Home Tips: Deck or Porch Maintenance

From the experts at Sherwin-Williams: Tips for homeowners on deck or porch maintenance

Q: New decks look great. What should homeowners do to keep them looking that way?

A: All wood, especially exterior wood, needs care and maintenance. Protecting your deck from water, moisture and ultraviolet rays will prolong its life.

Q: There are so many exterior deck care products on the market. What should a homeowner look for when picking the best product for the job?

A: The first step in selecting the right coating for your deck or porch is to consider the age and condition of the wood. For newer wood, clear and toned products can prolong the life of your deck without covering up the beauty of the wood’s grain. Waterborne semi-transparent and solid stains - such as Sherwin-Williams DeckScapes™ stains - are great choices for older woods since they provide the maximum protection and can help conceal surface imperfections or marks. Your local Sherwin-Williams store offers quality DeckScapes products that can protect and beautify your deck.

Q: How long can a homeowner expect these protective finishes to last?

A: Coatings used on horizontal applications like decks naturally have a shorter life span than coatings applied to vertical surfaces. Horizontal surfaces get more direct exposure to sunlight, and moisture from rain, snow and ice. These surfaces also take a beating from foot traffic. When selecting a finishing product, take the time to read the manufacturer’s label to see if the coating has the protective qualities your deck needs. In general, clear finishes do not offer UV protection and do not last as long as pigmented-toned clears or semi-transparent stains.

Q: Should homeowners look for oil- or water-based products?

A: Products designed for exterior wood decks and porches provide a range of characteristics. Whether you select a product that is oil- or water-based is a matter of personal preference. Water-based products offer quick, soap-and-water clean up while oil-based finishes require solvents. On the other hand, oil-based coatings offer excellent results with just one coat, while water-based finishes usually need two.

Q: What deck cleaning products should you use?

A: Similar to selecting the finishing coat for the wood, the type of cleaning product you need will depend on the condition of the wood. Your local Sherwin-Williams store has a full line of DeckScapes cleaning products; ask the knowledgeable staff there to help you pick the one that will provide you with the best results for your particular project and situation.