of paint. Rain Guard Paint Sealer is a great go-to product that will get the job done and prevent absorption of water. 

Note that you may need to apply these products regularly, such as once a year, to maintain the water-guarding effect.  

7. Don’t Paint Before Rain

It’s great to cover your bases and make sure that it hasn’t rained recently before you get to work painting. It’s also great to make sure that the porch is dry before you add primer and paint coatings. However, this won’t matter much if you haven’t checked about the rain following the painting process.

Keep in mind that porch paint can take several hours up to a day to fully dry. And that’s not including the time it takes for the primer coat to dry beforehand and the sealant coat to dry afterward. 

This is why it’s essential to look over the weather schedule in your location before you start this project and find the perfect window of time.

Look for a period of a few days in a row when it won’t rain or get overly windy, and start your project then.

House facade with blue door, porch, staircase and courtyard

Final Thoughts

Wondering how to keep your porch paint from peeling? Worry not, as there are several key steps you can take in the painting process to prevent the likelihood of this issue. 

A porch needs to be thoroughly cleaned, washed, dried, sanded, and prepped for painting before you start. You also need to make sure that you apply a primer before a paint coat and a sealant following the paint coat. 

The biggest culprit that leads to paint peeling on porches is moisture that gets trapped beneath the paint or makes its way through the paint. So, if you can put into action our above suggestions to keep the moisture out, you should minimize the possibility of paint peeling.


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