Your deck is the perfect place for you to relax and enjoy the sunshine after a long day, but what if your deck becomes cracked and full of splinters? Which type of wood deck resurfacing is best?
It’s an old argument, and it’s revisited every spring when homeowners realize that their decks have survived the winter—but just barely. It’s then that they are faced with a deck that needs a facelift and that recurring challenge: Do I paint or stain my wooden deck? What are the best wood deck resurfacing options for my deck?
Well, you can relax. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Both products will give you what you want—a fresh look for your deck—and there are even other ways for you wake up that sleepy-looking structure before the summer entertaining season arrives.
Here are some ideas for wood deck resurfacing and coating; whether you have a new deck, or an old one. Most of them are do-it yourself ideas, although you may want to call in a professional if you’re not comfortable in that area.
Getting Bold with Paint
Painting your deck gives you the option of being creative with unique designs. Whether you’re coating a new surface or giving an old one a bold and refreshing update, exterior paint and some painters’ tape is all you need. Start by painting a single hue, and then try more bold patterns in a variety of colors. Just always make sure you’re using paints or stains made specifically for outdoor use. Here are five examples of creative designs:
- The outdoor rug: The best rugs for your deck are the kind that can be swept—with an ordinary broom. Simply tape off a rectangular design, then apply exterior paint in colors of your choice, and you’ll have a “rug” that can be hosed off.
- Abstract designs: If you have an artist’s touch, you can try freehand painting on your deck. Let your imagination be your guide.
- Geometric patterns: Designer Brian Patrick Flynn taped off large hexagons and used a palette of fuchsia, turquoise, and white to bring color to this outdoor space. Anyone can follow these step-by-step instructions.
- Stripes: You can use paint in many colors to create stripes. In this case, an entry deck was added to a kids’ playhouse and painted in alternating black and white stripes.
- Checkerboard pattern: You can make your wood deck resurfacing coordinate with the shutters or siding on your home’s exterior. That’s what the owners of this house did with their wooden porch boards in this checkerboard pattern.
Acrylic and Oil-based Stains: Which is Better?
If your deck looks worn out, you may need to replace it, but more than likely a new wood deck resurfacing coating will do the trick. Here are two to consider:
Many homeowners prefer to use a semi-transparent stain with lightly pigmented coatings that can either change or maintain the color of your wood without hiding its grain. These water-repellant coatings contain ingredients that keep mildew in check. Semi-transparent coatings typically last about 18 months.
Solid-color stains have more pigment than semi-transparent products, so their color tends to hide the grain of the wood. But that added dye provides extra UV protection and better durability. So solid-color stains last longer—often three to five years.
Many homeowners who have used oil-based stains in the past have been switching to acrylics. Wood decks that have been tested at the Paint Quality Institute have shown that those treated with acrylic-based stains have to be recoated less often than their oil-based counterparts. They found that oil-based coatings quickly degraded, wore away, and often required a new application after one year.
Urethane Deck Coating
A polyurethane coating sits on the surface of your deck rather than penetrating it. It is about fifty times thicker than paint, but it rolls on just the same. Proponents point out that it is a uniquely engineered urethane deck coating that is a long-lasting and reliable alternative to paints and stains and that it adheres to any properly prepared surface.
Opponents, however, warn that rain and harsh UV rays will cause polyurethane to fail quickly, which will subject the wood to weathering. If you do decide to use a urethane coating on your wood deck, you can better protect your deck from harsh weather conditions in summer and winter.
Wood Deck Resurfacing & Restoration Coating
Homeowners often choose wood restoration acrylic coatings for their severely weathered or neglected decks. They are made from an acrylic base material to which can include a tint along with UV inhibitors and solids (aluminum oxide or sand) to provide texture.
These deck coatings are very thick and can fill in and conceal cracks up to ¼-inch deep. They also create a slip-resistant finish that also resists future cracking and peeling. The prep work is extensive, and you’ll need a power washer, a bottle of deck cleaner, a roller, masking materials, and a roller extension.
While many homeowners are happy with the look of their deck after applying the restoration coating, others complain about the expense, the hard work, its roughness on bare feet, and its tendency to peel.
Installing a Composite Deck
You might think that it makes more sense to spend the money (and it takes quite a bit of it) on a composite deck and be maintenance-free forever. Composite decking ranges from $7 or so per square foot to double that and more depending on various factors.
Although these non-wood materials do not require the same amount of upkeep as wood decks, they are not totally without maintenance. They are susceptible to mold, scratches, fading, and warping, just like wood.
For quality and beauty, wood is hard to beat. It does require more upkeep than composite materials, but the outstanding results from regular sealing, staining, and cleaning make it a good choice for homeowners. Next time you are asking this question after wintertime, remember these wood deck resurfacing ideas!