Blight Built, in Columbia, SC, is dedicated to creating beautiful outdoor living spaces. Owner Charlie Blight builds and cares for decks, pergolas and more. “We build it to last, but WHAT YOU PUT ON TOP OF IT—and IF YOU STAY ON TOP OF IT—will determine for how long,” he says. “We recommend sealing it with a clear or semi-transparent sealer.” Blight does not suggest painting wood. “The problem with painting is that once it cracks, you can’t tell, and then water seeps in and the wood rots.” He also likes the look of wood. For an inexpensive sealer option, he likes Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer. But, he cautions, it needs a yearly maintenance coat. Another great option, he says, is Olympic MAXIMUM Waterproofing Sealant (clear), which should be maintained every two to three years. In his area, he recommends every two years because of the hot and humid climate. The bigger issue related to climate, he says, is making sure the wood is dried out enough to seal. “But you don’t want it to be too dry because the boards will crack and bow,” he says.
A common thread among these professionals is the strong recommendation for maintenance coats, though the products and environments dictate how often.
Based in Indianapolis, Sam Reuter’s business, Painter Pro, tackles a variety of projects—and about 10% of them are decks. “We use a lot of solid stains,” he says. “We’ll also use transparent stains, depending on what the customer likes.” He likes solid stains because, in his experience, they hold up better. “Our weather changes all the time, and that means decks are constantly expanding and contracting,” he says. “Winters are relatively harsh. Snow, sleet and ice can beat up your deck. And we have very rainy Aprils and Mays.” His go-to is the Sherwin-Williams SuperDeck line. “We like the ease of application, and we get good coverage from them. They’re durable with good longevity,” he says. “And they have a good variety of finishes and colors. They give us a nice finish.” He suggests maintenance coats every two to three years. And he says no matter what product you use, the most important thing with decks is surface preparation. “You can use the best product in the world, but if you’ve got rotted wood and you don’t prep the surface, the product won’t matter,” he says.
inPAINT | May 2018