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How to Paint a Deck With Peeling Paint

How to Paint a Deck With Peeling Paint

Peeling paint not only exposes the surface underneath to weather elements that can degrade and damage it. Peeling deck paint will not only reduce the lifespan of your decking material, but it is also unsightly. And what better way to spruce up your backyard for summer than by repainting a deck with peeling paint.

How to prep a deck for painting

Before you can repaint a peeling deck, you have to strip the peeling paint to enable the new paint to adhere to the deck surface. This may several steps depending on the kind of paint used and the state of the peeled paint. Here are the recommended steps to help prepare the deck for repainting;

Clean the deck

Start by cleaning the deck using soap and water to remove any grease stains, caked-on debris, and any other foreign matter that may hinder the proper coating of the deck plants with paint. In some cases, simply scrubbing the deck should get the job done.

However, if you have not cleaned your deck in a while or developed a patina due to exposure to the weather elements, it may need pressure washing for a thorough clean. Do not pressure wash deck material that is not sturdy enough to withstand the water pressure.

The aim is to remove any caked-on dirt, grease, and any other matter that will affect the paint job. You can use a stiff nylon brush to scrub the wood planks to avoid damaging them. You can also use a jet nozzle for a minor power wash effect.

Use a commercial deck cleaner as it is designed to remove grime, debris, and dirt. Use a manufacturer-recommended cleaner to avoid damaging the deck. You can also use a brightener if your deck has greyed to brighten the wood grain. Lastly, treat the wood for mold and mildew if necessary.

Strip the deck

Next, you need to strip the deck planks of old paint to have a uniform coat when you repaint them. You also need to remove all the loose paint that is peeling off. To do this, you can use a wire brush while exerting minimal pressure to dislodge the pain without denting the wood.

Use light sweeping strokes to remove the peeling paint before turning to more severe methods. If this does not work, switch to a scraper. Use a flat scraper for flat surfaces and a curved scraper for any notched bits and nooks. Position the flat scraper at an angle while scraping off the paint.

Angling the scraper allows the scraper to slip beneath the loose paint chips and dislodge them. You should also use minimal pressure to avoid chipping the wood. For the curved scraper, use pulling motion instead of pushing to remove the loose paint chips.

If your deck is stained, use a deck stain remover to remove the stain. Let the remover soak into the stain for at least 15-30 minutes for best results. Then use a brush to scrub off the stain. Rinse it thoroughly before proceeding to the next step.

Sand the deck

Before you start the sanding, reset any loose screws and nails and repair any wood planks if necessary. You can use sandpaper to sand the deck, but a power sander is more convenient. It also delivers more consistent results. For better manual sanding results, use a sanding sponge.

Use coarse stripping pads to sand any tough paint and a stripping disc on discolored potions that are only stained. This step is necessary if you want to get paint to stick to your deck.

How to remove paint from a deck without chemicals

You can use several methods to remove paint or stain from your deck without using a commercially made paint or stain remover. The prepping techniques such as power washing, scraping, and sanding can successfully remove paint from a deck without chemicals.

There are also other natural methods you can use to remove deck paint. These include;


The vinegar will not remove the paint like a paint remover; it will soften it, making it easy to scrape off. Apply a layer of warm vinegar on the painted deck using a brush and let it sit sot a few minutes. Then remove the paint once it has softened.


This method may lead to wood warping, which will end up damaging your deck. It is best used on a composite material that is heat resistant such as composite deck planks. You also need to be careful to avoid steam burns when using this method. Wearing protective clothing is advised.

Heat gun

Do not use this method on lead-based paint as the toxic fumes are harmful to your health. Be sure to wear protective clothing when using a heat gun to remove paint. You will also need a scraper to remove the melting paint as it softens.


This method is similar to the heat gun as it used heat to soften the paint, making it easy to scrape off. The heat generated is lower than heat guns and steam strippers. You cannot use the infrared heater on metal and glass.

Can you paint over peeling paint on a deck?

Yes. But the paint will not last as long as it would if you strip the old paint before painting. Additionally, the result will look lumpy and have a textured or ridged appearance. Lastly, the ridges will trap dirt and water, which will eventually damage the deck wood.

How to repaint a deck without stripping

To refinish a peeling deck, start by removing loose paint chips by scraping them off or scuff sanding. Then wash the deck to remove dirt and grease, which will prevent the paint from adhering to the deck. Let it dry completely, which should take a couple of days before painting the deck.

You can use a roller to paint if you have a large deck. Let the first coat dry completely before you apply the second layer. Then use a deck sealer to seal the deck to help prolong the life of the newly applied deck paint.

Why does my deck paint keep peeling?

Does your deck paint keep peeling off after a few months? Here are some common causes of peeling deck paint;

Exposure to weather elements

Continuous exposure to UV rays, snow, rain, and mud, will cause tour deck paint to blister and paint. This can be due to moisture penetration of paint degradation over time. This factor is hard to control, but a proper maintenance regimen should help prolong your deck paint.

Improper paint application

If you leave spots without paint or leave the ends of the wood planks unpainted, moisture will seep into the wood, causing the paint to blister and peel. Additionally, applying new layers of paint without letting the previous layer dry can cause the paint to peel off in sheets.

Wrong paint or stain

Using the wrong stain or paint on your deck will lead to paint peeling. This is because furniture paint is not designed for use on heavy traffic surfaces such as decks. Additionally, most furniture paint is meant for indoor furniture, not decks exposed to harsh weather conditions all year long.

Poor maintenance

Proper deck care will go a long way in prolonging the paint’s life. This involves regular cleaning to remove debris as well as caked-on dirt. You also need to ensure furniture placed on the deck does not scratch the paint.


Applying too many coats of stain or paint will cause it to peel. This is because the paint will not dry properly. Causing it to bubble and peel off. If you wish to paint the deck over old paint, ensure the prior coats are completely dry to prevent the shelling of the paint, which is more likely to peel.

No sealer

Sealing your deck is mandatory. This helps to waterproof the deck paint, which reduces the chances of peeling. Ensure you use a deck sealer as it is designed to withstand rain, snow, sleet, dew, and spilled water or drinks.

No prep work

Failure to prep will cause your paint to peel as the paint did not correctly adhere to the wood surface. To ensure your paint lasts longer, you should prep the deck, as discussed above. You should also ensure that the wood is completely dry before you start painting.

Check this too: How to Remove Spray Paint From Glass


Now that you know how to restore a peeling deck, it’s time to fix your deck before summer. Ensure you wear protective clothing while working on your deck, especially when using heated or power tools.