Peeling Porch Columns & A New Tablescaping Purchase

Welcome to the 559th Metamorphosis Monday!

Happy October to you! Did you have a good weekend? It’s been rainy here but that’s okay because we really need the rain. I wasn’t sure when my Met Monday post was going to go up since I awoke to no internet this morning. Using my phone I checked to see if there was a reported outage and found this. Thankfully it came back up faster than predicted.


Peeling Front Porch Columns

So I’d like to get your thoughts on an issue I’m having with my front porch…specifically the columns. It’s not affecting the rest of the house, just the front porch columns.


Over the last couple of years, the paint has started to peel on the columns. The rest of the house is fine, it’s just happening on the columns which are fiberglass. Also, I’ve noticed lately that the paint on the columns is looking extra dirty, where on the rest of the house, it looks fine. A workman who has occasionally done work at my home has been saying for the past year that he would paint the porch, but he never finds time to work me into his busy schedule. He does a lot of major renovations so painting my porch is pretty low on his priority list, I think.

I can’t wait on him anymore, I hate looking at this, so over the past week, I called several painting companies for estimates and the porch is scheduled to be painted tomorrow. I’m having the whole house pressured washed since it’s been a while since that was done and the painter said it will extend the life of my paint.

So it’s just the columns that are in need of painting. I’m not sure why they look so extra dirty since the rest of the house looks great. The painters will be sanding down the areas that need it on the columns, but I’m concerned this peeling paint issue will continue.

Peeling Porch Columns


I’m also concerned that areas will continue to bubble up as you see happening here. The painters I’ve had out for estimates aren’t sure what’s causing this but have guessed that the columns weren’t primed before they were painted back in 2008 when the porch was built. If that’s the case, it’s pretty amazing that they’ve lasted this long because the peeling issue just started a year or two ago. It has gotten rapidly worse over the past few months.

I’m also worried that the finish won’t be perfectly smooth. I don’t want a pockmarked look as I’ve seen on so many old homes. Often when I’ve taken historical home tours, I’ve noticed where old paint has been painted over many times instead of being properly scraped and sanded? I don’t want that look for my front porch.

So this is the “before and after” that’s happening here right now. Are there any painters out there reading this? Would appreciate your thoughts/recommendations for correcting this issue permanently.

Bubbling Paint on Porch Columns


Before I end this post, I have to share some napkins I purchased recently. They are all cotton, which I love (can’t stand a polyester napkin) and the price is excellent: 12 napkins for $20.99.

They come in a bunch of different colors and I think I’m going to purchase them in a few more colors. I purchased the ones below to use in a future Halloween table setting, but I really like the taupe/white and blue/white color combos, as well. The colors are so pretty! You’ll find them all available here: Buffalo Check Napkins.

Update: I just purchased them in three more colors: blue/white, taupe/white and red, white and blue. The red, white and blue will be so festive for patriotic table settings, especially for the 4th of July!

Orange & Black Buffalo Plaid Napkins for Halloween


Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

Pssst: Did you know Between Naps On The Porch is on Instagram? You’ll find my home and garden postings on Instagram here: Between Naps On The Porch AND my fashion postings here: Under Moonlight and Magnolias.

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  1. Hmmm peeling porch pillars is weird. I have brick pillars, so have never run up against this one. Hope your painters get it fixed! My neighbors have just rebuilt theirs, and are putting gold gilding at the tops – very fancy! 🙂 Love your new napkins and can’t wait to see them in action! Happy Metamorphosis Monday to everyone! ❤️

  2. That is a bummer!! I just hear over and over that ” it’s all about the prep…” That is “the least fun part, though.” Good paint is a given. Good luck! franki

  3. Lovely home! We had a similar issue with bubbling/peeling paint in our bathrooms and laundry room. It is the result of incorrect primer and paint.
    I would go to a good paint store to find out which is the right primer and paint to use. Exterior and fibre glass. And since it is a ‘small job’ ask the owner for a referral to a good but newer painter who would be willing to take it on. Good luck. And maybe the next time the contractor who put you off instead of assigning it to one of his ‘young’ people, to keep you as a client, might get the message.

