• Outdoor Living That Lasts

    Published 6/10/2011

    The right preparation is vital!

    Connecting with Mother Nature while enjoying outdoor living on your deck is simply one of life’s great pleasures. But when it comes to maintaining the attractiveness of your deck, you have a formidable foe: Mother Nature herself. Rain and sun alternately expand and contract the decking material, which can play havoc with any coating that has been applied. During winter, snow and ice create a state of continuous moisture, until you appear with shovel in hand and almost certainly scratch the surface of the deck while clearing the offenders. Elevation can also have a big impact on how well your deck “ages.” Decks that sit on or very close to soil can experience a wicking effect, whereby moisture in the soil us drawn up right through the wood as sunshine beats on the deck surface. Indeed, it doesn’t take long for these natural elements to rob your deck of its original beauty. In fact, according to Dave Chillemi of CertaPro Painters ® in Westchester, NY, it’s very unusual for horizontal deck surfaces- the decking material underfoot, the top of handrails and the treads- to hold their good looks for more than two years before needing careful attention. The degree of attention, of course, depends on how much damage has been done.


    How long a new coating will last is directly related to how well the deck surface is prepared. Without this upfront work, you simply won’t get the lasting good looks you want.

    There are three main methods of surface preparation:

    • Pressure washing- Surfaces that are free from chipping or peeling paint may need little more than a good pressure washing with an appropriate cleaner to remove dirt and mildew prior to applying a new coating.
    • Chemical stripping- Environmentally safe chemical stripping is a good option if there is a significant amount of old coating to remove. Paint removal systems such as Peel Away 1 ®, a Dumond Chemical product, offer better control and are more dependable than other chemical strippers. Peel Away 1 ® has no fumes or flammable solvents.
    • Mechanical stripping- Using a 3-head sanding machine often results in the best surface for applying coatings that will last. Before using the sander to strip the surface down to bare wood, it’s important to countersink screws and nails on the surface to be sanded. This prevents the sanding machine from breaking the screws and nails or being broken by them. Once the surface is clear, clean and smooth, the new coating can be applied.


    The science of paint and stain formulation is constantly evolving, with new products addressing important challenges faced by homeowners and painting professionals alike. “We spend a lot of time meeting with the technical support people of paint companies,” says Chillemi. “It’s interesting because there’s almost always something new- some new product or a product improvement- to answer our #1 question regarding decks: ‘What’s going to last longest?’”

    Once the best product is selected for the job, an equally important question becomes how much to use. After all that prep work, the temptation is to apply several coats of stain or paint to make the renewed surface really last. Don’t do it, advises Chillemi. “Usually a single coat is best,” he says, “and never go above two.” On decks, product build-up leads directly to product failure- in the form of cracking and peeling. “And in a relatively short period of time,” adds Chillemi.

    The bottom line: Be informed, take time to prepare the surface well, select and apply the best coating for your particular situation… and enjoy the beautiful deck appearance for seasons to come!

    Adding color to concrete surfaces… beautifully!

    Concrete patios, spacious verandas, or areas around a pool can take on an attractive new look with the application of stains specifically formulated for this durable surface. Careful preparation is a must and usually includes etching the surface of the concrete before applying the stain product. Current trends favor a more natural “variable” finished look rather than an expanse of uninterrupted solid color, but there are enough style options to please every design taste. H&C® Concrete Coatings are frequently used by CertaPro Painters® to protect, restore and beautify exterior concrete surfaces. Your local CertaPro professional can help you achieve precisely the look you want. 


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