The Only Sure-Fire Way To Give Your Deck Coating ANY Shot At Longevity

If you have ever heard me preach about the best way to give your deck coating a fighting chance at lasting for any length of time, it may very well be the first time you have ever heard someone describe the methodology for this potentially annoying ongoing maintenance item.

Internally, the process seems quite simple as I have had what seems like an infinite number of conversations on the topic over time, so much so that it can be easy to forget that the vast majority of people applying coating systems (stains, etc.) to their deck have no idea that this often stress-relieving topic I speak of is actually a thing.

The problem the prescription addresses is what can, literally, be a never-ending annual chore.

On my weekly PROTALK Home Improvement Radio Show (630AM/99.7FM in the Rhode Island area, every Saturday @ 2pm) I once had a caller call in and inquire about a solution to help them not have to re-stain their pressure treated deck every year.

After a bit further conversation, it was revealed that the homeowner had owned the home for the past 32 years and each of the 32 years (YES!, I confirmed this LIVE on the air) they had went through the grueling process of prepping and re-staining their deck.

To each’s own obviously, but that would drive me insane.

Most decking systems with wood as their flooring, stair, or top of rail finish products (we refer to these areas as the “flats”) are made with wood products (examples – pressure treated wood, mahogany, Ipe, etc.) that is treated or naturally comes in such a way which makes it resistant to the tests that decks are often put through (foot traffic, weather, snow & leaves sitting on them, etc.).

Because of this, it makes it extraordinarily challenging for any coating system that is put on them to penetrate and last for any reasonable length of time.

In fact, it is not unusual to hear the caller’s story of his deck peeling every year.


While this courageous soul had decided to acquiesce and accept this as an annual chore, many folks simply almost totally give up and even if their deck peels after a year, they let things ride and refuse to prep & re-stain the deck anything more often than every 5 years.

Whatever the scenario, this does not necessarily have to be the case.

There is a process I often speak of that provides your deck a fighting chance at maximizing the coating life of any deck-oriented stain/paint system which is applied.

This process is called ‘media blasting’.

I typically describe it as a gentler version of traditional sandblasting.

The media that is used in this process varies.

It can be crushed sand, glass, walnut, corn, and even garnet – whatever is required to get the job done.

The first part of the media blasting process involves the media blasting itself and its purpose is to rough up the wood in such a manner where any previous coatings are removed, the pores of the wood are opened up, and the stage is set for the decking areas that are being treated to be super-receptive to the coating system that comes next.

From here, the deck is cleaned and after it dries out, things are sanded and a first coat of product is applied.

When this first coat is applied, the grain of the wood will raise.

At this point, things need to be lightly sanded and final-coated and VOILA!!, you now have your best chance of your deck coating system lasting as long as it is physically possible to do so.

In fact, from here moving forward, the process of maintenance will be SUPER easy as the next time comes to treat the deck, it will simply have to be (with rare exception) cleaned and recoated.

The hours and hours of the agonizing sanding and surface prep of the past will be no more.

The most challenging part to live through with this process is the actual media blasting can be a bit messy (though a system should be in place to thoroughly clean things as the process is completed) and the visual shock of how the deck appears from a “roughness” standpoint can be a bit overwhelming.

Although this part of the process can be a little stomach-turning for someone who has not seen it done before, that feeling should turn around VERY quickly as the rest of the process is enacted, your deck areas look better and better as each part of the process is completed, and ultimately the stain/paint system on your deck is successfully set up to last for truly a long time to come!

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