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Wood Deck: Should I Stain or Paint?

Wood is exposed to many factors such as rain, sun, snow and dirt. Without protections, many decks will develop mold. Staining your deck prevents the wood from warping and twisting. It also protects the wood from weathering, while preserving the life of the deck. Stain also protects and preserves the beauty of your wood, compared to paint which covers and hides it. Coating your deck with stain prevents wood from splitting, cracking and splinters if you have kids running around. I suggests using stain on decks because they experience more foot traffic, require more maintenance, and painting can be more costly.

Painting, coats the top of wood while stain actually penetrates the wood. Exterior paint, like the kind you would see on house siding won’t hold up on a deck floor. You need something more durable, such as stain or sealant. Keep in mind that most stains require 24 to 48 hours to dry properly, so don’t place your deck furniture on it until it’s had time to dry properly.

The Benefits of Stain:

• Natural color, grain and texture are visible. When you paint your deck, you’ll cover the entire wood surface with multiple thick, opaque coatings. When you stain you choose how much the natural wood shows through from clear to solid-colored.

• Quality stains penetrate the wood grain. A quality stain will seal the wood grain, so it prevents moisture from penetrating your deck and causing it to rot. A good stain generally provides better moisture retention than paint.

• Staining allows you to highlight the beauty of your wooden deck. If your deck is made of beautiful wood, stain and finish will enhance it. Unlike paint, which completely masks the wood’s beauty, a stain allows you to highlight its natural qualities.

• Stain is generally less slippery than paint. Stain is less slippery, compared to a quality paint job. If safety and slippage is a concern for your deck, stain is generally a better option.

• Painting traps moisture in the wood. Over time paint traps moisture in the wood. As the deck naturally expands and contracts with the outdoor elements, the paint will eventually begin to chip and peel.

• Paint is generally permanent. Once you decide to paint your deck, it’s almost a given that you’ll always paint it. You can easily go from a stain to paint, but going from paint to stain is difficult, time consuming and expensive.

 

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