Painting Advice and Premium Products from Experienced Professionals.
Decks and Porch Flooring
Keeping decks well protected is a big challenge. The wood is in a horizontal position, full of screw holes and splits allowing water to seep into the wood where it will swell, shrink and warp the wood and stress your stain or coating system. Wood that is inaccessible , such as end grain and backside can't be properly sealed once the deck is already constructed.

Most times, furniture scrapes the surface, people and dogs track grit and mud on it, and Mother Nature (especially our Sun) takes it's toll.


Many reviews of wood sealers and stains rate products in a laboratory setting, and fail to consider the natural beauty of the wood. Some reviewers may be selling a competing product. Many cheap deck stains are more like a paint than a stain. Most deck staining products we see advertised and endorsed carry false or unrealistic claims with respect to longevity. They fail to account for the frequent maintenance required.

I have a lot of good information here for you. If you need additional information,or personal consultation for your project, contact me here.

A majority of available water-based stains eventually build a film an end up looking "paint-like", and lead to peeling, then eventual difficult stripping. Many contain wax or silicone, which both contaminate the surface for future coating, leading to buildup, frequent maintenance and inadequate protection. Most wax-containing and linseed oil-containing products lead to eventual stripping.

PaintSource features proven solutions for natural wood care that are good for your wood, and are good for your environment. We hope you find this information helpful.

New Deck Lumber

If you are not using kiln dried wood, simply order your wood a couple of months before you plan to build your deck. Have it unbundled and re-stacked, allowing air movement between the boards. Use thin wood strips or rack wood, and cover from the sun, best indoors if space allows. Wood can be slowly dried (sometimes with dehumidifier) and even sanded and coated, ALL 6 SIDES, before installation. More .

Please contact me to discuss this important step to a perfect deck.


Many products available have their own distinct performance and application characteristics. The product choice for your project should be determined by finding the most suitable product available given your specific project requirements. The premium wood coatings discussed below are all proven solutions we have used and tested for various specific conditions.

Transoxide pigments provide the highest level of ultraviolet resistance, and impart a very natural look to the wood. Most of the coating choices outlined below utilize this premium pigment type.

New wood can be sanded to remove possible mill glaze, or to remove grayed wood fiber if deck has weathered during the drying process.

Natural Finish

A product we discovered a few years ago and love to recommend to clients is One TIME® Wood Protector. It is uniquely long-lasting, offering double the life of anything we have tested. One TIME® is more natural looking compared to most stains available. We believe that solvent free One TIME® Wood Protector is a good choice with respect to environmental issues and ease of maintenance. This is a great choice for docks, and severe exposure. It offers beautiful protection with extended easy maintenance procedures.

One TIME® is simply the longest lasting deck protector we have used and tested after more than 25 years in this industry . One TIME® is not shiny, and gives a natural enduring beauty to the wood.

The following is a summary of our experience with One TIME Wood Protector, as well as our promotion of a product we stand behind.

Please call us before you choose any product other than One TIME Wood Protector to protect your deck or other exterior wood.

Shiny Finish

If you desire a shiny satin finished look, or more a furniture finish, consider Sikkens Dek Finish. The deck must have good ventilation, and be at least two feet off the ground. Boards must be sealed on the underside. This is a two coat brush applied alkyd protective translucent finish system for exterior wood decking. On properly prepared wood surfaces, this coating gives practically a look of furniture, imparting a varnish like shine while beautifully accentuating grain and color of the wood. This system requires a maintenance coat about every 3 years if in full sun. You need to have the pores of the wood grain open for proper anchoring of the sealer. The first coat preparation is the most important factor in longevity of the entire coating system. Again, this product is only suitable if the bottom side of the deck is sealed, and is at least 2 feet off the ground.

Low to ground Decking

If the decking wood is 2 feet or less off the ground, you should consider only a non-film forming wood protector and sealer like One TIME®. Color refreshing could be desired at 4-5 years , but wood is well protected from moisture and fungal damage for several years. This product offers the longest lasting, easiest to maintain protection we have found.

Sikkens SRD
, Messmers, and Cabots all are good second choices.

Hardwood Decking

Some exotic hardwood exhibits a high oil content which can sometimes interfere with drying and curing of many traditional oil based coatings. We have proven solutions and specific preparation procedures when dealing with exotic woods.

One TIME® Wood Protector
is our best choice for most Hardwood Decking projects. The UV cure, 100% solids, and penetrating properties of One TIME eliminate many of the problems experienced with traditional hardwood oil stains, including short life and darkening the wood over time.

