Different Types of Deck Stains

Arborcoat

Deck stains are used to protect and preserve the wood of your exterior deck. They offer UV protection, water repellence, mold and mildew resistance, etc. Deck finishes come in many different types of opacity and bases.

Deck staining can be a “chore” for residential homeowners and unfortunately walking into you local store may produce some of the worst options available. Not all deck stains are created equal and there is not a perfect stain type or brand that will outperform all the others.

Water-Based Deck Stains:

Water-based stains have recently become the norm. The main reason for the vast amount of water-based stains on the market today is related to changes in VOC laws across the country. Many states have adopted or soon will adopt lower VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) regulations. This has prompted stain manufacturers to increase production of water-soluble decking stains.

Pros: Water cleanup, less chance of mold or mildew growth and they are environmentally friendly.

Cons: Do not penetrate as deeply as an oil-base stain. Slightly harder to apply as they dry quicker. Can be prone to peeling and wearing.  

Oil Based Deck Stains:

Oil based decking stains have been around for 20-30 years. They are typically made up of natural and synthetic oils. Many contain oils such as: Linseed Oil, Paraffin Oil, Tung Oil, Rosewood Oil, Etc.

Pros: Excellent penetration into wood. An oil molecule is smaller in size then a water molecule. Better a deck stain can penetrate, the better the performance. Easier to apply. More natural looking.

Cons: Stronger odors, longer drying and curing time. Some oils can promote the growth of mildew. Some oil-based stains will darken in color over time.

Solid Deck Stains:

Solid deck stains look like paints. They cover the wood so you will not see the wood grain anymore. Once you apply a solid decking stain there is little chance you will ever be able to go back to a transparent stain. Solid stains come in both oil and water based versions.

Pros: Excellent UV protection.

Cons: Films on top of the wood and do not penetrate well. Prone to peeling. Looks like a paint. Harder to apply. Cannot be removed with a deck stain stripper effectively.

Semi-Solid Deck Stains:

The Semi-Solid Deck Stain will only show a small amount of wood grain as they contain a high amount of pigment. They are offered by a limited amount of manufacturers. Semi-solids can be both water-based and oil-based.

Pros: Very good UV protection

Cons: Only a small amount of wood grain will show. Oil-based semi-solid versions will penetrate and perform much better the water-based versions.

Semi-Transparent Deck Stains:

Semi-transparent stains contain pigment that highlights the natural grain while sealing the surface. The semi-transparent wood and deck stain is most popular. Both water and oil-based are available.

Pros: Average to better then average UV protection. Shows natural grain. Very good penetration. In most scenarios can be cleaned and re-coated easily. Can be removed with a deck stain stripper.

Cons: Most water-based versions perform poorly compared to the oils. Many states with the Low VOC laws have a limited amount of quality oil based stains available. May need to buy online if in a Low VOC area.

Transparent Deck Stains:

Transparent deck coatings look the most natural as they contain minimal pigment. Average life of a transparent decking stain is about 1 year. Mostly oil-based only are available.

Pros: Very easy to apply and reapply as needed. Natural looking.

Cons: Below average UV protection. Typically need to be re-coated annually.

Clear Deck Finishes:

Clear Deck Finishes offer little to no UV protection and will gray quickly. Typically used as sealers.

Pros: Does not change the appearance. Extremely easy to apply.

Cons: Grays and oxidizes in months.

Low VOC Stains and States:

There are currently 17 States that restrict Decking Stains and Coatings. These states require a lower amount of Volatile Organic Compounds to be released into the air. This mainly affects oil-based coatings. By lowering the amount of “solvents” that can evaporate into the ozone you need to increase the amount of “solids”. This can cause issues with oil-based stains as they may have drying and curing problems. There are still a few good oil-based stains available in Low VOC States but not as readily available at your local stores. You may need to go on the Internet to find them and have them shipped. A couple of examples would be TWP 1500 Series and Armstrong Clark Wood Stains.

Current Low VOC States:

California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Northern VA, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana. 

How to Choose Paint Colors

Colorful Living Room

How to Choose a Paint Color 

Picking paint colors can be confusing, time consuming and stressful. However, you can follow these 10 tips to make the process much more enjoyable and ensure that you settle on colors you will love for years to come. 

1.    Start Small 

If you’re not sure where to begin with color, experiment in a small area, such as a bathroom or an accent wall. If you’re doing your own painting, pick an area that’s quick to do so you can see your judge the results more quickly. It’s best to look at the process as an adventure.

To get started choosing a color, draw inspiration from your favorite piece of artwork, a rug, a dish, or accessory.

2.    Think About Mood 

When selecting a color, consider the mood that you wish to establish in your space. For example, in a bedroom do you want the feeling to be restful and soothing or dramatic and intimate? Soft, cool colors and neutrals usually create a calming feeling, while stronger, deeper colors add drama.

Do you want a dining area to feel sociable and stimulating or appear formal and quiet? Warmer, contrasting and somewhat brighter colors add to a sociable atmosphere; deeper blue-greens and neutrals will give a more formal ambiance.

