Learn how to avoid peeling paint on a concrete foundation. Find out why you should only use epoxy paint on a cement foundation and why good drainage is important to stopping peeling exterior paint.
LESLIE: In Tennessee you can find The Money Pit on WFHG like Herb does. What’s happening at your house?
HERB: Yes, ma’am. (clearing throat) Now I’ve got a house made in about 1958 and on the foundation – I guess it was block and it’s been painted probably eight (chuckling) – no telling how many times and …
LESLIE: (chuckling) A lot, I bet.
HERB: … it seems like even after we scrape it and repaint it , it gets moisture in behind it and bubbles up. But it’s not reactive, I don’t think, with the type of paint we’re using. So what would you suggest?
TOM: Is this paint coming off on the inside of the wall or the outside of the wall?
HERB: The outside of the lower foundation.
TOM: OK. Well, if you have a lot of coats of paint on there, then you’re not getting any adherence here and that’s why it’s coming out.
LESLIE: Because it’s only sticking to the old paint, not to the concrete.
TOM: Right. And so, what you’re going to need to do is you’re going to need to get that paint off of there and strip that paint off of there. And then I would recommend an epoxy paint, Herb. Not anything else but epoxy. Because epoxies are the only ones that are really going to stick to the concrete  block. And if you do that – if you get the old paint off and use an epoxy paint on the outside after that – now you have a half a chance of having a real durable surface that’s going to work for you for the long haul. And whatever you can do to improve your drainage  around that area is going to lessen the amount of water that’s being drawn into the concrete block as well. So …
HERB: That’s what I wondered; if it’s – do you think it’s as much as what’s being drawn into the block …
TOM: Oh, absolutely.
HERB: … as what’s hitting the surface?
TOM: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. More so even because it’s coming in from underneath …
LESLIE: … and deteriorating what is holding on the new paint, which is all the old paint. So if you can control the moisture – you know, check your gutters. Do you have gutters? Are they clean ?
HERB: Yeah, we’ve got gutters but I might put an extension top on maybe one of them that …
TOM: That’s a good idea, Herb. You know, concrete is very hydroscopic. If you had a concrete column that was six inches in diameter solid concrete and you had an unlimited source of water below, water would run up that concrete column to a height of 5,000 feet before the weight stopped it.
TOM: So that’s how strong the force of capillarity is with concrete.
HERB: The key is going to be the epoxy paint.
TOM: That’s right.
HERB: And it won’t take long to know if I’ve got it applied right, will it?
TOM: (laughing) No.
LESLIE: (chuckling) No, you’re right.
TOM: No, it won’t.
HERB: (laughing) I’ve got an air compressor so I may wear out an air drill using a wire brush on the end of that. I know that’ll get down to it.
TOM: Better you wear out the equipment than you wear yourself.
LESLIE: Than your elbow. (chuckling) Exactly.
TOM: Herb, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.