Does your deck need a new finish? If so, then you likely are trying to decide between paint, stain and coating. Understand each type of product before starting this home improvement project.
Paint Can Rejuvenate a Deck
A coat of paint can transform the appearance of a deck. Whether you want such a change depends on the wood itself. Is it old and unsightly? Paint will cover it completely and not allow the look of the wood itself to show. Do you like the color and grain? Keep in mind that paint will hide it completely.
This type of finish does offer excellent UV protection, but because paint cracks and peels on horizontal surfaces, that bonus feature will soon flake away. Repainting will be needed every other year or so, depending on the amount of use your deck gets.
Many homeowners reserve paint for railings, as there is no foot traffic to wear down the paint, and stain their deck instead. There are a variety of stains made specifically for decks, with opacity ranging from clear to solid color. Solid stains also cover grain and color, but they penetrate the wood to result in a longer-lasting finish.
What Is the Difference Between Paint and Coating?
Deck coating is a relatively new product that resembles a thick paint. It fills cracks and covers splinters to create a deck you can walk barefoot on, and it also has a slip-resistant finish. This type of finish lasts twice as long as paint, depending on the particular brand.
These products cost more than paint and stain, with additional prep required to ensure you get the full value they offer. Prep for a deck coating involves a thorough inspection of the wood to identify loose splinters, boards or screws; rotting or damaged wood; and raised nails. Any problem areas found must be repaired or replaced.
Cracked and peeling paint also must be removed, and deck cleaner applied and used to lift any stains. Depending on the state of your deck, pressure washing on low may be needed.
Finally, sanding loose fibers and filling cracks larger than ¼ inch must happen before a final cleaning of the deck.
Coatings and Rescue Products Can Extend the Life of a Deck
The appeal of coatings and other similar rescue products are their value in relation to replacement of an entire deck. If you do the above prep and ensure that the wood remains in good enough shape to support the weight it needs to, then a coating costs significantly less than the materials and labor of a new deck.
Application also proves straightforward. The product gets applied first between decking boards, on edges, and into all cracks, holes and knots with a 3-inch nylon brush. A roller can then be used to apply the coating to the remaining surfaces of the deck. Coats do need several hours to dry in between, so this finish will take a full weekend to apply in most cases.
The result will be a deck that resembles synthetic wood more so than natural, as the coating is thicker than even several coats of paint.
To answer the questions of stain versus paint versus coating with no doubt, rely on your professional painter. He or she can asses your particular deck, from the condition of the wood to the affect of the elements to the best product for the amount of use it gets, and recommend the type of finish needed. A professional also can make short work of the application, leaving you plenty of time to pick out a new grill or furnishings for your like-new deck.