  4. Good luck with the paint issue. We are about to begin a remodel and exterior painting will be done as well. Our shutters badly need it. They have chipped and pealed in recent years.
    Love the napkins. I have a set of four and a round table cloth in this fabric. Love it for Halloween! I’ll check out the other colors available. Thanks and Happy Monday!

  5. Joyce Ethington says

    Just read your column dilemma….and first response before thoroughly reading your article…”wasn’t primed”.
    Sanding completely is the only option then prime before painting. Paint with primer is “ok”….but won’t last. Rhino Shield by Georgia Coatings is a superior coating that is commonly used as an exterior house paint and lasts 25 yrs.

  6. Is it oil based paint? I’ve had that issue a couple of times. We bought a new back door and went with metal. Sherwin Wms said to prime it and paint with oil based paint. I was skeptical but did as they said. It came out with a beautiful finish. Then the door starting getting mold or algae on it and the frame which is wood started peeling. We sanded and primed it. Didn’t get it painted and the primer started peeling. So we have a mess to fix now. It gets morning sun so I don’t get the issue with the door. Front door is metal and latex paint and not a problem. I think choosing the right primer might be key. I will never use oil based paint again. I’ll be following to see how this works out for you.

    • Oil paint never cures. That’s why when you take a ride out in the rural areas, the houses are always peeling. Your best bet is to use an oil based primer (Kilz or similar) and then use an outdoor 100% Acrylic Paint. Most paints are acrylic, but only a handful are 100% acrylic. Your other option is to use a DTM (Direct to Metal) paint. If you’re a looking for a good DTM, try Behr. Other than Duron, which no longer exists, Behr is a good quality product.
      Good luck!

    • No, it’s not oil paint. It’s Sherwin Williams Duration. Thanks, Sandy!

  7. sandra donahue says

    I always love seeing your new purchases & bargain finds, but up here in Canada, our prices are always so much steeper. I looked up these charming napkins on, our Canadian equivalent, and these same napkins are $212.63!! Just unbelievable. I’ll have to find a more affordable option as I also love cotton dinner napkins.

    • Do a search for buffalo check napkins on There are a number of options – the large cost is for that particular brand. I found a few cotton options that I am exploring right now.

    • Wow, that’s crazy, Sandra! They are def not worth that amount. I hope Chris’s suggestion works!

  8. Old Corvettes were made of fiberglass and they didn’t bubble. Sounds like a primer issue and maybe the primer wasn’t completely dry underneath before painting or the fiberglass wasn’t totally dry. Good luck.

    P.S. I was looking at napkins yesterday on Amazon and saw those. Did you see the ones with spiders all over them?

  9. Thanks so much for hosting each week!!

  10. If you’re having a problem with your fiberglass columns, my suggestions would be to first use a product called TSP (Tri-sodium phosphate) to clean the column. This will rid the dirt and allow any lose and peeling paint to be removed easily.
    If you’re worried about the sanding of the columns not matching, they sell a self leveling primer made by Zinsser, called Bullseye Bin 123. This will fill in between the sanded and painted areas. Once everything’s dry (moisture might be the cause of the bubbles) you should use a 100% Acrylic paint. 100% Acrylic paint has much more resin and isn’t as watered down.
    Unless you want to see your columns crack and peel, I don’t recommend you use an oil based paint. In south Florida, we have a lot of old fashion Cuban painters that love to use oil paint…’s not recommended. It will eventually crack and peel.
    If you paint over oil with latex, you can rest assured it will peel…inside or outside. However, when using a primer you can use an oil based primer and then use a latex paint. NEVER use a latex primer and then an oil based paint.
    When pressure cleaning your brick, there’s a product called JoMax. I highly recommend it. I use it by my pool area to remove the green algae caused by the hedges. If I just pressure wash the area using bleach or chlorine, it returns within 2 months. If I use JoMax and bleach, it doesn’t come back for a minimum of 9 months!
    Good luck!

