Good Fences (And Decks) Need Good Stain

May 30, 2012

Here in metro Atlanta, there are two types of wood that dominate outdoor wood construction: Pressure Treated Pine (P.T.P.) and Cedar. Both are rot and bug resistant. However, in order to maintain the appearance and durability of the wood, a stain is typically applied, especially for fences and decks made out of pressure-treated wood.

Three Brothers Painting Staining Process

First, before applying any stain to the fence or deck, our crew will pressure wash the surface of the wood. This ensures a smooth surface in which to apply the stain. Brand new lumber needs to be cleaned to remove “mill scale,” which is a crushing of the grain that takes place during the milling process. If it’s left un-cleaned, it can prevent wood stains from properly penetrating into the wood surface. On an older deck, dirt, graying from the sun, mildew and old stains all need to be removed prior to staining.

 Oil vs. Latex Stains 

At Three Brothers Painting, we offer our customers a choice between oil and latex stains, but we typically prefer latex, due to constricted air quality regulations. In fact, many latex stains are now better, more durable and longer lasting than conventional oil-based alternatives. Additionally, good quality water-based stains clean up with soap and water, contain no added solvents, have a significantly better resistance to weathering, and they are much easier on the environment. However, Oil stains can still be used if the customer prefers.

Types of Stain 

There are three types of stains that you can use on fences and decks:

  • Transparent – a clear wood protector. Clear sealers will protect the wood from moisture. They will cause water to bead up and preserve against wood rot. They will also have little to no UV protection and will allow wood to gray naturally.
  • Semi-transparent – A stain with a little bit of color that still allows you to see the wood grain. This product will also bead water, but has many different colors to choose from. The pigments in the color help to preserve the wood.
  • Solid – Looks like a paint, but acts like a stain – penetrating the wood pores. A solid stain will retain the color best and have the most protection against moisture.

Whichever type of stain you choose for your deck or fence will determine the application of the product. Application is sprayed and hand brushed on latex decks.  The hand rails and spindles are sprayed, floors are brushed.  For oil stain, we do all surfaces by hand.

If you’re looking to breathe new life into an old deck or fence or stain a newly built fence, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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