So Whatever Happened to Those Peeling, Bubbling Columns…

Welcome to the 622nd Metamorphosis Monday, a blog party sharing fabulous Before and Afters!

Last October, I shared some photos of my front porch columns and the developing issue I’ve had with them over the past year. It has been quite a few years since the porch was last painted. Trying to remember–I think I may have had it painted once since it was added on in 2008, but maybe it was just pressure washed. Can’t remember now. Anyway, the porches (front porch and screened porch) always seem to need painting before the house does–not sure why.

So here’s how the columns on the front porch looked last October–October 2019.

Bubbling Paint on Porch Columns

 

In a few places the paint was bubbling up and I was able to just peel it right off. I have a feeling the painters who painted the porch right after it was added to my home, must not have primed the columns before painting them, although I’m not sure how they lasted for 10+ years if that was the case. Once the paint started bubbling up, I noticed the columns seemed to get dirty/mildewed very quickly. It’s like everything about the paint was going down hill fast.

Peeling Porch Columns

 

It took me a long time to find a company that I trusted to do the work. Most of the paint company representatives/estimators who came out to give me an estimate seemed perplexed over exactly what needed to be done to fix the columns. I wanted them to look beautiful, just like the day they were installed. I suggested having the columns stripped down to the bare column, but none of the paint companies I talked to wanted to do that. They said it would take too long and be too much work…and these were companies with great online reviews!

I ended up choosing two different companies over the space of several months, both with excellent reviews. But I learned the hard way both times that the person a paint company sends out to give you an estimate is nothing but a salesman whose only goal seems to be to win your job, then the painters who actually show up to do the work, seem to be completely unaware of any issues or really anything that was discussed during the estimate appointment. Grrrr!

I fired two painting companies before they even got started for that very reason. The salesperson/estimator talked a great talk but then the day the painters showed up, they were clueless to anything we had talked about regarding the columns. Not only did they not have any knowledge about what the estimator/representative had promised, in both cases the painters spoke little to no English, so communication was impossible.

I finally chose a company that has been in business for 17 years but the thing that really sold me on them was their warranty. They have a 5-year warranty where all the other companies I had hired (and then fired before they even started) only offered a 2-year warranty. I believed the salesperson when he promised me if there were any problems, they would keep coming back until they were fixed to my satisfaction.

The day the painting guys arrived, they seemed somewhat aware of the column issues. They also spoke and understood English so we could talk about how they were going to approach the peeling columns. In the end, once the job was complete, I was not happy with how the columns looked. The finish wasn’t smooth and silky as it had been when they were first painted many years ago. They had “rolled” the columns and they looked unprofessionally painted, like something you would see done on walls with a large nap roller. You can see some of that in the photo below. (Ignore the black specks–Hurricane Zeta had just blown through the day before I took these photos and stuff was stuck all over my house, including the columns. It all came right off.)

 

Also, as soon as we had a few rainy days, the paint began bubbling back up again.

 

Argggh! You can see how poor the paint job was in the photo below.

 

I called the company and they immediately set a date to come right back out. Unfortunately, the weather and my availability kept causing the date to get pushed out. But when the weather and our schedules finally aligned just before Thanksgiving, they came back out and completely redid all the columns. The guys they sent out this time were their “touch-up” crew and they did such a great job! They completely sanded everything all the way back down and this time the columns were spray painted.

 

Unfortunately, I’m not home right now where I can take photos of the finished columns for you, but here’s a few photos I snapped a few weeks before Christmas to show how the cedar garland I hung looks from inside. I love that about garland, it’s not just beautiful from the outside of a home, but you also get to enjoy it from the inside.

 

Anyway, the columns look beautiful now and last time I looked, there was absolutely no bubbling up of the paint–even after it rained for several days in a row.  The finish is now silky smooth and they look like they did the day they were first painted back in 2008.

 

I’ll have to remember to take some close up photos to add to this post. The paint on the columns is completely smooth now, looks like a professional job! I told the touch-up guys that I wish they had been the crew that was sent out in the beginning. He said, “That’s what everyone says.”

Wreaths on Windows, Christmas Decor

 

I wanted to share this story with you because I want to encourage you to never settle, no matter what it is that you’re having done to/in your home. Our homes are often our biggest investment and when we hire experts to come in and correct an issue, we shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than a professional job.