    • These are great recommendations in the prep area, etc. For maintenance I use 30 Second Outdoor cleaner. When columns discolor or gets algae. Simply mix according to directions in a pump sprayer. Rinse off with water hose. That’s it. It is nontoxic to plants and pets. I use this on my deck, deck furniture, shutters, vinyl siding, sidewalks, etc. you get the idea.

  11. As soon as I how the paint is peeling, I thought, they didn’t prime it first! We have had painters in the past who told us priming is no longer necessary because the paints have improved so much. NOT TRUE! Especially on a fiberglass surface. Even if the paint includes a primer, exteriors should be properly primed before being painted. I would go to Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore and take photos and ask them what would cause this and what kind of paint is the correct primer and paint to use on the fiberglass material. Also, ask them if they have any references for painters who will do a quality job in properly sanding/preparing the surface so that it is smooth.

  12. Loved your new Halloween napkins but I don’t iron. So after you use these and wash them could post again about how bad they wrinkle and iron out. After reading several reviews its seem to be hit or miss with this brand. Thanks and Good Luck on your porch issues.

  13. Hi Susan- a mildewcide agent is easily added to paint at application time to combat the mold/mildew issue. It helps a great deal!

  14. Margaret Bergeron says

    Susan, this is the suggestion I was given to solve this problem with the paint on the fiberglass columns.
    1. Use paint stripper to remove all the paint from the fiberglass.
    2. Wash/clean to completely remove residue from paint stripper (mineral spirits works).
    3. Rough up the column with corse sandpaper #40 or #50.
    4. Wipe off all the dust.
    5. Paint with oil-base primer.
    6. Finish by painting with any paint you want (doesn’t have to be oil-based). (Using a mildewcide agent may reduce adherence of paint.)
    7. If done properly, you should not have future problems with peeling in spots.
    Good luck!

  15. Ugh, brings back bad memories. Our porch was installed in 2004, with columns and upper balcony rails/balustrades made of fiberglass. Ours also trapped the grimy dirt, and eventually peeled (top part of balcony only, not the columns). One balcony piece bubbled terribly with high heat, but we were getting trapped moisture inside the upper pieces right from when it was originally constructed in 2004 (I think because they caulked the heck out of it trying to eliminate poor construction leakage). When we had to have our entire balcony rebuilt in 2016, our guy (a wonderful contractor, unlike many others) sanded ALL the upper pieces of the balcony down (columns were ok, never bubbled, just the upper pieces), and reworked it to allow moisture (previously getting trapped) to seep out by the new design. We did have to have it all repainted in 2016, but it appeared smooth with the sanding. I cleaned the entire balcony 2X year with Awesome (Dollar Tree, it’s fabulous) and water mixture and was able to keep the grime off. That entire porch/balcony was always what I thought to be high maintenance for a material that was supposed to be “no maintenance”. Good luck. I hope it all goes well. Power washing scares me too, simply for blowing out the mortar.

  16. Thank you, Dee. I will try that. Lots of good suggestions here. Susan, I will be interested to see what works on your columns.

  17. I professionally painted for years and can assure you that if they don’t remove all the paint that is on the columns now you could have the same problem down the road. There are several reasons that can cause this problem. Not primed, fiberglass not cured before priming (the column can cure at different rates due the resin mix) or something could have gotten on the column before it was primed (usually something oily, painter eating a sandwich). A very seasoned painter once told me before painting anything other than wood or stucco wipe it down with vinegar. I figured out why years later. The vinegar is an acid so it cleans off any residue and etches the surface so the paint has something to bite. I have used vinegar for years. Hope this helps.

  18. Thank you so much for hosting! Your porch is gorgeous!

  19. Lots of good advice and things to consider!!! I, too, think the primer (or lack thereof) may be a big part of the problem. Maybe the wrong primer was used. I had never heard of the vinegar trick. I’ll be using that! Susan, please do a follow-up on this after to speak to the painter and paint stores and let us know what they say, too. I had a mildew prevention put into the paint for my new cement siding on my house in 2007 and haven’t noticed any adherence problems and I also have not seen any mildew on the siding paint – even the north facing side of the house. I’ve never even had to power wash. Got the paint from Sherwin Williams. Hope you will include if they do/do not recommend mildew prevention and why/why not, too. I always learn so much from your blog and all your followers. Thank you to everyone!!!

