Angie's List: Tips for painting or staining your deck

LEWISTON, ID - The summer is winding down, but there's still plenty of time to enjoy your backyard deck.

If your deck is looking a little drab and needs a facelift, you do have options. In Angie's List report, should you paint or stain your deck?

"If you want to take a painted deck, whether it be the spindles or the whole deck, the flooring, etc. you can strip that off," said John Nearon, Deck Company Director of Operations. "Sometimes sanding is required as well, but with that being said, it can be done. It's a little more labor intensive and therefore more costly. As a rule of thumb, oil-based penetrating stains are easier to maintain over the long-term."

"Deck staining can seem like a real simple job, but keep in mind it's a little harder than the average paint job because it's such a high traffic area," said Angie Hicks, Angie's List. "You want to make sure you get it done well and you don't rush to finish, otherwise you'll find yourself doing it again."

"As the wood shrinks and expands with changes in moisture and temperature, the paint doesn't always have the ability to move at the exact same rate and the only thing it can do at that point is release and let go of the wood and that manifests itself in cracking and peeling and chipping of the coating," said Nearon.

"Typically a company will quote staining a deck by the square foot or by the hour, so be sure it's clear in the estimate, the size of the deck," said Hicks. "Additionally, find out what types of materials they are going to use and remember if they are going to have to do a lot of prep work, like stripping old paint or stain, that's going to cost extra."

"I think after one or two times of doing it people realize the preparation, which is really key of doing any surface project like this," said Nearon. "Any type of coating well, particularly on an outdoor surface like a deck, it requires and awful lot of elbow grease, a lot of thought and a lot of work."

Wood decks do need to be re-stained every few years because even the best stains will fade, especially in high-traffic areas.