If a satin finished look is desired, consider Waterlox Marine Tung Oil Finish. This system can be considered where a roof overhang is present. Waterox os not recommended for fully exposed decks.

Staining and protecting Ipe, Mahogany, and other Exotic Hardwood

More About Exotic Hardwood

Covered Porches

Porch floors are sometimes difficult surfaces to protect, as the softer a coating is, the easier it wears off, but the better it tolerates moisture transfer and wood expansion cycles. Conversely, the harder wearing a coating, the less able it is to handle expansion and contraction of the wood, so most coating choices represent tradeoffs to consider.

It is very important to seal the underside of a porch floor or deck . The best method is to seal the bottom side of boards and end grain cuts before construction. If wood is near the ground, and the sun beats down on the top surface, moisture is drawn from the cool moist ground underneath up through the bottom side of the uncoated boards. This moisture intrusion causes expansion and contraction of the wood, leads to cupping of the boards, and greatly reduces the long-term performance of any coating.

Waterlox Marine Satin is a tung oil based alternative where a satin finished look is desired.

Solid Color

A great option for a solid painted look on deck floors is Sikkens Rubbol Solid DEK, which is a flexible, breathable hybrid oil / water floor coating (not a paint).. It looks like paint, but performs like a stain--no film to peel when properly applied. . It is breathable and flexible when applied to bare wood. Will require maintenance more frequently if in direct sun.

We also like California Coatings Enduradeck Solid Color Acrylic Floor Coating System for many projects. The Acrylic makeup gives this coating excellent satin sheen and color retention.. It offers excellent adhesion to properly prepared surfaces that have been previously coated. Enduradeck is flexible and breathable and is a great choice to consider when coating exterior wood decks and flooring when a solid hide stain is desired.

Previously Coated Wood

The following discussion explains reasons we should consider sanding wood for best results with any stain or finish when wood has been allowed to weather in the elements, or if a previously applied coating has failed. Sanding opens the pores of wood to accept stain, and also removes loose or deteriorated wood fiber that generally leads to premature coating failure and poor results. Sanding can also be utilized to blend or remove remaining stain after the deck stripping process.
After using strippers, many times wood is "fuzzed" and should be sanded using 80g sandpaper following the stripping process.

For potentially dangerous sanding dust, use paper disposable dust collection bags,
and dispose of properly. Use only vacuum capturing sanders, and sweep and wipe clean all surfaces immediately after sanding. Pets and family should not be exposed to sanded surfaces until wood is sealed and protected.

Sanding will usually increase the adhesion and performance of your coating system. Use Dust-Free Deck Sanding procedures, and use all precautions with any potentially dangerous sanding dust. Exotic hardwoods like Ipe and brazillian cherry produce quite hazardous dust as well.

Use caution when working with CCA-treated lumber.
Avoid sawing or sanding, which releases arsenic into the soil and air. If you must sand or saw, do so only outdoors with plenty of ventilation. DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN or Pets TO ENTER OR STAY IN THE AREA! Wear dust masks, gloves, and protective clothing to decrease exposure to sawdust and wash all work clothes separately before wearing them again. Sand only utilizing proper dust collection and disposal methods. Consumers should follow manufacturer recommendations when handling the wood, including the same precautions that workers should take: wear gloves when handling wood, wear goggles and dust masks when sawing and sanding, always wash hands before eating, and never burn CCA treated wood.


Even NEW Wood, many times, needs sanded due to "mill-glaze" resulting from the planing and smoothing process at the sawmill , which compresses wood fiber, and polishes new wood making coating penetration virtually impossible. Wood that has weathered unprotected while drying over the first few months after installation should be sanded as well to remove weathered surface.

Norton's 3x series paper is also designed for coating removal. The paper really does make a difference. The 3X resists gumming when sanding existing stain or coating.

Most floor coatings will recommend 80g or 60g bare wood sand, but it depends on the coating you choose. We use a Dust-free Palm Sander. We always do a final brush vacuum prior to coating application, and wipe the surface to insure no dust can interfere with coating absorption and adhesion.

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Featured Solutions
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Dust-Free Deck Sanding

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Exterior Wood Care

Is Your Wood Dry?

Common Problems

Behr Deck Stain Problems

Contact us for project advice BEFORE you build your deck. Wood must be back and end-grain coated for optimal performance.

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Pro TIP:
The holding power of nails driven into green wood that stays wet, or seasoned wood that stays dry, is essentially unchanged over time. But the withdrawal resistance of nails sunk into green wood that dries in place, or seasoned wood repeatedly wetted and dried, drops substantially over time.