Deck & Fence Restoration FAQ

Q: My deck is in rough shape; I've read about products like Rustoleum's Deck Restore, Behr's Deckover, Cabot's Deck Correct - would these products work on my deck to smooth out surfaces?

A: In my opinion, doing decks for well over 20 years: The short answer is no. Deckover, Deckcorrect, Deckrestore have many performance pitfalls. I’ll list them.

  • Coating is too thick – If deck floor-boards are too close together these products will effectively close the gap between boards even more heightening the chances of trapping moisture.
  • Decks that are low to the ground, and  decks having an underdeck system will trap moisture causing deck floorboard rot, joist rot or a combination of both.
  • Thick coatings might look good at first, but will more than likely peel. When they peel they become a nightmare to fix, sometimes requiring a floor replacement.
  • Coatings like these mask rot until it is too late: Since these products are thick they don’t allow homeowners to see that wood is starting to rot until the damage is done.
  • Costly – Product covers only 150 square foot per gallon requiring two coats. It is expensive- prohibitively so.

My advice to someone who thinks their deck is in rough shape is to give a professional deck restoration company like ours a chance to refurbish their deck, cleaning, sanding, sealing, or  use a solid color stain (2 coats) a quality solid color deck stain like Arborcoat, Cabot solid stain, or porch and patio stain like Benjamin Moore’s Porch & patio not cause issues like these gimmicky quick-fix products do.

Q: I want my deck/fence to look as natural as possible, I want a stain & sealer that doesn't add any color to the deck/fence, yet protects the deck/fence - what would you recommend?

Using a deck or fence stain without any color will protect against water absorption BUT it will not protect your deck, or fence from shifting color. You will notice in about 3 to 6 months (depending on sun exposure) the deck start to shift color and start to turn grey.

Why? in order to protect exterior wood from oxidizing (turning grey) wood stains and sealers use pigmented transparent iron oxide molecules suspended in the stain – these molecules we in the wood trade refer to trans-oxide pigments. Think of these trans-oxide pigments as SPF for your deck. The more SPF a deck stain has, the less of a sunburn you get. It works the same for decks – a deck stain that is very natural and adds no color to a deck has an SPF of 5 whereas a deck and fence stain like TWP has a good SPF and your deck will not shift color prematurely. if you are concerned about the deck not looking natural we can place samples of all our deck stains so you will see the long-lasting deck and fence stains on your deck and fence. Our products not only look great, look natural, but protect your decks, and fences from the harsh elements.

Q: We received a quote from a competitor that mixes their own stain - do you mix your own stain?

A: We do not mix our own stain – There are a couple of reasons why we don’t do that:

  • Getting the right combination of trans-oxide pigments, oils, mildewcides  in a stain is something we will leave to professional multi-national companies with multi million dollar laboratories, paint, and stain chemists at their disposal as well as durability testing environments. We are not going to mix our own stain that will under-perform to save a few dollars.
  • Mixing our own stain would lock our customers in – I’ll elaborate- If we were to mix our own stain the customer would have no idea regarding the product name, number, color we use to stain, seal their deck or fence. That customer is less likely to use another company down the road-  as they have no idea what product is on their deck or fence. If the customer ever goes with another company the deck will have to be stripped as no one has a record of what was used before. We will never lock our customers in , or make it difficult for them to know what product, and color is used on their decks, fences. We use nationally, if not world-wide renowned deck & fence stains, sealers, paints – brands such as  TWP, Cabot, Woodrich Brand, Penofin, Messmer’s, Rymar, Baker’s Grey Away, Defy just to name a few. Again, we will leave mixing of  stains to those who put profits over providing a long-lasting job.

Q: Are Stain And Sealer Two different products?

A: The penetrating oil based products we use are a stain, and sealer all in one product.

Q: Which Is Superior - Water, Or Oil based stain?

A: Choosing water, or oil based stain/sealer for your decks and fences is a choice in which a few variables have to be taken into account. Variables such as How much sun exposure a deck, or fence has (and what times of the day) , Will the deck and fence be near water as in a swimming pool? How low to the ground is the deck situated? Is there a tree canopy over the deck, what particular species of trees? Will there be large dog traffic on the deck? All these factors play a role in the proper product selection process. Water based stains, sealers, paints have their proper, useful place -especially on covered porches where peeling won’t be an issue – inside screened porch floors –  in high traffic areas- especially with large dogs. We would be glad to help you with selecting the perfect product, as well as color  for your particular case.

Q: Is deck paint the same as house paint?

No it is not. Here is a description of the products that perform like paint that can be used on a deck.

  • Semi-gloss exterior house paint – We do not use house paint on deck floors, or even on covered floors inside screened-in porches as the risk of peeling is extremely high. We can use exterior semi gloss paint on deck spindles (on areas that already have been painted and reapplication is necessary), deck handrails. We only suggest using Benjamin Moore Moorglo for this purpose as it sticks like glue. We use Moorglo when reapplication is necessary – in historic homes like in Little 5 points, Cabbagetown, Grant Park, Virginia Highlands, etc. We would prefer to use a conventional semi gloss house paint like Moorglo in covered areas- as it won’t peel on spindles but will peel on tops of handrails. So to be clear – we never recommend using semi-gloss house paint on decks, railings, and will only use paint when reapplication is necessary. If reapplication is needed we only use moorglo from Benjamin-Moore.
  • Solid Color Deck Stain– Solid color deck stain is a penetrating opaque stain that performs like a paint. We can use solid color deck stains on deck floors although there is a risk (much smaller than painting with house paint) of peeling in horizontal areas exposed to the elements. Solid color deck stains are a 2 coat product – proper preparation is vital to a long lasting deck stain job.
  • Porch and floor enamel- Porch and floor enamel used to be strictly an oil based paint that was specifically made to paint wood, concrete surfaces that were covered like covered front porches, or screened in porches – hence the name. Today porch and floor is normally only available in a water-borne formula. While not as ‘sticky’ as the oil-based of years ago, porch and floor is an excellent product when painting one’s covered front porch floor, rear screened porch floor, wood stair steps, etc. Porch and floor if applied properly is an excellent product that, if used in covered areas will easily last many many years. Porch and floor is also EXCELLENT for high dog traffic areas.

Q: What can you do to fix,and prevent splinters on our deck floor, stair steps, handrail?

A: We know the dangers of wood splinters, how painful they are to remove from hands, feet, as well as the dangers of tetanus – We offer complete deck sanding services so you, and your loved ones can enjoy your decks without worry of splinters. Please keep in mind that splinters will reoccur (no matter how well we sand your deck floor)  this is due to the swelling and shrinking/expanding and contracting of wood deck flooring which happens due to rain, sun cycles. A more permanent solution to keep splinters at bay  is painting all flat walking surfaces after sanding (deck floor, stair steps,bench seats, backrests and handrail if needed) . We normally don’t recommend painting deck floors, and flat surfaces, because as with any exterior paint deck floors there is always the possibility of chipping and peeling (due to the expansion, contraction of horizontal wood surfaces, water penetration after cracking)  If  you have small children the best remedy for splinters is painting your deck floors, or sanding your deck every time you re-finish it. Brazilian wood decks don’t have splinter problems, but we also offer deck sanding services to rectify imperfections in all wood deck species such as Pine, Cedar, Brazilian wood.

Q: How do you protect our plants from damage?

A: We cover all surrounding plants, bushes with a very thin plastic ensuring no spatter of stains, sealers ever get on your plants, and bushes. We also protect your pants, and bushes when power washing decks, fences.

Q: Do you use biodegradable wood cleaners?

A: We use oxygen based deck and fence cleaners which are more environmentally friendly compared to conventional deck cleaners. Even though the cleaners we use are less harsh than most they are slightly alkaline, but not as harmful as using bleach or more harmful chemicals.

Q: Why don't you use bleach on wood?

A: We actually do use a very diluted bleach solution on PAINTED decks that have extensive mildew. The paint does not allow the wood to absorb the bleach, so it is safe to use in very diluted strength. We never use bleach on raw, untreated wood. Bleach will affect the wood’s cell structure affecting future stain, sealer, and most importantly paint absorption/penetration leading to premature greying of decks, fences, or much worse product failure (peeling).

Q: Can we supply our own stain, or paint?

A: Yes, we gladly apply quality stains sealers, or paints  to decks and fences that you supply to us. By ‘quality’ we mean reputable stains, or paints from well respected deck stain and seal manufacturers like – Cabot, TWP, Ready Seal, Penofin, Messmer’s, Baker’s Grey Away, DEFY, As well as paints and stains from Benjamin-moore, and Sherwin-williams.

We do not apply Behr to new decks, we will only use Behr when  re-application is necessary. We do not endorse, nor use behr.

Q: How many years will my deck, fence stain last?

