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Old 05-09-2014, 09:15 AM   #1
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


Hello,

I'm getting estimates to have my new deck stained. I've found that different contractors are offering different techniques.

For instance, one said he brushes the railings and rolls the floor. The other said he uses a spray gun and sprays the whole thing. Both will clean / sand first.

When questioned, the spray guy swore by the technique and offers a one-year warranty even though the stain is rated for 4. The other guy offered a 1 year warranty as well.

The spray guy recommended Flood CWF brand, but will use any brand I want, the brush / roll guy only uses Cabot brand.

Looking online, I've found mixed reviews on each technique - the spray guy was a little cheaper by $300. Does anyone have any experience with this?

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Old 05-09-2014, 09:32 AM   #2
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


Spraying is faster that's why he wants to do it tat way.
It does not apply enough to do it's job in my option.
Plus there's having to deal with the over spray.
Cabots has held up good for me. Comes in the top three in consumers digest test.

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Old 05-09-2014, 10:18 AM   #3
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


I like the roll guy more than the spray guy. Stains work by actually being absorbed into the pores in the wood rather than just sitting on top of it. Rolling would accomplish this better than spraying. Brushing would accomplish it even better than just rolling, but maybe only minimally so. The guy who sprays can do it in less time, which is why he is charging you less. But I would take him off the list because his application method may not provide optimal conditions for it to adhere. The usable life of a stain once applied is greatly over estimated for marketing purposes by manufacturers. In real life under heavy foot traffic, animal claws, dragging furniture back and fourth, and other abuse, you are lucky to get 12 months out of the low end stuff and 18-24 months out of the high end stuff. With the type of foot traffic and abuse decks typically undergo, good luck finding anybody who will warranty his work for the number of years you see on the can.

Roofers don't warranty their labor for the number of years the shingles are rated for either.

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Old 05-09-2014, 10:32 AM   #4
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Spraying is faster that's why he wants to do it tat way.
It does not apply enough to do it's job in my option.
Plus there's having to deal with the over spray.
Cabots has held up good for me. Comes in the top three in consumers digest test.
This depends I can use a big enough tip that would flood the deck.
If the guy is an experienced sprayer this is a non issue.
The same problems can occur using too small nap on the roller and getting splatter from the roller. I have used the best of both worlds use a pump up sprayer then back roll.
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Old 05-09-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


Spraying stain on a deck Can be the best method. Spraying allows you better control over the amount if material applied, unfortunately some painters use the fact to stretch materials thus putting a thinner than ideal coat on. But it can just as easily go the other way, a pro spray person can get a thicker coat on than by brushing alone.

The main thing with spraying ext wood decks is that they Must be back brushed/rolled for good results. If the spray guy is not planning on back brushing to push the stain into the grain-no way, bad idea.

Cabbot and CWF are both fine products if applied and maintained properly.
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Old 05-09-2014, 11:28 AM   #6
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A wide stain brush attached to a paint pole does wonders for your back/knees when back brushing.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:58 PM   #7
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How long before I have to re-apply with CWF?

He told me 4 years (based on manufacturer) but his warranty is only for one which has me wondering if that's really the case.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:18 PM   #8
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


There are some misconceptions about spraying. An airless sprayer can deliver as much or as little product that the person using it wants to apply. An experienced spray person can limit and control the over spray, along with masking off as needed. When applying stain it needs to be back brushed or rolled into the substrate. Have you asked the guy that proposed to spray if he will be back brushing?
I also would not choose a contractor just on price along, get references, view photos and/or video of past work, make sure contractor has proper insurance and is licensed in your area if he needs to be.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:24 PM   #9
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


He said no back brushing - just apply via spray and he will be done in a couple hours.

The brush / roll guy that uses Cabot was only $100 more expensive.

The spray guy said he hates Cabot but the roll guy said he loves Cabot. Spray guy prefers Behr or Flood CWF.

Both are licensed and insured. Both appear to have done nice previous jobs by pictures. The roll / brush guy has a lot more years experience it seems.
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:09 PM   #10
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


Spraying alone is the worst technique.

When you paint (or stain), you need to accomplish 3 different things:
1. get paint from the bucket to the surface
2. work the paint into the surface
3. apply the appropriate finish stroke

You can sometimes achieve all 3 at once. For example, rolling paint on your walls. Load up your roller and roll it on the wall with a little pressure - that does all 3 things.

However often you do it in 2 or 3 different steps. For example, putting polyurethane finish on a table. You have very little working in to do - just the act of getting the polyurethane onto the table is enough to work it in. The table is usually so smooth that gravity does it for you. But you have to take your time going over it perfectly smoothly with your brush to get a flawless smooth finish.

On a deck, there are more nooks and crannies that the stain has to work into. So brushing, or at a minimum rolling, is best. Simply spraying gets the stain onto the surface a whole lot more efficiently that brushing (step 1), but then there is nothing to physically work it into the surface. With stain on a deck, step 3 is much less important than putting on polyurethane, and step 2 is far more important.

You cannot go by pictures for the spray results. You can only see what it is failing to do with a magnifying glass or microscope, not in a photo. It will probably not last as long as a good brushing though.

I like oil based Cabot quite a lot.

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Old 05-09-2014, 07:14 PM   #11
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


As well as being standard practice, back brushing/rolling is recommended in the application instructions for CWF UV.

Spray only is a terrible idea for most deck stain applications. I have seen the results of this several times and its never been good.

http://www.flood.com/pdf/app-instructions-02.pdf
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:23 PM   #12
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


Thanks for the responses - I'm not looking to pick the "lowest bidder". I don't mind spending a little more if I like the contractor better and / or his techniques. I want to get the job done right even if that means spending a little more money.

After reading, i'm definitely leaning towards the second one - everything sounds better - technique and choice of recommended stain. He also had more experience.

I have another estimate coming on Monday so we will see what that brings and I'll make a final decision then. Appreciate all the helpful advice so far!
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:23 AM   #13
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New Deck - Spray vs Roll / Brush Stain


Quote:
Originally Posted by adgjqetuo View Post
How long before I have to re-apply with CWF?

He told me 4 years (based on manufacturer) but his warranty is only for one which has me wondering if that's really the case.
I use a lot of CWF. It's about as good as it gets at that price point. