Solid Colored Stain Vs Paint on Wood Decks & Homes
Wood expands and contracts naturally with the temperatures because it is a porous material that nature designed to accommodate its environment. Paint does this as well according to formulation but lacks the proper coefficient to do it at the same rate that wood does, in other words wood fluctuates at a different rate in response to temperature changes than paint does. What this does over time is cause cracks and peeling in the paint which then obviously needs maintenance. This process is sped up further by not being able to completely coat the wood as mentioned previously. Moisture penetration compounds the situation further causing peeling along the sides of the wood and promoting mildew and algae growth which feed on the paints oils absorbed into the wood substrate causing deterioration of the surface structure and even rot.
Maintenance of this condition requires scraping of the flaking and peeled areas followed by a re-coat which does not always evenly fill in the cracked and peeled areas. This leaves an un-level condition which is not visually desirable. The older areas being coated will soon reach their life expectancy and begin to fail by cracking, peeling and flaking. The cycle goes on and on. The results are a continually degraded finish that once has shown to need complete replacement will be next to impossible to accomplish short of a complete sanding job on the entire deck. Power washing the surface to remove the failing paint will only tear up the wood and many of the commercial strippers available do not work well in outdoor applications due to the highly evaporative nature of the stripper itself.
Stain unlike paint does not contain many of the ingredients paint does that lack flexibility to give an outdoor structure the compatible protection it needs. Since not all surfaces are accessible to application in the way paint needs to be applied, oils provide the moisture protection by thorough penetration of the surface and migration deep into the substrate and surrounding area of application. They carry with them the resins which will eventually solidify and create a barrier to moisture and biological attack. The color remains towards the surface to do its job of UV protection and beautification. One coat is usually sufficient, two coats if a wet-on-wet application are recommended.
Wear from use and exposure to the sun and the weather breaks down the surface components which erode away. Periodically, the maintenance required to rejuvenate the finish consists of washing the surface with an appropriate cleaner and then re-coating once the surface is dry. Depending on the stain products composition, the stain may need to be removed completely which is easily done with a stripping agent that can be neutralized.
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