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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to avoid BEHR DeckOver and Sherwin-Williams Woodscapes at all costs! I'm looking for options for good paint for wood decks. Plain old exterior paint or something special? To be clear, I'm NOT looking for "Stain" options. Only "Paint" options.

Thanks a bunch!
 

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the old Sikkens oil based solid rubbol used to be the only thing that would really hold up and could be applied to marginally prepared wood. nothing like that exists anymore so I would advise you to put penetrating oils only on exterior decks. Anything else will eventually fail and become a maintenance problem down the road.

If you can get it down to bare wood I think cabots is the only brand that makes a solid oil coating anymore
 

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The problem is that nothing holds up on decks, especially paints. (The reason you'd get the stain recommendations is that stains ALSO have to be redone every couple / few / five years, but the prep is WAY easier than if it was paint).

All I can say is that I was once basically "ordered" to paint an impossible deck (oily Brazilian hardwood). It's what got me to sign onto this board in the first place. I used a "bad" system the first time (MCU) because I was supposed to match past painters' work, and I had no better idea. The second time (a repaint of the original deck I was supposed to match) I put SW PrimeRX down (after scrape/sand/clean) and topped it with BM Floor & Patio (Floor Patio Latex Enamels). That system did not suck at all. PrimeRX is spec'd for exterior horizontal surfaces. The BM floor & patio has great adhesion, flows out wonderfully by brush and/or roll, and levels amazingly well.

My "saga" thread is here: Painting exotic/Brazilain hardwoods

The 2nd page will be where I went from the MCU to the latex. The last time I saw that deck, it was about 2.5yrs in and other than needing a cleaning it was still looking rather bullet proof. Even the end-grain and other checking areas were still perfectly intact. I still figure by 5 yrs it'll have gone to crap. But if I was ever "ordered" to paint a deck again I'd do that system.

Given my own choice, I'd just do some manner or clear or stain and wash/recoat as needed.
 

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Are you including solid stains as a 'stain' or 'paint' option? While they look like opaque like paint, solid stains will breathe better, not peeling off like paint but fading away over time and allowing for a lot easier prep work the next time. Although my understanding is that latex solid stains will act more like a film forming paint than an oil-based solid stain.
 

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The problem is that nothing holds up on decks, especially paints. (The reason you'd get the stain recommendations is that stains ALSO have to be redone every couple / few / five years, but the prep is WAY easier than if it was paint).

All I can say is that I was once basically "ordered" to paint an impossible deck (oily Brazilian hardwood). It's what got me to sign onto this board in the first place. I used a "bad" system the first time (MCU) because I was supposed to match past painters' work, and I had no better idea. The second time (a repaint of the original deck I was supposed to match) I put SW PrimeRX down (after scrape/sand/clean) and topped it with BM Floor & Patio (Floor Patio Latex Enamels). That system did not suck at all. PrimeRX is spec'd for exterior horizontal surfaces. The BM floor & patio has great adhesion, flows out wonderfully by brush and/or roll, and levels amazingly well.

My "saga" thread is here: Painting exotic/Brazilain hardwoods

The 2nd page will be where I went from the MCU to the latex. The last time I saw that deck, it was about 2.5yrs in and other than needing a cleaning it was still looking rather bullet proof. Even the end-grain and other checking areas were still perfectly intact. I still figure by 5 yrs it'll have gone to crap. But if I was ever "ordered" to paint a deck again I'd do that system.

Given my own choice, I'd just do some manner or clear or stain and wash/recoat as needed.
I was kind of an idiot and used PrimeRX over some railings on my own deck, on top of a couple layers of failing paint, I really regret it as to me imo the problem is sorta like Deckover, big thick goopy high mil layer of crap that seals moisture into the wood and rots it out from the inside.

Anyway, for OP, while I know you said no stains, so far my favorite "solid stain" has been the Flood solid stain, but production of it/finding it can be spotty, not sure if they're even still making it anymore. Cheap, cheerful, easy to apply (ie, lots of working time, good coverage, and very smooth to brush out) and seems to last 2-3 years in New England weather on flooring before it needs to be redone. Rails seem like they could go longer with good prep. I've also used some BM Arborcoat and it seemed to be good, and I've been back on jobs where it was used two years prior where it had very little problems going on. So cost not being a factor, probably latex Arborcoat would be best.

For a paint I have no idea, I guess you could use any company's "porch and floor" paint on a deck, but obviously latex solid stains are still paints, just under a different name. I think the difference is paints are meant to be applied at a higher mil layer and aren't as breathable, but when they fail they peel in sheets and hard to feather in/etc. Whereas "solid stains" are meant to be applied pretty thin, are more breathable, but when they fail they just flake off, but then you get a chance to just sand it out some, rather than trying to scrape/peel it like you would paint.
 