I feel comforted by the fact that if the bubbling paint issue returns, I have a great 5-year warranty and I know I’m dealing with a company that (at least so far) is true to their word and will come back out and make it right.

Benjamin Moore Heritage Red Paint, Christmas Porch

 

Looking forward to all the wonderful Before and Afters linked for this week’s Met Monday!

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Comments

  1. Wow – I’m so glad you stood up for yourself and got what you wanted! I’ve had many such issues too, and they’re so frustrating. They do look beautiful now, and congrats on finding a good company (so far!) 🙂 Happy New Years Week – see you on Thursday!

  2. What are the columns themselves made of? To me, it looks like dampness is somehow getting under the paint and making it bubble.

    • They are fiberglass that were supposedly pre-primed, although painters say that none of the preprimed fiberglass columns hold up unless primed by the painter before painting. Not sure if mine were initially or not. They lasted many, many years before peeling, though.

  3. Sandra D in Joliet says

    Let’s hope for the best. My garage peeled very badly on the South side and I finally got tired of looking at it. I used a power sander to sand it down, got the dust off it and finally used Kilz primer before painting it. That was a lot of work! It didn’t last one year so I gave in and got siding which I’m not crazy about but it looks much better. I couldn’t afford painters and not sure what they would have done to keep it from bubbling and peeling. Today I would try Glidden Gripper. I think someone used it over cabinets that had oil based paint on them and recommended it. I used it on some lawn furniture and it seems much better but I didn’t know about it back then. Some surfaces need to cure for 30 days before painting so it’s important to read the instructions. I also like the smooth look over the rough pebbly look.

  4. Got to wonder why the company doesn’t have the touch-up crew teach the show-up crew how to do the job the right way in the first place.

  5. carol springsteen says

    I have had similar problem and you would be surprised at what the painters are telling you. A good one will understand the problem and tell you what type of paint to use. The last two told me the same thing and that is to use a white stain (I questioned that) and they said one type goes over just like paint and seals great. I had new wood so I let it sit for 5 years before painting and it peeled so I believe it will have a painter do the stain. Sherwin Williams can tell you who are the best painters. I always sue them because I have been burned….I even thought of marine paint because they paint subs while at sea and they both said the stain is the best….Get a sample and try a spot your self before having it done….c

  6. Lorelei Troup says

    I, too, have had trouble getting good help! It is frustrating because it is expensive and then you get a poor job anyway. It was interesting that when I asked about painters in my local paint store that the manager asked ‘inside painting or outside’ and he gave me a different name for each job. I am very pleased with my ‘inside’ painter!

  7. An issue common here is that the workers say they know how to do any job whether they do or not. Especially when times are tough. Luckily, labor is inexpensive here especially compared to north of the border.

    Besides that issue there is a language barrier occasionally. I hope this solution is your final one. I have 5 rescue dogs who hate workers and I can’t stand the commotion when one is around so I put off work because of that.

    One other problem is Mexicans fix EVERYTHING. If you have a broken radio, put it on the sidewalk and it disappears. I had a shower head I hated so I got a new one. The plumber insisted on soaking the old one in vinegar to get rid of mineral deposits. “Just like new, Senora” he says proudly. I gave up and got another plumber to install the one I bought.

  8. This is the very thing I love about you and your blog…..you don’t settle for less than perfection!! Plus you always give great information! You have the tenacity of a bulldog! And now as a result, you have a beautiful paint job on your columns! Happy New Year!

  9. Atta Girl!!! “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” my grandmother always told me. And services are not the same prices anymore, either. When it’s good work and I’m satisfied it was done right, I always tip them a little more and let the company know how pleased I am.

  10. So glad you got this resolved. You’re right, we have to keep hounding the contractors until things are finished completely and professionally. This saga of yours, honestly, brings back bad memories of our balcony issues. We finally ended up having to have the entire thing rebuilt – bubbling, leaking, mold, etc. I don’t miss that stuff at all. Of course, we still have maintenance, but it is much reduced. It does look beautiful in the photos you did capture with the garland.

