Woods decks are a wonderful addition to a home because they provide more areas for barbecuing, entertaining, and unwinding. To ensure the longevity of this costly purchase, though, you must maintain it like you would any other household item. Exterior elements such as siding, fences, and decks require a yearly or biannual application of protective coatings since they experience the most deterioration from rain, wind, and sun. A failure to perform one or two of these maintenance activities might initiate a domino process of deterioration that is difficult, if not impossible, to reverse. Individual deck boards must be replaced as soon as the wood begins to cup, bow, crack, or exhibit a higher grain.
Planning the days you will paint is very important. Before it gets too hot or too cold is the best time of year to do the painting. Look at the weather forecast and paint the deck during the driest time of year in your area. When painting outside, the best relative humidity levels are between 40 and 50 percent. Start early in the day, but not so early that the deck is still covered in dew. Stay out of the hot, direct sun because it will dry the paint too quickly. To figure out how much paint you’ll need, you’ll need to measure the deck. And make sure to clean the deck before you start painting. A deck cleaner will get rid of dirt, mildew, or algae stains.
Since you’re outside in a well-ventilated area, you won’t need to wear a face mask. However, you might want to wear goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and skin from paint splatters.
Since the deck is a walking surface, you might want to add something that makes it less slippery. It is mixed into the deck paint to provide a better grip for walking.
What You’ll Need
- Roller cover
- Water hose attached to a working faucet
- Pressure washer
- Deck cleaner
- 5-gallon bucket
- Bucket screen
- Extension pole
- Extra clean bucket
- Exterior paint specified for decks, porches, and patios
- Multi-surface primer and sealer
- Calculate and Purchase the Paint You Need
Multiply your deck’s length by its width to get its area. Our paint calculator can help you figure out how much paint you need for this project. Based on what the paint calculator says, you should buy paint. If you already have paint, check to see if it is still in good condition. Acrylic latex paint can last between two and ten years if it is taken care of.
Wash the Deck
If the deck cleaner comes as a concentrate, mix it with water in the bucket as directed on the bottle. A lot of cleaners can be put on the end of a hose. Spray the deck cleaner on the surface and let it soak in.
Pressure Wash the Deck
Clean the deck well with a power washer to get rid of the debris that the deck cleaner has moved. Connect the hose to the pressure washer. Attach a spray tip with a wide opening to the end of the spray gun. Keep at least 18 inches between the end of the spray gun and the deck so you don’t gouge the wood. Make sure to clean between the boards. Let the deck dry in warm, dry weather for at least two full days.
- Apply Primer to the Deck
You have to put primer on the raw wood deck you want to paint—you can’t skip this step. Start with the painting. Put a little primer on the brush and push it between the deck boards. Move along the length of the deck priming every joint between boards as you go. Also, prime the sides of the deck boards and any places the roller can’t reach.
Pour the primer into the 5-gallon bucket and hang the screen inside it. With the telescoping rod connected to a roller with a roller cover, gently press the roller into the primer several times. It will appear on the screen. Move the roller to the deck and work backwards to cover the deck boards with primer. Give it four hours to dry.
- Apply Paint to the Deck
The paint should be put on the deck in the same way that the primer was. Apply two to three coats of paint to the deck, waiting at least two days between each coat.
Painted Decks vs. Sealed Decks
One way to protect the wood while showing off its natural grain is to use stains and sealers that soak into the wood. But painting the deck is the best way to fix decks with worn-out wood or decks that need a splash of colour. Painting an old deck can make it look as good as new.
Paint makes a thick, tough layer that gets into the cellular structure of the wood. Plus, you can mix paint to make any color you want, making it a very versatile design element that can go with your house or yard in many ways.
After you paint your deck, you’re pretty much stuck with this choice. If you decide later that you want the natural grain back, it is hard to take off many layers of paint from a deck. Even if you can get the paint off, you might hurt the wood too much in the process.
How to Keep Paint Looking Fresh
Decks should be refinished every two to three years at the most. Keep the paint you used so you can touch it up over time.