Ask the Expert - Decks & Driveways

I had my pavers sealed by another company back in October before we got back for season and now my pavers have a white cloudy look on them.  It was never like this before.  Do you know what it is and how do I get rid of it? -Michelle-Fort Myers-Frustrated!!

Yes Michelle this can be fixed, as long as the last time they were sealed was with a Xylene based paver sealer.  There is a product out now that is made to remove the cloudiness.  We have to pressure clean your pavers again, let them dry for a minimum of 4 days.  During this time the sprinkler system must be kept off.  We will then apply this new product to the pavers.  This should remove most of the cloudiness.  The next day we have to seal the driveway again with a coat of Wet Look Paver Sealer that is Xylene based.  Once it is dry your pavers will be a lot better looking and the only maintenance that you will have to do on your pavers is have them pressure cleaned once a year for at least the next 5 years.


I had my driveway, front walkway, and garage door painted 1 year ago by a painting contractor.  The paint on my garage door is separating and starting to come off.  The paint on my driveway and walkway is also separating and peeling off.  Can you stop by my home and take a look at these areas for me and make recommendations on how I can get this resolved.  I have been calling the painting contractor that originally did the work, and he is not returning my phone calls.  Frank M.-Bonita Springs, Florida

Ron's Painting-Fort Myers is in the process of chemically stripping the existing coating of paint that has failed off of this Estero homes garage door.I recently went and met with Frank at his home in Bonita Springs.  The garage door faces Southwest and it gets a lot of the sun.  The garage door was painted with a oil based exterior paint.  When the sun hit the aluminum door it causes the aluminum to expand and contract, but the oil based paint does not expand and contract with the door.  Thus it starts to alligator and the paint starts to separate and peel off. The sun also causes the oil based paint to chalk very quickly and loose color retention. I also found that when the garage door on your home was painted a year ago they did not seal in the chalky surface, that is another reason you are having adhesionRon's Painting-Fort Myers has completely chemically stripped all of the existing coating off of the garage door.  We will then wipe down the door with vinegar to neutralize it, rinse with water, prime and paint with a coat of Sherwin Williams Super Paint. problems.  I always recommend painting aluminum or fiberglass garage doors  that have a sound surface with a premium exterior acrylic latex.  Never oil based paint. To fix this problem I am recommending that the garage door be completely stripped down to the bare metal, washed down with vinegar and then rinsed with clean water.  Then apply a coat of acrylic exterior bonding primer to garage door.  Let set overnight.  The paint garage door with a coat of premium exterior latex in a satin for semi-gloss finish.

After looking at the driveway the issue is that the latest paint product that was put on over the existing paint coating is not compatible.  The first coat of paint is adhering with no problems but the top coat of paint is coming off.  The only way to fix the problem is to have the entire driveway and walkway sandblasted to remove all of the coatings on the surface and start over.  If we apply paint over the existing coating it will only stick as well as the existing coating is adhering to the first coat, and that is not adhering at all.  Once the driveway and walkway is sandblasted, we can then look at the surface and decide what needs to be done to apply a new coating to these surfaces.  My rule of thumb when painting driveways and walkways is if the homeowner can show me what was last used on the surface, then I always use the same product when I repaint.  If the homeowner can not show me what was previously used then I always put down a bonding primer and two top coats of a premium exterior deck paint or stain in a acrylic finish.  Not all acrylic deck paints are compatible with other acrylic deck paints, and acrylic deck paints are not compatible with Xylene based paints.  I have never had a problem putting one Xylene based deck paint over another Xylene based deck paint.  Epoxy finishes should never be used on the exterior of a building.  They do not hold up the the sun. When you do painting in Southwest Florida you always have to take into consideration how strong the Florida sun is, and what the surface will do after it has been painted.  If you use the wrong products or procedures this is when you have adhesion problems and or paint failure.  It is always a good idea to check with your local paint manufacturer like Sherwin Williams, Glidden, Benjamin Moore and speak with the store managers. 


I just had my home and driveway pressure cleaned.  When they pressure cleaned my driveway my garage door was down and a little bit of my garage floor was exposed and when they pressure cleaned the area where my garage floor was the paint came off of the floor.  I had my handyman paint my floor about a year ago with some paint from Home Depot.  It is the paint that has the flakes in it.  What would cause this paint to come off of the floor? Kelly E-Sanibel, Florida

When your handyman painted the garage floor on your Sanibel home he probably did not prepare the garage floor properly. This is what caused the paint to come off.  Anytime you paint concrete floors, the floor must be pressure cleaned, washed and broomed with muratic acid and then rinsed thoroughly.  By washing then brooming the garage floor down with muratic acid, this opens up the pores in the concrete and give the paint something to bond to. You must also let the floor dry for a minimum of 4 days before putting the first coat of paint on the concrete.  You do not want to trap moisture in the concrete under the paint. This is what caused the paint to come off.  This is also why you should always hire a profession painter not a handyman to do painting projects.