  11. Happy New Year!

    XO-MaryJo

  12. I hope you had a lovely Christmas!!
    Thanks so much for hosting each week! I know how much time it takes so it is greatly appreciated!!!
    Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

  13. SO glad you got your paint fixed…it is so annoying when things don’t turn out how they are supposed to…but glad it all worked out in the end.

  14. The college I used to work at had the same problem on the front of one building. Every year the paint would bubble up and peel off and they would repaint every year. Seemed so silly. I thought maybe the walls needed to be sealed somehow. It looks very similar to your problem but yours is smaller scale!

  15. Have a happy new year, and thanks for hosting a great party all year long!

  16. Nancy Brantley says

    So glad you got the columns right. I absolutely hate for someone to tell me a lie just for money!!! Don’t businesses know that being honest keeps you in business and you will make more money??!!!

  17. don’t you wonder why the “touch up” crew isn’t the first crew to come out and do the job right the first time. Just asking. lol rls

  18. Hard to find a professional in any trade today. Mostly, it’s on the job training. I have a friend who was a painter until recently. He is 90 !
    Happy New Year to you and your family Susan.

  19. Tina W Reynolds says

    Susan, your home is classically beautiful! Your message is important: your home is your largest investment…don’t settle! I live in a very old house, built in 1886. Many companies don’t want to work on it. Things are always tough and complex! I would say that 99% of contractors don’t know HOW to work on it. I’ve had difficult times even getting estimates for things that really need to be addressed. Two years ago we were taken by surprise by a massive roof leak. Getting a new roof put on was a project with many twists and turns. It included an entire crew that did not have even one English speaker. I should have known things would not go well when the tear-off crew arrived and half of them were young girls! And this comes from a well-reviewed, ‘reputable’? company. They climbed the two stories to the high roof with pitch forks and shovels. then, after 10 minutes, pitchforks began being thrown down from the roof! Long story short…they wanted more money than the salesman had promised them. things went downhill from there. We did get the company to send another crew, but that took an additional 2 months, all while the roof was leaking. 5 rooms of the house suffered damage, 2 profoundly. When the time came to repair the damages in the dining room,we got 4 estimates, none satisfactory either in confidence of the plasterer/painter or costs! It has taken us nearly 3 years of research and then slow work to finish it. I learned how to safely climb on scaffolding so that I could do the crown molding. Our grandson did help with the ceiling, and did a fine job! I am happy to say that we used the dining room for Christmas and I am so happy with our results. No one cares about your home as much as you do. I would also make the point that as we have twice experienced dire financial difficulties in our business, we turned to our home to be the collateral for the loans we needed. So, one’s home may carry the weight of so much…your entire life and the lives of your employees may depend upon it, so, it is best to get the most professional repairs that you can! Safe and Happy New Year to your and your loved ones!

  20. Cyndi Raines says

    Good for you Susan! You can hang tough and now you have beautiful pillars to show for it! Kudos to you! Looking forward to another year with you and prayerfully a better 2021.

  21. Susan, I’m just like you, I’m very picky about a paint job. And I absolutely hate that rolled “orange peel” effect. I tell painters ahead of time that I will not stand for that and if I see it they’ll have to start over or not get paid. My other pet peeve is seeing brush marks on woodwork, and when painters get paint on things like door knobs and hinges and don’t completely get it clean. I point out up front that they’ve got to do better than that. I’m glad you had them sprayed, that’s usually what I insist on too when it’s woodwork. Cross fingers it doesn’t bubble.

    • Thanks, Robin! I was thinking a few days ago when I start having some work done inside, I’m going to do exactly what you said. I’m going to tell them upfront what my expectations are regarding the finish and I’ll be sure to add about not leaving paint on knobs, windowpanes, etc… That’s so smart to state it right up front!

      • Susan, I’ll usually just say, in a nice voice, that I am very very picky about paint. That sets the tone for the rest of the conversation. I’ll tell them I do not want to see paint where paint shouldn’t be. And all other details. And then it’s not me having to criticize after the fact.

  22. Susan, the columns look beautiful, and I’m so glad you have a good warranty with people who know what they’re doing. We had our house painted about 3 yrs ago, and hubs insisted they come back to redo some things he wasn’t happy about. Language barriers can be a problem, too. But they made things right, and we’re happy with the outcome. You’re right about salesmen — they don’t always translate the details to the subs!

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