Caring for Wooden Decks and Porches

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If you plan to add a deck to your home, begin by selecting quality pressure-treated or composite building material. If you build with pressure-treated wood, let the porch or deck set raw — without paint or stain — for at least six months to a year. The longer you let it set, the more of the chemical used to pressure treat the wood dries. As long as it is wet, it will cause paint and stain to peel. You may never get a good coat to stick if you paint or stain when the wood is still green.

If your home already has a deck or porch, the following tips will help you keep it looking great for years.

Composite Decks and Porches

It’s really easy to care for composite decks and porches. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning. If the exact details are not available to you, washing the surfaces with gentle soap and water and rinsing them well should keep the composite clean.

Wood Decks and Porches

Before painting or staining your wood decks and porches the first time, pressure wash them to get any grime off. Let them dry completely — usually a couple of days in sunny weather. Once you have paint or stain on the decks, they are easy to care for. Just wash them when you wash the exterior of your house.

If you notice areas where the stain or paint is wearing off, paint or stain those areas. Once the paint or stain dries, add a coat or two to the entire deck to maintain a uniform look.

Choosing the Proper Stain or Paint

When you choose a stain or paint, it’s beneficial to select a brand that is well-known. Some less expensive brands won’t cover as well, so you’ll need several coats. You’ll end up spending a similar amount of money in the long run. Better stains and paints are also less likely to peel up after a couple of years.

As with the paint on your house, the paint and stain on the decks and porches need to be refreshed every 3 to 5 years, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep the paint color chip so you can use the same color the next time.

If you decide to change the color, you can stain or paint over the old color. Keep in mind that if you are going lighter than what is on the porch now, you’ll need additional coats, or you might want to remove the old paint or stain.