Ask the Realtor: Year of the deck

Jun 18, 2023 | Ask the Realtor

Rosemarie LaBadie

I think I’m going to name this year “The Year of the Deck” or should I say “Year of the Deck Repair.”

We are a little shy on sales inventory because so many owners who planned to list their home for sale in April are making snow repairs instead. I had a listing appointment for a second-home owner and, when she arrived at the cabin, she found the deck was on the ground.

Some of these deck projects are almost done.  Finishing the deck is a major component of the project. How it’s finished will have huge impact for years.

Which one is best: stain or paint? According to Bob Villa, they both have pros and cons, but the most important thing to do is to be sure your contractor seals the deck prior to applying the finishing product. Paint will look like a sealant, but it’s not.  It’s extremely important that they seal the underside as well. Some contractors will even seal all four sides of the boards before they build the deck. It’s a good idea since painting the underside of a deck is 100 times worse than painting a ceiling.

I had a seller who dutifully painted the top of the deck every year. It looked beautiful. He never looked under the deck. It was a huge shock when the wood-destroying pest inspector informed him the entire deck had to be rebuilt. The rot happens under the deck where it is damp for long periods. So, seal the bottom and save yourself headaches later.

I painted my home deck and what a headache it’s turned into. For one thing, I don’t think the rails were ever sealed. The paint peels. This is very common problem with decks. They look awful and, if they are damaged enough, the appraiser will require it to be corrected.  I have found having two people do it is the best way, one on each side of the rail. If you are doing it yourself, you end up with three sides looking beautiful and the back side is a mess.

Last year we sanded the peeling paint, sealed and I tried spraying Rust-Oleum the rails instead of deck paint. Fingers crossed, it looks good so far. The disadvantage of paint is it peels. Plus painting requires skill to apply.

I stained my office deck. If you stain the deck, your color choices may be limited. But you can choose transparent or solid so it looks like paint, but it’s stain. The nice thing about stain is it does not peel. It wears out. It’s also easier to apply than paint. I have found it to be more expensive than paint.

Whichever product you choose, it’s worth it to spend the money and get a high-quality product.  That way you can spend more time enjoying your deck and less time maintaining it.

If you have a real estate question, give me a call. I’d love to chat: (909) 338-9995. Rosemarie Labadie, Broker, Crestline Real Estate CA DRE #01240715.


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