Should I Paint or Stain My Deck? D.C. Area Painting Questions
Your deck should be a small oasis in a chaotic world, a place to read a good book, hang out with friends, and to grill something delicious! In order to keep the deck looking great and lasting for many seasons, though, it must be kept coated. There are three common methods used for coating decks, and each one has different characteristics. Should you paint your deck? Should you stain it instead? What about just using a clear sealer? Don’t worry; we’ll help you decide!
The nature of a stain is that it penetrates into a surface, permanently altering its color. While you never want this for a carpet or a pair of pants, it can do great things for wood! A stain allows you to see the natural grain and texture of the wood, while providing it with lasting color for beauty and protection.
Some wood stains include a sealer that keeps moisture out of the wood. If your stain does not include this type of ingredient, you will need to add a protective clear coat after the stain is applied in order to keep the wood from deteriorating.
Besides the advantage of seeing the wood grain and providing a more natural appearance, stain is also easy to re-apply, in contrast with paint (see below). If you keep your protective clear coat refreshed every year or two, the color of the stain should last many seasons.
While a stain penetrates the wood, paint is designed to cling to the surface. This means that it provides a solid barrier, keeping out UV rays and moisture that would degrade the wood. It also hides the wood grain.
Many homeowners in the Washington, D.C. area use paint on their decks because it gives unlimited color options, unlike stain (which does have a lot of variety, but it is not unlimited).
A word of caution with painting outdoor wood is that the paint must be carefully maintained. If it begins to fail, the failing paint needs to be expertly removed before you can apply new paint. However, if you are proactive and repaint the wood before any failure begins, the new coat can go right over the old one.
Using a Clear Sealer on Your Deck
Some people prefer the color and appearance of natural wood, so they would rather use a clear coat instead of stain or paint. This is an attractive option, and it is also inexpensive. You need to be aware, however, that UV rays will still fade your wood, and it will tend to turn gray over time, even though it is protected against moisture by the clear sealer.
Regular Cleaning Lengthens Life
One of the most important keys to keeping your deck looking beautiful and lasting a long time is regular cleaning. If you allow the edges and cracks to get clogged with maple seeds and oak leaves, this will trap moisture and promote wood rot. Also, mildew will tend to grow in shady areas, and other airborne substances will cling to the surface.
Annual pressure washing will keep your deck looking marvelous, but it needs to be performed by an expert. An inexperienced pressure washer can easily gouge and streak the wood, leaving permanent etching.
Deck Care for Northern Virginia and DC - Williams Professional Painting
Life is busy and deck maintenance can easily slip to the bottom of a to-do list. Instead of ignoring your deck or worrying about it, trust Williams Professional Painting to take care of it for you! We will handle all of the details, so you can go back to enjoying this wonderful part of your home.
Williams Professional Painting serves Maryland, northern Virginia, and the Washington, D.C. area, offering deck maintenance, exterior painting, interior painting, cabinet refinishing, design services, and much more. Feel free to call us or to contact us online for a free consultation and estimate.