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I was kind of an idiot and used PrimeRX over some railings on my own deck, on top of a couple layers of failing paint, I really regret it as to me imo the problem is sorta like Deckover, big thick goopy high mil layer of crap that seals moisture into the wood and rots it out from the inside.

Anyway, for OP, while I know you said no stains, so far my favorite "solid stain" has been the Flood solid stain, but production of it/finding it can be spotty, not sure if they're even still making it anymore. Cheap, cheerful, easy to apply (ie, lots of working time, good coverage, and very smooth to brush out) and seems to last 2-3 years in New England weather on flooring before it needs to be redone. Rails seem like they could go longer with good prep. I've also used some BM Arborcoat and it seemed to be good, and I've been back on jobs where it was used two years prior where it had very little problems going on. So cost not being a factor, probably latex Arborcoat would be best.

For a paint I have no idea, I guess you could use any company's "porch and floor" paint on a deck, but obviously latex solid stains are still paints, just under a different name. I think the difference is paints are meant to be applied at a higher mil layer and aren't as breathable, but when they fail they peel in sheets and hard to feather in/etc. Whereas "solid stains" are meant to be applied pretty thin, are more breathable, but when they fail they just flake off, but then you get a chance to just sand it out some, rather than trying to scrape/peel it like you would paint.
sikkens latex solid is pretty good for decks honestly, better than flood and arborcoat. arborcoat is amazing for siding though just not my favorite for decks
 

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When they stop making solid (and semi- solid) oil based deck stain, I'm going to install a deck like Dan. I stopped offering deck staining as a service a year or two ago- too problematic.
Of course I'm in a state with no VOC restrictions but if that ever truly happened I think I would start thinning out oil paints to use as solid stain rather than turn to latex
 

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Of course I'm in a state with no VOC restrictions but if that ever truly happened I think I would start thinning out oil paints to use as solid stain rather than turn to latex
yes, agree about the thinned paint, but will still probably end up with a composite one if these years.

oil based is gradually being phased out. SW hasn’t carried a solid or ss oil stain for years. My local supplier is not going to carry it after this year. I will have to drive an hour to source it in the future. I think I will buy a few extra gallons and then that’s it.

oil based paint is also becoming more difficult to source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm starting to realize I should have been more descriptive... Sorry, everyone...

The HO has a pretty beaten up deck (not terrible, but duly weathered and aged) and she wants to have it smoothed out a bit, but not slippery. I showed her pictures of old decks that were revived with solid stain and some with paint (for "money conscious" customers with old decks, I almost always recommend painting). Other than that, I'd have to charge her for an extensive sand job, and she's already clutching her pearls with my current (STEAL of a) price. She opted for paint because it looked like the smooth-ish finish she wants. So, I'm thinking a good primer will fill in the wood so it doesn't look so... well, OLD! once painted, then either a "porch and floor" or just a good exterior paint. What do you guys think?
 

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I'm starting to realize I should have been more descriptive... Sorry, everyone...

The HO has a pretty beaten up deck (not terrible, but duly weathered and aged) and she wants to have it smoothed out a bit, but not slippery. I showed her pictures of old decks that were revived with solid stain and some with paint (for "money conscious" customers with old decks, I almost always recommend painting). Other than that, I'd have to charge her for an extensive sand job, and she's already clutching her pearls with my current (STEAL of a) price. She opted for paint because it looked like the smooth-ish finish she wants. So, I'm thinking a good primer will fill in the wood so it doesn't look so... well, OLD! once painted, then either a "porch and floor" or just a good exterior paint. What do you guys think?
No shame in walking away, I wouldn't put my name on it without a waiver not responsible when it peels.
 

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Wish I had the magic bullet or great suggestions as far as paint, but it isn't anything I'd agree to. I stopped doing any film-forming coatings on decks at least 8 years ago. Not worth it. She may say she understands the potential for failure, but it won't matter when it fails. She'll blame you. IMHO, painting a deck is literally setting the deck as well as you up for failure. Trying to prep a deck which has been previously painted is a friggin nightmare. Unless it were completely flat with no stairs or rails, they might as well just replace it when it fails, cuz it'll cost more to fix it then restore it; and that's taking into account the high cost of wood.

I've lost jobs because I wasn't willing to paint a deck or even apply a solid stain, and that's ok with me. If you do proceed, I'd make sure and set expectations, and like @cocomonkeynuts said, draft up a waiver and have her sign it. Good luck.
 

