Due to the growing popularity of decks, there are now a wide variety of deck finishes - ranging from conventional penetrating ones to new water based latex ones. In the alkyd category, there are clears, semi transparent and opaque finishes. In latex, semi transparent and opaque.
Many homeowners are starting to use the semi transparent or opaque to maximize the protection and duration of their deck coating.
Begin by cleaning and power washing to remove dirt, mildew and old coatings. If you are using a clear, penetrating coatings, deck brightening products help restore a "new wood" look to the wood. Both sides of the railings should also be powerwashed.
Brushes and Rollers - Once the deck is clean and thoroughly dry, start with a brush on the outside of the deck, on tops of the railing and work your way down to the deck, then in toward the house. Then switch to a roller for the deck, starting at an outside edge and working toward the house. Use even pressure on the roller on each board to give uniform coverage and sheen.
Spraying is another way to coat decks - faster than brush/roller, but you must be sure to protect nearby plants from overspray. Spray equipment can be rented at many paint stores, home centers or rental companies. Check with a paint professional for tip size and pressure setting - which will depend on the type of coating you use.
Spray railings first, unless the railings are to be a different color than the deck. Then the deck should be coated first.
One trick for protecting plants or other objects from overspray is to tape kraft paper to the outside of the railing, which will catch the overspray. When spraying the deck itself, spray evenly over a six foot square area, then go over that area with a 1/2 inch nap roller to spread coating evenly into deck. Continue this procedure in sections until deck is covered. Be sure to use a large shield (such as 4 ft square piece of cardboard) when painting alongside the house to protect it from overspray.
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