I just had a wooden fence installed in my back yard of my Estero home and I was told that I did not have to do anything to the fence, that it would last for years.  Is this true. If not what should I do to protect my fence.  Gena A.- Estero, Florida

If you do nothing to the fence, over a short period of time it will discolor and turn a gray color.  Then the wood will eventually rot, the slots will bend out of shape due to the sun and the wood drying out and you will have to replace the fence again.   Even pressure treated lumber ( Wolmanized lumber) has to be protected from the suns rays.  Many homeowners feel that if they put a clear sealer on the wood it will protect it.  In reality it will not, clear sealers do not have anything in them to protect the wood from the suns UV rays.  You need to put a pigmented stain on the wood. Never use an oil based product, always use an acrylic.  There are two products I have found on the market that work really well.  Wood RX which is sold at Povia Paint, or Spa N Deck which is sold at Glidden/PPG paint.  With either of these products you pressure clean the wood fence using bleach and water, rinse, use a surface conditioner on the wood, then before the wood is dry you apply the stain.  You have to make sure and keep the wood fence with water as you apply the stain.  As the water is soaked into the wood it draws the stain into the wood surface.  Allow the fence to dry overnight then apply the second coat of stain to a dry surface.  I have always applied the stain by spraying it onto the wood and using a brush and roller to get to  the areas that could not be sprayed.  In Florida you never want to use a clear stain, always use a pigmented stain. Wood RX has more of a color selection then Spa N Deck and I see Wood RX is now sold at Home Depot.  The nice thing about these products is that with all of the other stains on the market you have to let the wood cure for at least 6 months.  With Wood RX and Spa N Deck you and stain your fence as soon as the fence is installed.  The wood does not have to dry out. Here is a link to Wood Rx.  Here is the link to Spa N Deck also.  Always read the label on the can and follow manufacturers directions to ensure you do not have warranty issues.


 My concrete Pool Deck (approx. 650 s/f) was painted with a Xylene based paint. I want to re-paint the surface with a product called "restore", however it it a water based latex paint and I do not believe it will adhere to the Xylene paint sub-layer. What can I do to remove the Xylene sub-base, or is there `a product I can put down over the xylene base that will accept the new latex coating. I do notwant to sand blast. Help please. God bless, sincerely, Jack C- Tampa, Florida

My recommendation is to always go back with the exact same product.  When painting any type of driveway, deck, pool deck area, one thing to keep in mind is that 50% of the time there is paint failure, the reason for this is that homeowners paint over existing coatings with the wrong coating.  Since  you already know that you currently have a Xylene based paint on your pool deck, my recommendation is to go to Sherwin Williams, pick out your new paint color for your deck, or find a color that is close to what you currently have, and buy Sherwin Williams H&C Concrete Xylene based stain and paint your deck with this.  This way you will not have adhesion problems.  Please be sure and pressure clean your pool deck with a bleach and water solution, rinse with clean water and allow it to dry thoroughly before applying the new coat of stain.  When finished let your brush and roller dry out and harden up then throw away in the garbage.  Be careful when using Xylene based stain, it has a strong smell to it, and if it gets on your skin in may burn.  Might be a good idea to buy some rubber gloves. 

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 My son lives in Delray Beach, Fla and wants to paint his driveway for two reasons: it is a lot less money than paving the entire driveway and it will make the house show much better. Right now it is gray concrete with some stains from mold. What is the best paint to use and does it need to be primed first, how many coats should be used and also a sealer? How do you decide on color?
Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated . Phyllis B.

If the driveway is currently bare concrete and has never been painted, I would recommend pressure cleaning the driveway using a bleach and water solution and rinse with clean water.

 Acid wash driveway using muriatic acid, diluted with water  ( Add water to a watering can 3/4 full, then add muriatic acid to water.  Wear gloves, goggles, and a respirator.  Poor acid mixture on driveway and have someone take a large push broom to work the acid into the pores of the concrete.  Do this to entire driveway. If you do not acid wash driveway don't waste your time painting it, the paint will end up peeling up.)

Pressure clean driveway again and rinse. Allow to dry for a minimum of 4 days. To ensure the concrete is dry, tape plastic to a 4 ft section of driveway to see if moisture gets trapped under the plastic.If moisture is trapped, then continue to allow driveway to dry. Do this in several areas.  Driveway and ground, under driveway must be dry.  Turn off sprinklers.  If concrete get wet the time on the drying starts over.

Once dry apply a coat of Xylene based stain to driveway, thin out the stain with Xylene 1 quart per gallon. Allow to dry overnight. Apply a second coat of Xylene to stain, have anti-skid added to the second coat of paint, this way the driveway will not be slippery. I recommend going to Sherwin Williams to get your Xylene based stain.

Do not drive on driveway for at least 7-10 days.  You can walk on the driveway the next day.  The paint will be dry, but you want it to cure before you drive a car on it with hot tires.

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 Hi, my driveway was painted with xylene paint. Does it need a clear coat and what type ? Thank you!  - Naples, Florida

They do make clear Xylene based sealers for Xylene based paint, however I have never sealed a driveway I have ever painted with a Xylene based stain.  The clear sealers have no UV protection, all of your UV protection is in the paint.  I would recommend talking to your local Sherwin Williams paint store manager and choose a paint color that will hold up well in the Florida sun.  It will be the colorants used in the stain that will determine how quickly your paint color will fade.

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