3.    Pay Attention to Lighting 

Ever wonder why paint stores have light boxes? The reason is that different lighting can significantly impact your perception of a color. For instance, 

  • Natural daylight shows the truest color
  • Incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows
  • Fluorescent lighting casts a sharp blue tone

So, a strong color might be too bright and overpowering when used on all walls or next to a large window, but it might be effective when used as an accent wall with indirect light.

4.    Learn About Color 

To select a color, it can help to understand some terminology used to describe color. 

  • Hue is what we call a color. Red is the hue; blue is the hue. 
  • The value of the hue is how light or dark it is. 
  • Saturation refers to how dominant the hue is. As we go from red to pink, the red hue becomes less dominant. 
  • Intensity is the brilliance of the color. The pure colors such as red are more intense than the combined colors such as yellow-green. A stronger intense color usually has a more dominant hue.

If you want a more active space, consider introducing stronger, more intense color. Even if you want a light-colored room, choose colors that are slightly more saturated than off-white or light pastel. Very light color can feel bright and stark when it appears on all surfaces in a room. However, two or more medium-light, closely related pastel colors create a luminous effect when used in the same room.

5.    Test Your Color Choice 

Boost your confidence by testing colors on poster board or large areas of a wall. Don’t be afraid to go beyond your comfort zone: Consider strong, vivid colors or soft, deep neutrals like chocolate brown or olive green as main or accent colors. Or add drama with a stronger color on the ceiling. Tinted ceilings can dramatically change the whole look of a room.

 6.    Add Interest with Faux Finishes

Transform otherwise flat or dull walls into interesting and personal spaces with subtle or dramatic visual texture and breaks of color. Burnished mineral/metal finishes and layered colored glazes add depth.

7.    Consider Room Flow 

Consider walls as planes of color, and see how they interact when viewing one next to the other in adjacent rooms. Approach it like a composition: You’re in one room, but you’re going to see a piece of another room through it. So as you’re choosing colors, consider how they will flow from room to room to create your picture.

8.    Utilize a Color Wheel 

A small color wheel is a great reference tool for modifying and intensifying two or more colors. For example, red and green, which are complementary (opposite) colors, are most intense when used together. You may be surprised at how many combinations function beautifully together, and you may even become attracted to entirely new color palettes. The color wheel also illustrates the visual temperature of a color. Draw a line from the yellow-green mark on the color wheel all the way down to the red-violet; you’ll see that all the colors on the left are warm and the colors on the right are cool.

9.    Play with Monochromatic Schemes

If the idea of one color seems boring to you, create bold or subtle variations with contrasting paint finishes. For example, use closely related colors, or try a single color in different finishes, for walls and trim in one space.

For an accent color, select a warmer or cooler color to complement your main color group. For a quieter ambience, make sure your colors are not extremely bright. White or an off-white tint can be a striking accent when used as trim with a monochromatic color group.

10. Choose Different Finishes 

A single color used on walls and trim takes on new significance when applied in different finishes. For example, wall and trim colors can remain the same hue, but use an eggshell (matte or otherwise less reflective) finish on walls and a satin or semigloss on trim. The color will appear slightly different on each surface. It’s a good way to create a cohesive look in rooms with many windows and doors, and relatively little wall area.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Painter

Most homeowners assume that all is well if they follow the typical advice provided for hiring a painting contractor:

  • Get 3 bids
  • Check past references
  • Inspect completed work

This is good basic advice, and worth doing; but it often is not enough to prevent you from getting burned. The cursory background check just does not do enough to prevent serious, but entirely avoidable cost, schedule and quality problems.

To avoid headaches down the road, more work is required before and during the hiring process. Ultimately, the more you know, the better and more detailed your overall plan, the lower your risk. Set aside the time to prepare properly and avoid these five contractor hiring errors: 

1.    Loose Job Requirements 

If you do not know exactly what you want done and cannot explain your quality expectations, you are vulnerable to a multitude of serious problems. Do not begin the hiring process until you know exactly what you want – and have your requirements in writing. 

2.    Using the Contractor’s Contract 

It is your money, so use a contract that protects you. Make sure the contract details all materials to be installed, work to be performed, quality checks, payment requirements and how changes will be handled.

3.    No Change Order Process

Don’t let changes throw your project & budget into chaos. Make sure your written contract is crystal clear about how changes to the project are made and how cost and schedule changes are approved.

4.    Prepayment

Do not let your contractor be the middleman for purchasing materials. Never pay for work that isn’t completed to the quality standards you included in the contract.

5.    Unverified Credentials

Understand your contractor’s license history and reputation with knowledgeable home professionals in your community. 

By using Homespree to hire a painter, you can avoid many of these issues. Homespree completes a thorough background check on all contractors within its network, in addition to providing solid work requirements and contracts.

Add Lasting Color to Your Garden with Perennials

We all love colorful gardens, but planting annuals year after year can be time consuming and costly. These 20 hearty perennials pump out beautiful foliage and flowers each year with much less maintenance.

1.) Lily

Lily

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Before and After: Cottage Makeover

This week’s before and after comes from Sicora Home Design/Build in Minneapolis. This impressive construction firm transformed a tired 1.5 story home into something with a bit more curb appeal. See the full transformation here: sicora.com

Before and After

Thinking about doing some renovations on your home? Find a pro you can trust on Homespree