A: How long a deck or fence stain lasts relies on:

  • sun exposure Decks and fences that get heavy afternoon sun will not last as long as a deck that gets little sun, or even a covered porch.
  • how clean you keep your deck and maintain it over time -keeping your deck miildew free, debris free, keeping rugs off floors for extended periods of time)
  • removing debris from between deck floor-boards – even though this is not stain related, but mainteance , this is SUPER important to prevent wood rot. Wood rot on deck floors, stair steps happens because debris – eg. leaves, tree debris gets stuck between deck floorboards and keeps the boards moist. Fungus eventually moves in, and the wood rot process starts. Keeping your deck debris free is vital to a long lasting deck. Think of it like flossing for a deck. Decks rot because food(leaves, debris) get stuck between the boards, so once a week make sure you clean your deck properly. Doing this small thing will ensure your deck stays healthy for many years.
  • stain product selection – Deck stains last according to their Trans oxide pigment content i.e. – how translucent the stain is. To make it simple a semi-solid stain (the most opaque, most trans-oxide pigments) will last longer than a semi-transparent (normal deck stain a good amount of trans oxide pigments) Semi-transparent will last longer than a toner (basically translucent with very little trans oxide pigments). Using the right type of stain is one of the most important steps one can take when wanting a long lasting product.
  • There are many preventative steps one can take to extend one’s deck and fence stain sealer, and paints life. Please contact your local Deck And Fence Refinishing And Restoration Professional For more Details.

Q: What is the best time of year to seal my deck and fence?

A: There is no ‘best time’ to stain and seal a deck, fence. That said, we suggest avoiding spring pollen season. The optimal temperatures for staining and sealing decks and fences is between 50 degrees and 90 degrees.

Q: Do you hire subcontractors?

A: No, we don’t use sub labor, all our work is performed by our in-house employees.

Q: Where do you get your lumber from?

A: We source our lumber from lumber yards – like Randall Brothers, Cofer Brothers, And Lummus to name a few. We never use Big box store lumber It is sub-standard, and has too much wood knot content, and is prone to warp due to its high moisture content.

Q: We have loose nails on deck - Do you tap those in?

A: Yes, we either tap loose nails in , or replace loose nails with decratized screws which are acq rated.

Q: Do you do small jobs?

A: Yes, we perform small jobs as the case of putting your house on the market and wanting a deck power wash, or performing  punch list check-list  from a home inspector.

Q: How Much Does A Deck, Fence Cleaning Staining Sealing or painting cost?

Pricing for a deck restoration relies on condition of existing deck or fence – whether an existing coating is present, whether it can be re-applied, or will have to be stripped. There are many variables like sanding, stripping, that affect pricing. Species of wood, whether you select a 1, or 2 coat product to treat your deck, fence. That said,  we are competitively priced taking into account what we do prep-wise, and application-wise. Contact our Deck refinishing company for a quick price quote

Q: I want to tear down my deck, fence and re-build. Do you do that?

A: We do not build decks, nor fences – we repair damaged decks. We do have a very competent deck builder which we can gladly refer you to.

Q: Do you travel outside Atlanta?

A: We try to accomodate as many areas as possible. We cover a 15-25 mile radius from Spaghetti junction . We go as far east as East Atlanta, and as far north as Cumming, Buford. Please visit our Service Area Page for a full listing of all the cities we service.

Q: Our deck, fence is painted, can you strip it and stain it after?

A: If the deck or fence paint/stain is oil based – yes we can strip it – if it is water based no we cannot. Recent water based solid stains  (due to Low VOC EPA regulations) have become extremely difficult to remove.

Q: Do you paint houses?

A: No, all we do is restore, and refurbish decks, fences and outdoor structures. We do STAIN cedar shake siding, as well as stain seal ipe siding, and mid-century home siding like cypress, cedar.

Q: Do you have references?

A: We have 22 years of references at our disposal. We also have stellar reviews on Google, Houzz, Kudzu, as well as Nextoor.

Q: What is your turn-around time?

A: Turn-around time depends on how much rain we have,  how cold the climate is. During good weather we can usually complete a deck, fence restoration within a week’s time – a little over a week if there is carpentry involved. We prefer to be cautious and wait for good weather than rush a job just for the sake of completing.

Q: Do you provide written proposals?

A: Yes, we provide every customer with a PDF estimate sent via text, email, or google drive link – whichever is most convenient.

Q: Can you help us select colors?

A: We will gladly help by putting down actual samples of stains, sealers, paints on your deck, or fence so you can visualize the actual colors on your actual wood structure. This we do free of charge.

NOTE: If you are picking a custom color we will have to charge for cost of the product only as it has to be custom tinted. For our  TWP, Cabot Stains we don’t charge a penny as we have these in stock. You can also take a look at our portfolio section to get ideas as to how certain colors look like – We have labeled decks and fences with the particular stain and paint colors applied. More information can be found in our deck and fence color consultation services page.

Q: What measures can i take to keep my deck from fading?

The best advice we can give to prolong your deck, or fence stain life –  is to use a less translucent stain – meaning either a highly pigmented semi transparent stain like TWP 200 series, or an oil based semi-solid from Cabot. These stains contain high levels of trans-oxide pigments which are beneficial at blocking UV rays thereby prolonging deck greying for an extra season or two depending on sun exposure.

If you have any questions you’d like to ask us, we’re just a quick message away. Please click the button below and one of our wood care professionals will be in touch wihtin minutes, you can also call, text us at 404.992.4870

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