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Deck Treatment

Decks add much versatility and beauty to a home and when they are first built they look terrific. But unless treated periodically, the weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest can be brutal to your deck. Fortunately, there are a lot of treatment options available to you.

We at Tri-County Painting can offer you many different treatment options depending on your deck type, desired results, longevity expected and use your deck goes through as well as exposure to the elements (especially the sun). Over the years we have been in business, we have treated hundreds of decks applying stains to some and special paints to others. A properly appied deck re-treatment can add years of life to a deck.

Wood left exposed to sun and moisture will quickly begin to degrade. Leave your deck untreated and you can expect it to turn grey with age. In addition, the decking boards are likely to cup, warp and split. Ignore the problem for too long and you’ll have to make major repairs — or even replace sections of deck.

Deck sealing is a three-part process. Remove any old stains or coatings, clean the wood, and seal it against weather damage. If the deck has never been sealed before you won’t have to strip it, but brand new wood has special pre-stain preparation needs.

If your deck has been sealed before, use the water test to see if it’s time to seal it again. Drizzle some water onto the boards. If the water beads, the wood is still sealed and protected. If the water is absorbed into the wood, it’s time for a treatment. Remember to test several different areas of the deck. High-traffic spots are likely to wear down before corners and rail spindles.

According to Consumer Reports, opaque treatments that look like paint still last longest overall. But you'll find a few semitransparent treatments and even a clear finish or two that last nearly as long while showing off your deck's natural wood grain.

A more translucent treatment can also protect you and your family from arsenic found in some pressure-treated wood.

Until 2004, most decks used lumber preserved with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) to fend off rot and insects. But because of concerns that arsenic, a toxin, could leach out, its use was halted. Other preservatives are now available for residential use.

Semitransparent coatings penetrate the wood and seal in arsenic, according to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Opaque treatments also seal well, but they can peel or flake and may require sanding, which spread arsenic-laden dust from CCA lumber.

Opaque treatments. These finishes hide the wood grain and last longest. They're best for typical decks made of pressure-treated pine, where grain isn't important. Also known as solid-color stains, they hold up for at least three years. On the downside, opaque finishes can build up a film, especially after several coats, which can peel, chip, and crack like paint. Refinishing with opaque is generally more extensive and lengthy than with semitransparent and clear treatments.

Semitransparent treatments. These usually contain a small amount of pigment but let the wood grain show. They're best for cedar, redwood, or other expensive woods you want to show off. Choices range from little pigment to nearly opaque. On the downside, you may need to reapply them every two to three years.

Clear treatments. These contain water repellents and may contain a little pigment -ideal if you value the natural look of a premium-wood deck. They may also have UV inhibitors and wood preservatives. Most don't last more than one year, making deck refinishing an annual chore.

Deck treatments may be alkyd-based (solvent) or latex-based (water). Most alkyd-based products require cleaning with mineral spirits, but a few can be cleaned with water, like latex. Linseed oil and tung oil have largely been replaced by synthetic resins. These are described as preservatives, protectors, stabilizers, repellents, sealers, cleaners, restorers, or rejuvenators. (source: http://www.consumerreports.org)

Treating a deck properly is important. Give us a call and we can advise you on the best methods to use for your own situation.