The best way to paint a deck

deck with a view image by Bruce Shippee from

Paint your deck in the spring or early summer to enjoy it all year. Painting not only looks good, it protects a deck from the elements and adds dimension to your outdoor space. Painting your deck early in the growing season means you are not working around established landscaping and plants. Consider painting different levels of the deck two shades of the same colour or painting the deck railings a different colour from the decking to add visual interest.

Inspect your deck and railings for loose nails or screws and cracked or rotten wood. Replace wood as needed and tighten all the fasteners.

Clean the deck. Scrub with a natural bristle brush and water with deck or siding detergent, which typically has added mildewcide to kill and remove mould and mildew. Use the edge of a putty knife to scrape dirt and leaf debris from between the boards. Unless it's a small deck, this can be very labour-intensive, so consider renting a power washer. Rinse the deck thoroughly and allow it to dry for two to three days.

Scrape loose paint from the wood if the deck was previously painted. A power washer will remove most but not all loose paint. Use a power sander and 50-grit or 80-grit sandpaper to smooth edges if necessary.

Prime the deck with oil-based or water-based primer. Use a 3-inch paintbrush for all the areas you can't reach with the roller.

Apply two coats of high-quality deck paint with a roller and brush. Paint the railings first and wipe drips and blobs of paint from the decking as you work. Paint the deck last. Do the edges with the brush first and roll the large areas.

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