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I'm currently writing up a clause that spells out what she's getting into and what could go wrong. If she signs the proposal and contract, she'll be agreeing that she understands and won't hold my company liable for failures.
If you must use exterior paint, I'd use Regal Ext Low Lustre. It has some alkyd resin in it and almost feels like an interior trim paint. Avoid really dark colors in any product.
 

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I'm starting to realize I should have been more descriptive... Sorry, everyone...

The HO has a pretty beaten up deck (not terrible, but duly weathered and aged) and she wants to have it smoothed out a bit, but not slippery. I showed her pictures of old decks that were revived with solid stain and some with paint (for "money conscious" customers with old decks, I almost always recommend painting). Other than that, I'd have to charge her for an extensive sand job, and she's already clutching her pearls with my current (STEAL of a) price. She opted for paint because it looked like the smooth-ish finish she wants. So, I'm thinking a good primer will fill in the wood so it doesn't look so... well, OLD! once painted, then either a "porch and floor" or just a good exterior paint. What do you guys think?
exterior paint is not suitable for walking surfaces. Please post a couple pictures, it would be easier to advise.

staining decks is a two day job: one day to pressure wash/clean, the next day (about a week later to let the water dry) to restain. Most people are switching to waterbased stains. A crew can lightly scrape the deck, blow it clean, and re-stain it in less than a day, even the largest decks.

Paint is not “money conscious” in my opinion. It will fail within a year or two, sooner if they live In snow country and shovel the deck, and it will be more trouble for the customer for the life of the deck. The materials cost between any deck stain options is the lowest cost in refinishing your deck. What is it going to amount to, one or two gallons, and maybe 10 dollars difference for the product?

Decks are, generally speaking, the highest maintenance part on most homes, in regards to painting. On average they need to be re-stained about every three years. With water based stains that number is lower, with oil based stains that number is higher.

Intentionally applying a product that is not appropriate (paint) will mean that in about two years the customers deck will start peeling badly and look awful. Then what?
Waterbased stains peel badly, but at least they are fairly easy to correct. Paint, due to its elastic nature and high film-forming characteristics will mean the peeling and bubbling will be much worse when it starts to happen- and scraping will be gummy and more labor intensive.
 

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exterior paint is not suitable for walking surfaces. [edited out stuff...]

Paint is not “money conscious” in my opinion. [I'd call that a fact rather than mere opinion]. It will fail within a year or two [edited out stuff...]

Decks are, generally speaking, the highest maintenance part on most homes [edited out stuff]
What Holland said (heavily edited to emphasize key points). I know I linked to a post where I painted an impossible deck, but I was basically the "employee" not in a position to accept/reject the job. I did say "NO" to all involved. But I'm not on the hook in the end, so I did what was asked. It was the best I had if one MUST do it.

I also edited out the part about solid, water-based stains peeling badly. But that's usually if it's applied too thickly / too many coats. Two thin coats of water-based generally will wear away but not peel. Too thick or too many coats and then you get into trouble.

IMO, since decks are the highest maintenance items, clear or semi-transparents are best but they still have to be done every couple of years ... IF you want them to somehow stay looking "pretty." If you don't need them to look "pretty" then forget stain and paint or whatever and just clean them once in a while. I've been visiting the same beach town for over 20 yrs. Most of the decks are treated SYP and left to just weather. They do fine with nothing, tho they won't make the cover of Better Homes & Gardens. (Just watch for the splinters!)
 

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Even the best of paints in my experience only last about a year on a deck. they require constant maintenance. I don't know anyone that guarantees any exterior horizontal surface. deck, handrail, windowsill. use a low-lustre floor paint, and make sure the HO knows what they are getting into...good luck
 

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I'm starting to realize I should have been more descriptive... Sorry, everyone...

The HO has a pretty beaten up deck (not terrible, but duly weathered and aged) and she wants to have it smoothed out a bit, but not slippery. I showed her pictures of old decks that were revived with solid stain and some with paint (for "money conscious" customers with old decks, I almost always recommend painting). Other than that, I'd have to charge her for an extensive sand job, and she's already clutching her pearls with my current (STEAL of a) price. She opted for paint because it looked like the smooth-ish finish she wants. So, I'm thinking a good primer will fill in the wood so it doesn't look so... well, OLD! once painted, then either a "porch and floor" or just a good exterior paint. What do you guys think?
I think you shouldn’t have shown her pictures of painted decks. Sorry, but many a homeowner think they know what you should use when you as the professional need to guide them. Unless she is planning on selling right away I would do it the proper way and use stain. If she can’t afford it then I’d move on. It will come back to bite you in the arse even with a written clause. One bad review can hurt!
 
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