As winter fades away and gives way to the fairer weather of spring many people begin to migrate outside for various exterior painting projects. Painting your deck is perhaps one of the most important exterior painting tasks a homeowner may undertake. The deck is already built and painting it is one way of protecting its surface as well as your investment. A fresh coat of paint is one of the best ways to protect the deck against the year round elements.
Preparing the Surface
The deck must be cleaned thoroughly before any exterior painting can begin. Sweep the surface to get rid of all the loose dirt on the surface and then clean between the wooden slats and around the joints where the posts and deck surface meet. The deck then needs to be washed with bleach water to get rid of any types of mildew or mold that might be growing. Regular bleach mixed with warm water will work fine, but to prevent damage to grass or plants in the yard area use oxygen bleach. Hiring a professional who can do a power wash is also a good idea, plus it ensures that the deck will not be damaged in the process.
If the paint that was previously applied to the deck is chipped or peeling, apply paint thinner to the surface. It can then be removed along with the chipped paint by using a scraper. This will make sure that the surface is clean and ready for the painting ahead. Removing all the old paint is a very important part of the process. After the surface has been stripped, sweep the deck again to make sure it is smooth and clean. The surface is now ready for a coat of primer. After the primer has dried for at least 24 hours you can begin painting.
Selecting the Paint
When doing any type of exterior painting in NJ, it is important to use only paints designed for use outdoors. They are more expensive than interior paints but they must be durable enough to stand up through the harsh elements. There are three types of paints from which to choose: oil-based, alkyd or latex-based paints.
Oil-based paints will take longer to dry after it is applied, but it will also last a lot longer than latex-based paints. They also have more fumes than other types of paints so it is necessary to wear a mask to protect yourself when you are applying this type of paint.
Alkyd paints are similar to the oil-based variety of paints and they will have even more fumes. They will also dry much more slowly than latex-based paints.
Latex-based paints will dry quickly. If the surface is not adequately prepared, latex paints will tend to peel off.
Protect Your Work
No matter what type of paint or finish is chosen, it is important to apply a good sealant to protect the deck. Applying a new coat of sealant each year will help preserve the paint job and make it last for a good many years. Apply sealant when it is the sunniest as the sunlight helps the sealant dry. Make sure there is no traffic on the deck for at least two hours after the sealant has been applied. It is best if you can give it 24 hours before any traffic resumes. After 24 hours you may place the deck furnishings back on the surface. Then you can enjoy your hard work on a great looking deck!