Understanding Paint


Play Your Cards Right When Dealing With Your Deck

Maintaining a wooden deck is no game; it’s an important part of home maintenance. Still, if you play your cards right, you’ll draw a winning hand in the form of a finish that is tougher and longer lasting than most.

The secret lies in selecting the right type of coating after completing your surface preparation (replacing rotted boards, removing loose or flaking stain, ridding mildew with a bleach solution, and rinsing the surface -- or, when changing the color, removing all of the existing coating by power washing).

If you plan to refinish your deck this summer or fall, read on for handy tips that may make this maintenance task just a bit easier.

Happy Painting,


Debbie Zimmer

Deck coatings fall into two broad categories: water-based latex products, and solvent-based formulations. To get the best weather-resistance, PQI suggests that you choose a water-based coating. In addition to being more durable, these products dry more quickly, have little or no odor, and clean up with soap and water, so they’re better overall.

Water-based latex coatings come in both clear finishes and in a wide array of attractive colors. The type you choose will go a long way in determining how long your deck coating will last.

Clear finishes show off the natural appearance of wood, but offer very little protection from the sun’s UV rays. Choose a clear coating and you’ll likely have to reapply it annually.

Semi-transparent stains are more durable than clears. The small amount of pigment they contain helps shield the wood from UV rays and other types of weather. As a result, they last somewhat longer, typically 18 months or so.

More durable still are solid-color stains. Because they contain much more pigment, they impart better protection to the deck. More closely resembling paints, these stains still show the texture of the wood, but conceal the grain. If you want a longer lasting coating, this is the way to go: solid-color stains can last three to five years.

Whichever type of deck coating you choose, you can step up the protection by applying a second coat of the finish. In some cases, it will stretch the life of your coating, and in every case, it will help the wood stand up to the rigors of both the weather and abrasion from foot traffic and furniture.

Still, your ace in the hole when protecting your deck is the quality of coating you apply. The very best are 100% acrylic products.

Top quality coatings made with 100% acrylic have better adhesion and flexibility than other deck stains. Plus, they typically contain special ingredients that help prevent mildew and other maintenance problems that translate into longer lasting performance.

Now that you understand how to get the best long-term protection for your deck, draw on that knowledge when buying stain at your local paint retailer. It’s a sure thing that you’ll pull a winning hand.

Learn more about the maintenance of wood and composite decks by visiting blog.paintquality.com or paintquality.com.

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