To get the most out of a wood deck it needs to be protected from the environment and harsh weather conditions. Harmful UV rays and moisture can lessen the longevity of a wood deck in no time. Protecting the wood will block out these damaging conditions giving you many years of enjoyment from your deck.
To provide protection to a wooden deck you have a number of choices. Protective finishes like deck stains and wood deck sealers come in several colors and opacities. Semi-transparent and semi-solid deck stains are definitely in a class by their own when it comes to superior wood protection.
Some homeowners wonder if the paint is a good option of protection. Most restoration professionals agree that paint does not hold up well on a deck. If you've ever seen a solid stained or painted deck that has failed you probably noticed the flaking and peeling. This is very common with paints and also big box store solid deck stains which are basically thin paint.
Wood contracts and expands naturally with altering temperatures and climates. Paints also contract and expand but at a different rate than wood. This variance in flexibility causes the paint to crack and eventually peel over a period of time.
When the bottom sides of the deck boards are not protected, such in most cases, moisture is still able to penetrate the wood. A heavy pigmented paint or stain traps the moisture in the wood, unlike a more breathable deck stain. This phenomenon causes the paint to crack, flake, and peel. Generally, the problem is first noticeable near the edges of each deck board.
Why You Shouldn't Paint a Deck
Semi-transparent deck stains are much more maintainable. They can have tint added to them as well for a unique look. A quality deck stain penetrates the wood, unlike paint which creates a film on the surface that is susceptible to peeling. Penetrating deck stains and sealers are a good choice for shielding your wooden deck from Mother Nature.