Everyone loves a decking project with a beautiful finish, and now that the sun is finally getting his hat on, you’ve got a couple of options on how to do that. We recently discussed the advantages in painting your decking, which one available option. However, as we discussed at the time, it’s also a permanent one, which means there are certain things that you need to bear in mind if painting is what you decide to do. We’ve summed them up below. (It’s worth saying that they’re specifically mistakes around painting decking, but some are worth remembering for when it comes to oiling and staining too!)
This might sound a simple one, but it’s sort of like mis-fuelling your car – everyone thinks it sounds like an impossible silly mistake until the day it happens to them. All it takes is a brief assumption, or a moment of distraction, and you may end up walking out of the hardware shop with a paint that’s not actually designed to go on your decking. We can’t stress enough how important it is to buy a paint that’s actually designed for decking, as it’ll often have a knock-on effect on the overall quality, and how well it stands up to the elements. Before you dip your brush, it’s always worth double-checking the label one last time, just in case!
Another seemingly simple mistake, but again it’s easier to make than you might think. Unlike decking oils or stains, paint for decks is available in an almost dizzying range of colours. Sometimes more choice isn’t always better though, as it makes it even easier to just that shade that’s just slightly off. You’ll know the feeling if you’ve ever painted a room the wrong colour in your house. But unfortunately, when it comes to decking it’s a far harder mistake to rectify.
In many ways, painting your decking is just like any other job in that you always need the right equipment on hand. If you find out halfway through that you’ve not got the right tools or materials (or enough of them), there’s no question that it can be a bit of a nightmare. This means that before you get cracking on painting your decking, you’ll need to make sure you’re properly equipped for the size of your deck.
A brush is the obvious one, and you’ll definitely need it to get into those fiddly areas, like between the expansion gaps. But if that’s the only tool you’ve got, the job is probably going to take ages. More often than not you’ll need a roller to get the bulk of the work done in a reasonable time, and a paint pad (which can be operated with a pole) can be useful too.
You may even choose to use a paint sprayer, which can really cut down your time. If that’s the case though, don’t forget that the usual rules of operating spray equipment apply. You’ll need the right PPE, like gloves, safety goggles, and crucially a respirator – all at the very least.
When it comes to painting your decking you’ll need to judge the weather reasonably carefully. Painting your decking when conditions are too cold may mean the paint doesn’t apply smoothly and might not adhere to the wood. If you paint when it’s too hot on the other hand, you may well find it dries too quickly, and clumping or brush marks may end up showing up. Rain is similarly not ideal! (Decking can be surprisingly fussy.) You’ll want a Goldilocks sort of day that’s not too hot, not too cold, and isn’t raining or snowing. It all needs to be just right.
There are several reasons for this, but the first one is naturally from a safety perspective. Ideally, you shouldn’t be spending any time on a deck that’s not in good repair, as the chances of you or a member of your family are that much higher. Don’t underestimate the dangers that a poorly maintained deck can pose – splinters, popped nails and rotting boards are just a few of the most common, whereas in the worst case scenario it might suffer complete structural failure, which can lead to serious injuries. Make sure it’s in decent repair before you start!
Thankfully, the risks of painting an unclean deck can also sometimes be hazardous. Painting over dirty patches, stains, mildew or mould may make your decking more slippery. Even if they don’t, they can often lead to imperfections in the finish, which can still render a lot of your hard work pointless. Trust us, it’s worth taking the time to make sure your deck is clean before you begin.
One more thing that can easily lead to imperfections is simply being too enthusiastic with the paint. More is not necessarily better, and you may well find yourself left with an uneven finish, which can be particularly frustrating. It’s yet another good reason to check the directions on the paint before you start, as each product has specific directions for proper application and amounts. Above all, remember the tortoise and the hare – slow and steady does the job!
If you’re still looking for a couple of materials to help you finish off your decking project, that’s exactly where we can help here at Savoy Timber. We’ve got a huge range of products, from easy fit decking kits to handrails, spindles and panels, or even our brand new sophisticated composite decking boards. Why not take a look around our site, and see what you can find?