Deck / Fence Staining
Deck staining is a very popular service homeowner's take advantage of in the spring, summer, and fall months, when they're enjoying a nice BBQ on the deck. The problem with decks is that they take a beating. The horizontal surfaces of the deck are usually exposed to the sun and rain with minimum protection. Getting walked on by pets and owners alike cause traffic patterns. For these reasons, decks are a constant maintenance concern.
When deck staining is done properly, a deck floor can last 1-3 years. Railings and other vertical surfaces may last anywhere from 1-8 years. The big difference between the life of the two surfaces is that horizontal surfaces hold more weathering versus vertical surfaces which don't take quite a direct hit from sun, rain, snow and traffic.
Horizontal surfaces, like decks, usually need to be power washed and brightened using a bleach solution that will clean the wood grains of mildew and grey growth. Once the solution dries, 1 to 2 good coats of a proper, high quality deck stain should be applied. There are 2 types of deck stain you can use; a semi-transparent stain lets you see the wood graining while still having a tone to it, and a solid stain, which can be any color, covers the wood grains and coats the deck surfaces much like a house paint would.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using each of these stains. Usually a semi-transparent stain will last about half as long as a solid stain and will just fade over time, versus a solid stain which will start peeling once the stain begins to fail.
There are 2 types of fences that a typical home has:
- A picket fence; which is usually installed for ornamental purposes and has spacing in between the fence boards.
- A privacy fence; usually runs around the backyard, is much taller, usually around 6 feet, and has no gaps in between boards.
Both fences can be painted or stained any color. There are several types of stains and paints to use, depending on the look you want to achieve.
- A semi-transparent stain shows off the wood graining, and adds deep penetrating color to the wood fibers
- A clear coat shows the real color and characteristics of the wood; it's only purpose is to protect the wood from sun and weather damage
- A solid stain can be any color at all and just like paint, you can match it to the home or any other surface; it is much thicker and covers a majority of the wood graining.
The proper way to refinish a fence is to first power wash the area; this cleans it of any mildew, pollutants and chalking away. Let the fence dry. Apply 1-2 coats of paint or stain, depending on what's needed, to both sides of the fence.
A fence can last about 2-8 years depending on the amount of exposure and type of stain used. With thorough preparation, a good painter who knows how to apply the product, and a top quality stain or paint a drab fence can become a colorful part of your yard.
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