What can I do to make my deck last longer?
By Jason Humrichous
Rob L of Kokomo recently reached out to me with this tough scenario and question.
Rob says, “We have a deck that we paint every year with the expensive paint that is supposed to last three years, but it never lasts more than four months. Is there something you could do that may last longer?”
Rob, I have to tell you I hate decks for several reasons.
Expectations- your expectations are rarely met. It is tough to bring life back to a deck without enormous amounts of work and time. The time never translates into a profitable job. Unless the wood is brand new and you stain it with a clear or semi-transparent stain, it rarely performs well. So the first two to three stainings of the life of a deck are the best looking and performing. Many times it will last two to three years for each application. Once you move past that and move into a solid colored stain or a different coating, in my experience, no matter how the deck is prepared, that it rarely lasts longer than one to two seasons in the Central Indiana region.
Horizontal Surfaces – They hold water, and water is bad for your deck. I don’t care what the paint manufacturers (Sherwin Williams, PPG, Benjamin Moore, Pittsburg) do in the lab. Water is just bad for your deck and really any surface. When the decks are installed, the installer installs the deck boards to not “cup.” Many times the installer is hasty, and they don’t take the time to process the lumber. Additionally, the sun bakes this wood, and it simply just warps. When you have a product sitting in water, the paint/stain will release. Snow and ice sitting on the paint/ stain for days it will cause a release as well. When you take your shovel to remove this snow and ice, the paint/stain will be scratched, allowing more moisture to penetrate.
Profitable – Decks can take as much time as a whole-house exterior, depending on the deck’s condition and the client’s expectations. I haven’t convinced a client to pay the same amount of money to re-stain their deck as it cost to repaint the exterior of their home. The best thing to do is understand where the life cycle of your deck is. It might be best to replace portions or all of the deck with a composite. The most successful and best-looking deck scenarios I’ve seen have been when everything horizontal was a composite, and everything vertical was cedar or worst case scenario treated.
There’s nothing like a beautiful morning or evening Spring, Summer, or Fall sitting on a stress-free deck or porch. Make it less stressful and do it right from the start.
Check out my blog, “Solutions for Fixing a Deck that is Super Old,” to see some options on fixing my deck that is too far gone.