How To Paint a Deck?

Deck Painting Cleaning
Deck Painting Cleaning

Millions of home owners across the United States begin their summer by applying a fresh new coat to their deck. This signifies that the outdoor space is open and ready to be enjoyed. Applying a fresh coat of paint is a great way to protect the deck year round. In order to complete this simple task, you will need tools such as a roller, brushes, painter’s tape, specialized paint for decks, a paint sprayer, and a deck sealant. IF the existing paint on the deck is chipping away, it is best to use a paint thinner and scraper to remove the old paint. Removing the existing chipping paint will ensure a nice clean, flat surface when the deck is finished. Before you begin painting, check the weather forecast to make sure it will not rain for the next two days.

When preparing to paint your deck, the first step is to select the paint that is right for your deck. Several companies already make paint specifically for decks and patios. Deck paints contain special ingredients that aim to keep water from penetrating the surface. Some companies even offer a non-slip compound in their paint. This is especially good for decking around pool areas, and decks in areas that tend to see a lot of rain. Find a color that compliments your home in a positive way. You should consider purchasing a sealant finish cover at this point also, which will save you another trip to the hardware store in the future. Brushes, rollers, and other tools you will need should be purchased now as well.

Preparing the surface to be painted is one of the most important steps in the process. Preparing the surface involves removing any old chips or build ups that exist from the last coat of paint. This step is crucial to ensure that the paint you apply will look even and flat. Painting over a pour or cracked surface can also heighten the possibility of water damage in your new coat of paint. After the old paint chips have been removed, sweep the surface thoroughly to prevent the old chips from contaminating the new paint.

Use painters tape to tape around the deck, so you do not get paint on the house. Using either a paint roller or a paint sprayer, apply the paint evenly. It is very important to follow the wood grain and never apply paint against the grain. Even if you can not see the grain after the deck is painted, applying the paint with the grain will allow the paint to penetrate into the surface. It is best to apply one to two coats of the paint. The first layer should dry completely before the second layer is applied. Use a small hand brush to fill in any cracks or unpainted area on the deck.

After the paint is dry, it is now time to apply the sealant. Paint sealant should not be applied during times of extreme sunlight. Sunlight can dry a sealant, leaving you with an unattractive surface as well as an unprotected surface. Applying the sealant can be done in the same way as applying the deck paint. Using a roller with a nap of ¼” or less, gently roll on the sealant in the same direction as the paint was applied. Be sure to use a brush to access any missed area, and fully cover the deck with a sealant. After the sealant is applied, do not allow anyone to walk on the deck for a minimum of two hours. If it is possible, try to keep everyone off the deck for twenty four hours, as more time will provide a better finished product. Wait at least twenty four hours before you place any deck furniture onto the surface. Deck furniture tends to be heavy, which can cause denting in the surface if it has not fully dried.

After waiting twenty four hours, you can no enjoy your deck to the fullest! If you properly maintain the deck surface, you will not need to repaint and seal the surface for at least another year. Be sure to fix any small problem before it turns into a larger problem.

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Author: Darren

Darren Urman became a professional writer 15 years ago, when he retired as a building contractor. Darren joined the THF team of writers in July, 2009. He enjoys cooking, writing, and traveling.

4 thoughts on “How To Paint a Deck?”

  1. I seriously doubt that when a deck is being built, the wood is installed according to the direction of the grain.  Only someone without a life is going to roll or even brush in the everchanging direction of the grain.

    1. This is a very informative article, Darren!  Hopschtch, you’re right about people probably not bothering to follow the direction of the grain, if the deck isn’t laid with all the grain going in the same direction.  However, most professional deck installers would be aware of importance of laying the deck out with all the grain going in the same direction and would most likely have taken the time to lay the boards properly.  Even most DIY deck builders tend to match the direction of the grain when laying the boards for a deck, unless they are really careless or are specifically trying to create a pattern with the grain directions.  If the grains are being used as a decorative pattern, then the deck owner most likely will only use a clear sealant or stain instead of using paint to cover the deck boards.

  2. aka if the boards are laid horizontally paint in a horizontal, left to right motion…not perpendicular to the boards

    1. The left to right motion well work if the boards are laying horizontally and have the grain of the wood going from left to right.  If the grain is going from right to left though, then you would want to be using right to left motions.  If the grain pattern is in a vertical position then go from top to bottom, going with the grain and not against it. And never goes cross-ways to the grain!

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