Painting Porch Railings
LESLIE: Peggy in Texas, you find The Money Pit on KFYO and you’re painting. How can we help?
PEGGY: Well, I have a front porch; a large – what we call in Texas a country porch. It’s has a fence around it and the fence has to be painted every other year.
TOM: Fence. You mean a railing.
PEGGY: Yes, a railing. There you go.
TOM: (laughing) I’m trying to imagine what Peggy’s porch looks like surrounded by a fence. It’s kind of odd. (chuckling)
PEGGY: (chuckling) OK.
TOM: Alright. So you’ve got a – you’ve got a nice, big, open, wraparound porch and you’ve got a railing that requires a lot of maintenance.
PEGGY: Yes. And like I say, every other year; it’s just getting costly. I’m wondering is there something else that I can do.
TOM: Sure, there’s synthetic railings that are out there that are awesome. There’s railings that are made out of [errant trained] (ph) PVC. It’s basically …
LESLIE: It’s extruded, right.
TOM: Yeah, it’s extruded PVC. It’s PVC – which is the same material that plumbing pipes are made out of – but they can make different types of moldings out of them and they cut and they shape just like wood. So that’s one option. The other option is to replace it with a composite. Like for example, the composite decking products that are out there have railing systems that work very well and you could replace the wood railing with a composite railing. Or you could use a vinyl product. There are vinyl railing products as well.
So there are a lot of options if you don’t want to paint the railing. But you say you’re painting it every year?
PEGGY: Every other year.
TOM: You know, a paint job should last you five to seven years …
TOM: … if it’s done right.
LESLIE: Yeah, with proper, proper prep – meaning get it down to a natural surface; get rid of all of that buildup of paint, stain, whatever it is you’re using; use a professional stain or a paint remover and get down to some fresh wood and it’ll stick.
TOM: If you put a primer on after you get as much of the old paint off as possible, then the paint job will last you five to seven years. If you keep putting just topcoats on, I can see why it’s not sticking. Because what happens is when you put multiple layers on, they start to delaminate after a while with the moisture that gets in and out of the wood. So, if you take off as much of the paint as you can next time, Peggy, and use a primer and then put the topcoat on, you should get a paint job that lasts you several years. Does that help?
PEGGY: Yes, and I appreciate that.
TOM: Alright, Peggy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.