Does decking need painting or preserving?
Ideally, any decking should have some form treatment. Although all softwood decking should have been pressure treated to ensure a long life, your deck will benefit from a little bit of TLC every few years or so. However, there’s no need to paint decking if you don’t want to – a clear oil or preservation treatment will do the job. The choice comes down to...
What look do you want?
The main deciding factor between painting or preserving decking is how you want it to look...
- Paint provides a striking finish and sits on top of the wood.
- Stain is more subtle and sinks into the wood.
- Oil or clear preserver maintains a natural look.
How much upkeep you want to do?
Paint will generally require more upkeep than stain or preserver. Therefore if you’re happy with the way your decking looks, then just apply a protective oil every few years.
If you’d like to change the colour of your wood, but you’d be happy with a more subtle look, opt for stain over paint. Stain sinks into the wood while paint sits on the surface, making it more liable to flake off more quickly. Somerlap recommend Barrettine timber treatment which is a deep penetration, water repellent product. It's also low odour and harmless (once dry) to plants and animals.
Tips for staining or painting your deck
Wait for dry weather
You’ll need at least a few days of dry weather, so keep a close eye on the weather forecast. To check if your timber is dry enough to treat, simply press a screw into timber and see if water seeps out – if it doesn't then the timber is ready to be painted.
Clean the decking thoroughly first
Use a brush to remove debris, and then ensure your decking is clean and free from dirt, plus old paint or stain. For tough stains, you can use a pressure washer and decking cleaner but be careful not to damage the wood.