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If you have a deck, they can be some of the worst parts of a home to maintain for painters and homeowners alike. They are constantly exposed to the sun, rain, dirt, snow, and rocks. If you live in the greater Cleveland area, you know we are used to all weather conditions. Sometimes even on the same day!
Different Types of Deck Staining or Coating Products
There are many different types and brands of stain products on deck. They vary from solid color stains to transparent to semi-trans colors. Some large coating companies over the years have promoted “restoring or resurfacing” products.
1. Transparent Deck Staining
There is not one color with transparent staining; it just stains the wood to different tones and brings out the other shades. Staining a deck using these products can produce many different shades of the shadow of color you choose. Every piece of wood is separate; some types are more than others. It is important to remember this when choosing a stain.
While usually better than waterproof wood, the semi-transparent stain doesn’t last as long as a solid color or paint. They soak into the wood, so they are thinner. They don’t create a paint film barrier with a slick surface to protect the wood.
2. Semi-transparent Deck Staining
Semi-transparent and transparent stains are mainly made to seal and protect the wood from getting wet. With these types of colors, they are very thin, like water. They are made to soak the wood and preserve its strength and integrity. These stains are more readily available in oil-based versions, which can be hard to work with.
Many water-based versions work well also. The downfall with some of these coatings is they need to be re-applied sooner than solid color stains. Thinner and not forming a surface film like paint does not last as long. It would help if you recoated these types every two years or once it is no longer waterproof. If water beads over the entire surface, you are still suitable for a while.
3. Solid Color Deck Staining
Most decks we come across are stained with a solid color similar to paint. Concrete color stains are the most commonly used for a few reasons. You can choose just about any color since it is a solid stain. It’s similar to paint. Closing to a painted surface will do cleaning and maintaining the deck easier. While paint can peel off any surface, eventually, it creates a barrier between the wood and the elements.
Like paint, the surface film will protect the wood because it is thicker, but it doesn’t soak into the wood as much. It is also better to do light coats, so you get more soaking in for a stronger bond. Soaking in primarily applies to new wood on decks that haven’t been stained. Why the paint would peel is caused by many different reasons. With decks, most of your problems can come from water issues.
Pro Tip – make sure water isn’t beading up on the surface of your deck. This means it is not ready to soak in any stain, so the product will likely fail.
Products sold as Deck Resurfacing or Deck Restoring coatings.
A few different coatings over the years have been failures and have had lawsuits. One type was sold as a super thick coat to make your deck surface look brand new and last for years. Like many things in life, not everything holds up to its promises. When they fail and crack and begin letting water in, these thick coatings can also allow water to get underneath them and rapidly rots the wood of your deck. They are made to go on up to 1/16 of an inch thick.
Now, this might sound good to some people as thicker is better? It may work in some climates, but our weather varies greatly here in Cleveland. I imagine the temperature changes would have something to do with it besides the rain and snow pummeling onto the deck.
Deck Staining Issues for Local Cleveland Painters
When your deck isn’t properly maintained, the wood can dry out and start to crack. Decks can rot quickly if they get wet too often and there is not enough sun to dry them out. Regular coatings prevent this to protect the wood. There are many issues homeowners in the Cleveland area can have with decks. Below are some of the most common reasons. They are also expressly excluded from every painting warranty I have ever reviewed.
- Water damage from gutters: If you do not clean your gutters regularly, it can create even more water on your deck to speed up the failure process. Homes surrounded by a few trees can cause you to clean your gutters a minimum of three times per year. If you don’t, it may affect your deck’s life and other parts of your home.
- Decks built low to the ground: Decks sometimes are built so close to the land that they hold moisture underneath them. It will not last very long if your deck is built this low to the ground and not made of plastic. Decks in the Cleveland area need plenty of fresh air to survive.
- Items that hold moisture: Wood decking can remain covered by things that will help to retain moisture and accelerate the degrading process. Putting rugs on your decking is very bad as this keeps the water when they get wet. Anything that is going to hold water on your deck. (leaves, plants, fabric items)
- Not Maintained Properly: Deck staining with semi or transparent stains should be done every 2-4 years, especially for Cleveland painters that deal with seasonal changes and wet weather. They should keep the water beading up and not soaking it into the wood. If they are not repelling water, it is time for a cleaning and a new coating or two to be applied.
- Exposure to dry weather: Not staining the deck when regularly needed will cause the wood to rot and or dry out. It can get so dry when exposed to extreme weather that it starts to split and crack. Open gaps or cracks on your deck will put them on the way to needing replacing. Now the water can penetrate deep into the wood and degrade it. It will hold the water much longer in those cracks. Later the boards begin to cup and have water on their surface longer, not just in the gaps. Cupping is the most advanced stage of deck board failure. Once this stage, the rotting, drying out, and degrading becomes much more rapid. Soon it may be time to replace your deck or at least a few boards.
- Failing deck coating: If you have a failing deck coating, maybe one of those thick resurfacing coatings, you first need to clean the deck. You can wet it with a hose and scrub the wood with a brush and some deck cleaner before rinsing. Then it would be best if you scraped off any loose deck coating. We scrape all loose material off before coating. Doing it yourself, you may want to try and pick off all the layers, but it will be very time-consuming, and you will see why we don’t do it. Then stain it with a brush or roller over everything. Make sure to get in the cracks and crevices to bind the old coating and protect it from water. (These are DIY recommendations, not necessarily how we would do things)
Contact The Picky Painters for Deck Staining Services in Cleveland
If you are experiencing any of the issues mentioned above or want to have your deck professionally stained, contact the Picky Painters today. We can help ensure your deck is protected correctly and stays looking new with our professional coatings.