  20. Rebecca Butler says

    I was married to a gentleman who worked for a major paint company so I picked up some tips along the way. Re: peeling columns. Every good paint job begins with the right primer. There might be a product that will cover and correct, but you might have to strip columns and start over if the original base coat was incompatible with the composition of the column.Talk to someone at a dedicated paint store like Sherwin William’s. They might send a rep out to look at your house. Also, I can’t see base of columns so I don’t know if they are wicking up moisture from the ground which could be a factor all by itself. (Sherwin William’s also has color consultants that come out to your house).

  21. Cecilia from Georgia says

    Hi Susan, I live in SW Georgia and have the foam columns too. I just got sick of them peeling and mildew so I talked to several professional painters and they said there is little hope for sanding and repainting since they are foam. I just replaced them and now I am happy! The columns are not expensive but the labor can be, expecially in your area. However, labor on scraping and painting can be just as pricey. Good luck!

  22. Prep work can always be an issue. Also, If you clean the exterior with high pressure water or air any thing can happen, if water, a little pin hole can create a problem the same with air,dampness can collect behind the paint. The repair project will have to start from scratch to get a pretty finished look.

  23. Oh Susan,
    so sorry you have to deal with that!
    Considering your great sense of beauty and perfection, I know this must annoy you very much!
    Too bad, even painters don’t know why this happened and what to do! 🙁
    Keeping my fingers crossed, Susan, that your “stubbornness” 😀 and your ability to solve any problem, will make those columns look like new, very soon! 🙂
    PS: I love your front porch, anyway! It’s beautiful, nevertheless! 🙂

  24. Lots of interesting comments! I hope you are able to get your columns finished to your satisfaction.

    I have a question about your tree hydrangeas under the front windows and the evergreens beside your front porch steps. How do you water these potted plants and how often?

  25. Susan, I have always done my own painting and agree with much is being said re the importance of prep and that the columns should really should be totally stripped. However, as they are fiber glass asked my husband (whose hobby is old cars, has owned a few corvettes etc.) and he said; the process used is called ‘soda blasting’ and advised there are those in the paint removal/vehicle restoration business who do such. So perhaps that is another venue you might wish to consider and hopefully it is of help.
    Footnote: For myself for both indoor and outdoor projects that require priming, my go-to primer is Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer/Sealer and it has never failed me.

  26. Hi Susan, Am I late on this one? Your fiberglass columns have been nagging at me — after reading about them along with everyone’s comments, it’s doesn’t seem like a job to be done on the cheap or by someone who hasn’t worked with fiberglass before, who will take your money and just hope for the best.
    Do you have any fiberglass boat hull refinishers in your area? Even an auto body repair/paint person might know how to tackle the job the right way, using the right products.
    I would look on YouTube for auto/boat fiberglass refinishing videos — get to know the lingo — and then check the paint stores. That way you’ll know if the paint people have right products.
    Maybe contact the column manufacturer and see what they have to say, too.
    I’m a DIYer; I stripped and refinished our wood front door about 4 years ago, and it was a big job to do correctly. If you’re up for it, might you try it on your own? If I lived nearby I’d be glad to help you!
    Best wishes on this, Susan — keep us posted — Marlene

    • Thanks, Marlene. I’m going to leave it up to the pros, I think. I’ve never stripped anything and honestly I’m a little afraid to do something like that, afraid to breathe the fumes. I will be getting several estimates and definitely will not go with a company unless I feel really good about what they recommend. You are so sweet to try to help, I really appreciate it!

  27. By now your crew has fixed all this. In my limited experience painting school murals, I’d say with others that the wrong or no primer was used. I was told by the paint specialists that shiny surfaces need a special epoxy primer–one was used way back when Mobile gas stations were made of glass tiles and in order to paint them the paint company had to create a special primer that would stick. Also, perhaps the initial surface should have been roughed to create some tooth. I hope you share your fix when done.

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