Live in Michigan. Have a large deck needed to be re-painted black. Last year I painted it and it is already peeling everywhere. Starting from step 1- prep- to last step - sealing - how do I do this project properly?

  • I think you are stuck scraping and repainting until you replace it. I know of no stain that will adhere to paint. I put in a compost many ears back and it looks almost new, no maintenance. It cost more but I have gotten that back many times because of the minimal maintenance (none so far) needed.
    – Gil
    Apr 14, 2022 at 20:50
  • 4
    In the Great Lakes states, decks never really get dry. Even in the summer you get condensation every night that goes right into the wood. I have to wait til afternoon to paint vertical things, and decks are horizontal so they never dry. Also, why do you want black? That will gobble up all the solar heat and become too hot to walk on, it'll get hot like an L.A. sidewalk, fry an egg on it. It will also show flaws like crazy. Apr 14, 2022 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


You note that it needs to be re painted, so it was painted once, and will probably look bad until it's painted again.

The key to a good paint job is, as always, the prep work:

  • Remove all loose paint by scraping or sanding as necessary.
    • If there's any chance of lead in the paint (there won't be if the oldest paint is from about 1990 or newer), take proper precautions if you sand.
  • Remove all loose substrate. i.e. get up any loose wood, splinters, dirt, other crud that settles on a deck over time.
    • Depending on the condition of the decking, it might be worthwhile renting a floor sander to give the whole thing a smooth, clean finish.
    • Note that a floor sander will attack the screws holding the decking down, if it's face screwed.
  • Get a good quality wood primer.
  • Make sure that the wood is dry enough for the primer to stick. You'll probably need to talk to the paint store to find out how dry "dry enough" is, but at a minimum, you'll probably need 3-4 days with no moisture on it.
    • That's days without rain and days without morning dew
  • Give it a good coat of primer. Wait the specified amount of time for the primer to dry.
  • Give it a coat or two of a quality floor paint. Floor paint is designed to better take the abuse of feet, shoes & furniture than wall paint is and will give your paint job the best hope of lasting longer.
    • Make sure the primer and the surface are dry enough for the top coats. Again, this means waiting days after rain and/or dew.

My nephew does deck construction & maintenance. His company always recommends against painting or even staining decks as it never lasts as long as people want it to. They will paint or stain if the customer insists, but they're always back in just a couple of years to redo the coating. Instead, they recommend simply applying a water sealer, which is what I did to mine. It's been 3 years so far, and I can still see water beading on my deck, even after the torrential downpours we've had the last few days. He suggests testing the sealer (according to manufacturer's instructions - basically, if water beads, it's still good), and says that it'll generally last 5-7 years between coats in Indiana. Once you've got the old paint stripped, you may consider going with a sealer instead of paint.

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