Family enjoying time on the deck after repairs are complete. As a young adult, you dreamed of owning a house, one with a large deck out back on which you could enjoy an ice-cold beer while grilling steaks for family members and friends. When you found the perfect house, it didn't have such a deck, but you vowed to add one sooner rather than later. That time has come, and you now must decide whether to finish the deck with paint, stain or one of the many available deck coatings. Let's look at the pros and cons of each, so you can make an informed decision and get started on this project.

Paint
Pros: When properly applied, paint will last several years on a wood deck and requires little maintenance. Using paint also allows you to get more creative with your color choices, as more deck paint colors exist than deck stain colors. Be sure to choose a paint specially formulated for wood decks and finish with a sealant.

Cons: Proper application proves vital to the longevity of the paint job. Your best bet will be to hire a professional, whether your trusted handyman or a painter . If your deck does not receive proper prep and sealant, it will chip and peel in no time.

Stain
Pros: If you chose the wood for your deck for its appearance, staining it makes the most sense, as it will allow the grain and texture to remain visible. If you use an oil-based deck stain that provides weatherproofing, you can skip the sealant step required with paint. Also, stain proves relatively easy to apply, but a professional will be able to do the job in a fraction of the time it will take you, and he will come with all necessary tools.

Cons: Stain will not provide the same protection as paint and sealant in certain climates. If you live in an area with high levels of humidity or heavy snow, stain might not be your best bet. Stains also must be reapplied more often than paint.

Coatings
Pros: Deck coatings most often cover non-wood decks. They create smooth surfaces that can be nonslip and resist severe water and sun exposure. When properly applied and maintained, they can last many decades. Deck coatings also allow for decorative treatments such as stamping. Multiple manufacturers of deck coatings exist, creating a seemingly endless amount of options.

Cons: Because there are so many contractors that provide deck coatings, limitations vary by brand. If you do have a deck made from a material other than wood, or you are just now entering the design phase of your deck, consult your handyman as to which type of deck and deck coatings would be the best fit for your home.

Deck Staining and Sealing - Sealer and Paint Brush No matter which of these options you choose, proper prep and application will deliver the best results. Maintenance , including regular cleaning , also remains key throughout the life of the deck. Don't rush this important decision or installation. After all, you've been waiting years to relax and enjoy your deck.

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