Hooray! You’ve recently installed, or had a contractor install, a new fence on your property! Now it’s time to make a decision about either painting, staining or leaving your fence natural. When it comes to finishing options for your fence there are basically three options – painting, staining or leaving it natural. Each finishing option has pros and cons. The goal of this article is to highlight the pros and cons for each option to ensure you make the best choice possible.
Painting Your Fence
Years ago, before there were lots of stain options on the market, painting a fence was very popular. You mostly saw white, black or dark brown fences. Painted fences still dot the landscapes and many look great, however be aware that if you decide on this finishing treatment for your fence it will require a good bit of maintenance to keep it looking great. This may be a viable option for you if you are only fencing in a small area, however if your fence covers a lot of ground then you may want to reconsider this option.
Expect to repaint your fence every 1-3 years, keeping mind that you will need to completely scrape off the existing paint as a prep step before repainting the fence. Typically, many homeowners find that the time, effort and cost of repainting their fence every few years often ends up costing more in the long run. For homeowners that want that ‘white picket fence' look, there are other affordable ways to get that look without using wood and having to repaint it. Vinyl fencing materials offer a great alternative to wood and can be mimic a traditional white picket fence. Vinyl is a very low-maintenance fencing material because it doesn’t have to be stained or painted.
Staining Your Fence
If painting and repainting your fence sounds like a time-consuming chore that you just don’t want in your life then you should consider staining your fence. The cost of stain may be more initially, however it does not need to be reapplied nearly as often as paint and thus is typically a more cost effective option in the long run. Another bonus for stain is that it does not peel or crack like paint so when it is time to re-stain your fence there is considerably less preparation time required. Typically, a pressure or power washing with a deck cleaner is all that needs to be done before re-applying stain to your fence.
When it comes to purchasing fence stain, there are a lot of options to choose from. A solid stain will give your wood fence a ‘painted look’ so if you want the white picket fence look, choosing a white solid stain is a great option. If you would prefer to see the natural beauty of the wood, then it is best to select a semi-transparent wood stain option. This type of stain allows the wood grain and wood fiber to show through while also giving the wood fence a nice warm color as well as provides protection from water and weather.
If paint or stain don’t seem to fit the bill for your fence then a third option is to allow the wood to naturally weather over time. While this option requires the least amount of time and money, it does leave your fence more exposed to damage than wood that has either been painted or stained. If you like the weathered and rustic look that is popular these days you will want to be sure to build your fence out of good quality wood so that the elemental effects slowly age your fence. It is also important to note that it is safe to power wash your fence even if it has not been sealed or painted. The most popular wood to leave natural is white cedar. Many homeowners like to use white cedar to build their fence because it ages beautifully to a silvery grey color.
As you can see, there are a lot of options to choose from when designing your next fencing project. The good news is that our team of professional deck and fence contractors can help you navigate all of those decisions! From the fence style, height, length to the type of fencing material and treatment options. We do it all, everyday all over the Lexington area and we can help you as well! Give us call today and let’s get started!
Wood decks are by far the most common type of deck you will see across the US, however it does take some regular maintenance in order to keep it safe and beautiful. Despite our best efforts at staining and sealing, deck boards can still sometimes become cracked and splintered making the deck not only old and worn looking but can also present some safety concerns over time. Some homeowners choose to replace worn deck boards with composite decking boards but for many this option may be cost prohibitive. If you fall into that category there is some good news I have to share with you about a more affordable solution to your worn and cracked deck boards. There is a product designed to restore your existing deck boards called deck paint restoration.
What is a Deck Restoration Coating?
Deck restore paint coatings are made from a durable and long-lasting tintable acrylic base material with UV inhibitors and added solids. The solids that are added to the coatings provide texture and hold the product together once applied to the wood surface. There are several brands to choose from – some brands allow the wood to breathe yet still also repel water while others form an impermeable barrier. No matter which brand you select, all of them will require thorough surface preparation in order to get all the benefits of the restorative coatings.
Deck paint restoration coatings are designed to be a thick solution that can fill in cracks, splinters and knotholes. These restoration coating products also retexture the wood surface and can last up to 13 years for a single coat. Even better news! This DIY project won’t take you weeks and weeks of time! You can complete the prep work on one weekend and them apply the restore paint coating product during the next weekend. In order to prepare your wood deck for the coating you will need to clean it thoroughly with a pressure washer and deck cleaner.
