Backyard decks are popular places to gather on warm summer days and nights. Is yours in need of a facelift? If so, you have some options.
If the stain on your deck is fading or worn, you may be debating whether to stain it again or just paint over it. Angie's List asked the experts and most say stick with the stain. Experts say the problem with paint is that most deck surfaces are horizontal so the paint just lays on the deck. As a result, those areas hold water.
"As the wood shrinks and expands with changes in moisture and temperature, the paint doesn't always have the ability to move at the exact same rate and the only thing it can do at that point is release and let go of the wood and that manifests itself in cracking and peeling and chipping of the coating," said Deck Company Director of Operations, John Nearon.
A stain won't chip, peel or crack. A quality stain and sealer will penetrate the wood grain, allowing moisture to escape the wood.
"We prefer oil-based products. There are water-based products that have come onto the market that are working to different levels of success, but what we are looking for is a good quality product in terms of its coloration and the way it has the ability to penetrate and soak into the wood fibers. We are also looking for two components for the coating to protect the wood from the sun and from moisture and also fungus," said Nearon.
Deck staining is a simple weekend do-it yourself project, but it's a time-consuming. If you don't have the time to commit or the expertise to do proper prep work, like power washing, a pro can help you get the longest-lasting results.
"Typically a company will quote staining a deck by the square foot or by the hour, so be sure it's clear in the estimate, the size of the deck. Additionally, find out what types of materials they are going to use and remember if they are going to have to do a lot of prep work, like stripping old paint or stain, that's going to cost extra," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks.
Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a company, Angie's List says make sure there's a plan for covering and protecting plants and other areas from cleaners or stains.
Experts say wood decks need to be re-stained every few years because even the best stains will fade, especially in high-traffic areas.