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“Painters for Front Porch Stairs?”

by Prince Of Petworth September 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm 15 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user StreetsofWashington

“Checking to see if anyone has recommendations for a good local business that paints front porches for a reasonable price. House is in Petworth/Columbia Heights – and we just need the concrete stairs painted, as they’re starting to peel like a bad sunburn. Thanks in advance for any leads!”

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  • AMDCer

    Great photo choice! I had no idea there was once a painter in that house.

  • Paul

    You can find “porch paint” for concrete at Annie’s Ace or another hardware store. It’s a very simple DIY or handyman job, so I would recommend Task Rabbit.

    Does anyone have a recommendation on a contractor to re-point the mortar on stone front steps? Had 5-6 DC contractors flake out or give insanely high estimates for that.

    • AnonV2

      Note that it’s not just a matter of repainting. You will need somebody to power wash the old paint off and maybe etch the old concrete with acid so the new paint will adhere well. If this isn’t done thoroughly your new paint will just start flaking off within the year.
      RE: repointing. Companies who specialize in this (“architectural restoration”) usually only want to deal with larger jobs since that is what the crews do and is the most efficient use of their time. Looks for recs for an independent mason in your neighborhood. Repointing a small section of wall isn’t rocket science (I learned to do it myself after getting similarly outrageous quotes for a small section of our driveway wall)

      • also anon

        Exactly. I looked into painting our concrete patio myself and it sounded very complicated if you want to do it correctly so it doesn’t start peeling off again. It seemed like a multi-day process to treat the concrete first and then paint it. I’m interested in recommendations as well.

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      For small re-point job: KR3 Commercial Masonry & Waterproofing LLC. Kevin Randolph was amazing to work with and did a great job.

    • OP Here. Paul – many thanks to you and the posters below about DIY-ing this. I’m a big fan of Annie’s and DIY – however, we did that last year and are paying for our incompetence now. Went through the whole power-washing, treating, painting ourselves – and it just didn’t last. As such, this time round, we’re happy to pay for the services of a pro. But certainly appreciate all the suggestions!

      • NEDC

        It is worth another try DIY… you just have to be very particular about the prep. Spray Krud Kutter, wait about 15-20 mins, pressure-wash, and wait for it to dry COMPLETELY before doing anything else. Use a really thick coat of primer, and paint within 1 hour of priming (I used Valspar paint and primer from Lowes, 2 coats, waited about an hour between coats).

        Apparently the primer loses its umph if you wait too long to paint, and if you don’t use the Krud Kutter, everything above that won’t adhere properly. It was just a one-day effort and and is holding up great. I’m not an especially handy person…. just needed a little patience. Hope that helps and good luck!!

  • PettyShabazz


    Check out Acclaim home Services. They do great work at a reasonable price.

  • Rich

    This is a more complicated question than it looks. A lot of paint will not hold up to snow shoveling, salt, etc. Prep is going to be more than power washing. You should do some homework about products. Unless you have lots and lots of steps, most places and the average handyman-type will put you low on their job priorities.

    Have gone through this multiple times as a condo board member. We’ve used commercial painters and worked with a concrete person–both have had limitations in terms of what they know and what the results are.

    Do your homework about products and prep before talking to anyone.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I don’t disagree with you, but the cost of DIY is so minimal and the penalty for screwing up is so minimal that I’d DIY first, and if dissatisfied with the results (appearance or durability), then consider bringing in a pro.

  • You can do this the hard way, or…

    My $.02 – I would scrape off the loose (old paint) and throw on some new paint. Will it peel in a year? Maybe. Will it cost $20 and take 15 minutes? Yup.

  • takomanorpark

    From my hard-won experience: Make sure to test if there’s any lead paint in the area. You can get basic lead tests at the hardware store or online. Hopefully the most recent layers aren’t but there may be some below. If that’s the case, make sure you get a professional who knows how to handle it correctly (chemically strip or encapsulate). It’s more expensive but in my opinion worth it, especially if you have kids or plan to. Seeing peeling paint on porches & stairs now makes me cringe.

    • TK2

      We are in an basement row house that was almost completely renovated–the inside of the utility/laundry closet has new utilities but the old paint was left on the brick walls. It’s now heavily peeling with piles of peeled paint on the floor around washer/dry/ac/etc. Not easily accessible, but definitely in the closet. Should we have that tested and taken care of or is it fine as long as it’s not being touched?

      • takomanorpark

        I’m not an expert but if there are kids anywhere in your home you should definitely not leave piles of peeled paint on the floor, even in a closet. I’m paranoid by nature, but I would worry about particles moving in the air supply given the proximity to the AC. I would definitely test the painted walls (all layers you can see) and if there’s lead, consider your options. Sometimes stripping paint can end up kicking up more lead particles than just encapsulating (covering it up). Either way if you decide to do something I recommend involving a professional. DC DDOEE has a list of approved lead-abatement contractors, and a lot of them are regular paint companies that are also certified in remediation. FWIW, our 1927 duplex was completely gutted and renovated, and we still found lead paint in several places – front stoop, stair woodwork, back door frame, and (most frustratingly) in our soil.


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