Strip Paint From Wood Deck – When sealing your deck, you have two great choices: use a clear sealer; or use a stain that adds color to your deck wood or paint. Staining your deck can protect it from the elements and give it a color that works well with your house, one you’ll enjoy for years to come.
It pays to invest time in picking the right stain for your deck, as you’ll live with your choice for many years. It’s not like painting a room where you can change colors each time. Stains penetrate the wood, and while it wears away over time, a new coat of stain (except solid) can’t always cover the old stain so you need to use the same tint for a uniform look.
Choices You Have When Sealing a Deck
Deck stains are meant to seal out the elements.
The deck finish you pick should include the following 3 statements on the label:
• repel water
• preserve the wood with a mildecide
• screen out the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Your choices in stains are:
• Clear sealers – are just that, clear as they have no pigmentation.
• Stains come with varying degrees of pigmentation – from a little pigmentation or “tint”, semi-transparent or solid. Stains penetrate the
wood which lets them stand up to foot traffic.
You should avoid painting a deck because the paint sits on top of the wood, forming a surface film which doesn’t hold up well to foot traffic. If you have a painted deck, pressure wash or strip off as much paint as possible. Then try to match the paint color with a solid stain that blends well with the remaining paint which might take several years to peel. Be prepared to touch up the deck with stain as the remaining paint peels.
More Color Isn’t Good
Stains come with color or “pigmentation” which helps protect the deck wood from the sun’s UV rays. More opaque (solid) stains give better protection but they don’t wear as well — consider using different stains for your deck flooring and railings.
• Clear deck stains are popular because you can see the wood’s natural grain. They’re easier to apply as you don’t see the brush marks. Without pigmentation, they aren’t as good at blocking the sun’s rays, so they break down faster and should be re-applied every year to keep your deck protected.
• Semi-transparent stains add color and let the wood’s natural grain show through. The pigmentation provides more protection against the sun’s rays, and often you can wait 2 years before you need to apply a new coat of stain to your deck.
• Semi-solid stains have enough pigmentation to last 2 to 3 years under normal conditions. A single coat let’s you see some of the wood’s grain and a second coat will look similar to a solid color stain.
• Solid color deck stains have more pigmentation, and offer a choice of flat or satin finishes. There are many color choices and a solid stain is a good choice with an older deck because it hides the uneven discoloration that comes with aging wood. The drawback is that solid stains don’t hold up as well to foot traffic.
Tips for Buying a Deck Stain
Water based stains are easier to clean up and release fewer VOCs into the air.
Oil based stains penetrate deeper into the wood making them less likely to crack or peel, and they last longer (2 to 4 years).
Do-It-Yourself or Hire a Professional
If you’re preparing your deck and plan to use a clear finish, then doing the job yourself should be fine with the right tools and product. With a pigmented finish that shows your brush marks, you should give serious thought to hiring a home professional.
The Real Cost of the Stain
When you add the cost of the stain and the cost to apply the stain (your time has a value, even if you’re not paying yourself), the total cost looks different … and that’s especially true when you compare a clear stain (once a year) to a semi-transparent stain (every other year). Don’t think you’re saving money with a cheaper product. Stain quality is also important as cheaper products may require an extra coat to get the look you want.