So, you have a wooden deck that needs some livening up, and painting wooden decks seems to be your best option at this point. Are you sure?
Painting a wooden deck isn’t typically the favorite choice to spruce up an old deck, since it needs constant maintenance to make sure it stays nice – but it is a quicker and easier short-term solution to getting your deck back into the game. Maybe you’ll even feel better about inviting people over for dinner in the summer again…
You’ll probably spend more time preparing your deck to be painted than you actually will painting it, so while you’re probably tempted to skip some of these initial tasks – don’t! Proper preparation will save you from having to start over again down the line.
First, remove and replace any old, rotten boards. If a board is badly cracked, replace that one too. Have some loose fasteners on the deck? Take them off – don’t try to hammer them back into place, since they’ll just come loose again rather quickly.
Use the end of a hammer or a pry bar to take them our, and refasten the boards through those same holes, using weatherproof deck screws or nails that are longer than the ones previously holding the board down. That way, the nails will reach the boards underneath.
Next, use a pressure washer or deck cleaner to thoroughly clean the deck area. Get rid of all accumulated dust and dirt, and the pressure washer or cleaner might even be able to help remove old finish or stains. Once the deck has dried, give it a light sweeping.
Theoretically, this is still the preparation stage, but at least you’re doing something that involves a roller. Use two coats of exterior wood primer on the deck, and apply it on with a roller or a long-handled brush. Apply the second coat only after the first has completely dried, and once they’re both dry, dust or sweep off the deck again.
Once the deck has been cleaned and primed, you’re ready to paint. You’ll probably need to apply several coats of your chosen paint color, in order to achieve full coverage, and make sure you’re using an oil-based enamel specially designed for use on porches and floors. It should also have a semi-gloss after-sheen.
The reason why you want a porch and floor enamel is because of their composition: they’re formulated to have extra hardeners and pigments inside the paint, in order to help the paint be more durable under excessive wear.
The semi-gloss sheen is especially important if you want to avoid water damage, as it helps to repel water without being a full-out gloss enamel that might become blinding under direct sunlight!
Since a painted deck wears more easily than one that’s primed, make sure you sweep the deck regularly with a soft broom or brush, and wash it often with a non-abrasive sponge or mop. Dirt can easily grind down the paint and increase wear, so it’s best to take preventative action.
Also, don’t use a hard spray from the garden hose to wash the deck down, since this might force water under the paint – something else that you don’t want to happen. If you can, do a quick patch-up on any chipped spots as you notice them – it’ll make your hard work last longer.