There are many hard choices to face in life, some serious, some not so serious. How to treat your deck may not seem the most serious choice you’ll ever have to make, but over time it can have a significant financial impact. Should you stain, seal, or paint? Well, we can’t help you with some of the other hard choices in life, but we should be able to give you a few pointers on just what you should do with your deck.
To consider these choices, it’s important to remember what the main point of all of these options is. No matter which way you decide to go, the goal is to protect the wood in your deck from the punishment that mother nature can lay out over the course of a year. Ultraviolet rays from the sun, pounding rain, and freezing cold all can cause degradation to your deck, and the treatment choice you make will need to take this goal into consideration
In addition to protecting the wood, we also want to consider the appearance of your deck. Different methods will have different impacts on the way your deck looks. A sealer will have the least impact, preserving the natural look of the wood in your deck, making it ideal for projects where you’re using a fresh milled high quality wood. It simply serves as a clear coat that helps the wood repel water and everyday stains and spills. This allows the wood to resist mildew growth and rot, keeping it’s fine appearance.
Stains, on the other hand, soak into the wood itself, usually including the addition of some kind of pigment. The darkness of that pigment determines just how much the stain interferes with the natural appearance of the wood. Staining again offers protection from water damage to the wood, while also offering protection from ultraviolet rays from the sun, which sealant does not. How much UV protection offered by staining is determined by the darkness of the pigment added to the stain.
Staining allows you to keep a natural wood look while offering more protection than sealing alone, both allow the appearance of the natural grain of the wood to come through. Painting, however, takes you the furthest from the original natural appearance of the wood. Paint will completely cover the wood, and only hints of the grain will come through if at all. This allows you to customize the color of your deck to match the appearance of the rest of your home, playing with a wide variety of shades. Further, paint will also offer you the best possible protection from harsh direct sunlight. Unfortunately, paint can chip and flake in a way that staining won’t, requiring period maintenance and patching.
So the truth is, there isn’t a blanket “best choice” so much as the best choice for your individual project. If you have a finely constructed wood deck that you want to show off the natural look of the wood and it’s got plenty of shade to protect it from harsh direct sunlight, a seal by itself is the way to go. If you want to offer the most possible UV protection or to personalize the look of your deck to match your walls or landscaping, paint is the way to go. If you’re looking for a middle ground between the two, balancing protection and natural wood appearance, consider a stain treatment.
Regardless of which you choose, before staining, sealing, or painting your deck, it’s important to give it a good cleaning. This process can be precarious, and it’s important to make sure that it’s done properly to avoid damaging the wood of your deck. GIve us a call today and our crew will ensure your deck is sparkling clean and ready for whatever treatment you decide upon.