How Do You Prepare a Deck for Painting?

The deck of your house is a pretty visible part of the home, so it’s pretty important to make sure it’s looking its best, and that it’s painted in the way you want it to be.

The problem is, the deck can be a lot harder to paint than it seems, and needs to be done right!

One of the most important parts of painting your deck, and the first step you absolutely need to take, is preparation.

This is important for every paint job, but with your deck, it might make all the difference.

So, how do you prepare a deck for painting? There are several steps you need to take, to ensure the preparation is fully complete and it is ready for painting.
Here is what you need to do:

  • Clean the surface:

To start off the preparations, you need to thoroughly clean the entire surface of the deck. This will be harder if you haven’t cleaned it in a while, and might make you wish you were better at regular maintenance!

For this, you will need to remove any furniture and other items that are placed on the deck. (You would have had to remove them anyways for painting, so might as well do everything properly from the very beginning!)

Next, sweep the entire floor so there is no dirt or debris left on the surface!

  • Sand down the boards:

The second step is sanding all of the boards. This is super important, as it will help get rid of any old or leftover paint, as well as removing debris, dirt, stains, and others.

You basically want to remove everything from the layer of bare wood, because anything that gets will hinder the painting process and might stop the paint from sticking to the wooden boards properly.

However, make sure you are sanding down the boards in the direction of the grain so that you aren’t scratching it or causing any damage!

  • Clean again!

After sanding, which will have loosened up all the extra dirt and debris, along with old paint and imperfections, you need to clean again. (Yup, most prep work is just cleaning over and over again, but it’s worth it in the end!)

Sweep the entire surface once more and ensure it is perfectly clean, ready for being primed before the actual painting can begin.

  • Prime the deck for painting:

The final step to fully prepare your deck for painting is to add a layer of primer.

This is important for most paint jobs, but it becomes even more vital when painting wood, as wooden surfaces are extra porous and absorbent of liquids, and you need the paint to stay on the surface so that it’s visible!

There are different types of primer available, and the one you choose should pair well with the paint you will later apply, as well as being completely compatible with the wood of the deck.

And after you have applied the primer, make sure you let it dry for long enough before initiating the painting process!

Can I repaint my deck without stripping?

Sometimes, you paint the deck of your house a certain color, and after a couple of years (or even a couple of months if you’re that indecisive), you change your mind and decide you actually want it to be a different color. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s easy enough, you just need to repaint it.

But here’s the important question, can you repaint your deck without stripping?

When we say stripping, we’re referring to removing the pre-existing paint on the deck, so that it’s bare once more. Usually, this is the recommended course of action, as paint adheres much better to the wood when it is completely bare.

But stripping the paint can be quite the challenge, and to many, it can seem a waste of time. Can’t you just paint over the old paint?

The answer is yes. You can indeed repaint your deck without first stripping it, meaning you won’t have to remove the old paint before you apply the new one. However, it’s not as easy as simply taking the paint and throwing it over the deck.

There are a few steps you will need to take in order to ensure the paint actually adheres to the deck, especially if you used a finishing smooth layer on the old paint.

The main step is sanding. You will have to sand down the deck so that you remove the finishing layer of the previous paint job, as this layer would make it very hard for the new paint to adhere properly.

Once it has been sanded down and thoroughly cleaned, you can add your new paint.

Can you paint over peeling deck paint?

If you’re wanting to repaint your deck, but the old paint is already starting to peel, it won’t be as easy as simply painting over it.

This is because although you could add a new layer of paint over it all, this new paint will be sticking onto the old paint, not the actual surface of the deck. And if the old paint is peeling off, the new paint will come off with it!

So to answer the question: no. You should not paint over peeling deck paint, as the new paint will simply come off with the old paint as it peels, and nothing will be solved.

Instead, you will first have to strip away all of the peeling paint, as it is on its way out anyway. Strip it, then sand down the deck, and clean thoroughly.

What will be left is either a fully bare wooden deck, ready to be newly painted, or patches of bare wood and of old paint that wasn’t peeling.

It’s fine to paint over the old paint that hasn’t started to peel, as long as you’ve also sanded it down.

What is the best color to paint a deck?

You can paint your deck in whichever color you want, as you’ll be the one looking at it every day, and as a part of your home, it needs to primarily appeal to your personal preferences.

However, if you’re looking for the best colors for a deck, we recommend you go for timeless and neutral options.

Painting your deck a bright neon green might seem like fun, but you will likely tire of it very quickly, and it will become a bit of an eyesore that is hard to escape.

Match your deck color to your house’s overall appearance, so that it doesn’t crash. And as for the timeless and neutral options that are most common and popular, you could choose between black, dark or light brown, grey, beige, or dark colors.

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