Deck restoration paint covering options
Some retail brands that we’ve used and can highly recommend are:
The Restore 10X product is ten times the thickness of paint while the Restore 4X (as well as the other products) are four times the thickness of paint. If your deck has larger cracks and knots to fill your best bet is to use the 10X product as it will be more durable and better able to cover those cracks and knots to restore surface flaws. However, be warned the additional thickness of these products also means that it covers fewer square inches so it will take more product to cover your deck area. If you deck only has some minor cracks and knots to restore you may want to consider the thinner coating products in order to save time and money.
Another important consideration when selecting a paint restoration coating is the color. If your deck receives a lot of direct sunlight during the day you will not want to choose a dark color because the coatings absorb a lot of heat and retain it longer than untreated wood deck boards. For decks that receive direct sunlight in the heat of the day you will want to select a lighter coating color so that the deck does not become to hot to walk on with bare feet.
Another consideration when selecting a coating product is that some products (such as the Restore 10X) can only be used on horizontal surfaces. You will need to select a matching or complimentary product that is designed for vertical deck surfaces such as posts. To save on costs when buying more than 4 gallons consider buying the restorative coating product in bulk pails. As we’ve mentioned earlier in this article the effectiveness of the restorative deck coating products has a lot to do with the preparation process. We recommend purchasing t he manufacturer’s deck wash in order to be sure that the wash you use is compatible with the coating product.
Some deck restoration products (such as Restore 10X) can be used only on horizontal surfaces, so you’ll need a matching or complementary product designed for the deck’s vertical surfaces. And, if you’re buying 4 or more gallons, buy it in pails instead of individual gallons. You won’t have to refill your roller tray constantly (the product goes fast!). Before you leave the store, buy the manufacturer’s recommended deck wash to ensure compatibility with the deck coating. And buy enough application rollers (one roller for every 4 gallons of material). Ask the store for extra stir sticks—you’ll need them to clean the product from the gaps between boards.
Happy deck restoration weekend! If you would rather skip this DIY project we’ve got your back! Give our team a call to discuss prep and restorative coating application prices!
Homeowners today are extremely savvy and seek to do the best for their homes. More often than not the first question asked when considering a home improvement project is “Will this raise the property value of my house?” The answer more often than not will be yes. Compared to other home improvement projects, adding a custom deck to your outdoor living space will have a positive effect to your property value that would make it a worthwhile investment in your home. Although there is consensus that a custom deck is a good investment the return on the deck construction costs vary from one study to another. The increase in property value ranges from 70% to 107% of the deck construction costs. The variance will typically be caused by the diversity in markets and the range of building materials that are available. Sometimes the quality of the construction can come into play as not all deck builders are the same but since most municipalities have strict building code that extend to exterior custom decks, the deck contractors will not have a lot of room to cut corners.
Now that the debate that decks are sound investments is settled, here are some other factors that the homeowner should consider when taking on a project like this. First is the overall size of the deck. Over building is a mistake that many homeowners can make when adding a new outdoor living space onto their home. Go big or go home is sometimes not a good thing. The size of the yard compared to the size of the deck should be considered when you are planning the project. All deck and minimal yard can sometimes work against you. Your deck contractor should be able to assess the space and suggest what options you can consider in order to maintain the proper balance between deck and yard. That last aspect that the homeowner should consider is the materials that you will use to build your new custom deck. Pressure treated pine, composite (Trex), and exotic hardwoods are all great options but will vary in cost. The deck builder will be able to walk you through the choices and help you decide the best option for your outdoor living space. These materials are all great options but will all have a different impact to the return on investment factor. The deck contractor will be able to discuss all of the options that are offered, their strengths and weaknesses and help you to decide what will work best for your taste and budget. The last thing that you should consider will be the deck accents that you would want to add. Everything from deck lighting to fire pits, outdoor kitchens and covered sitting are all great choices. All of which will have a similar impact to the overall value of the project. The deck builder will discuss what value they bring and how they will impact the final cost.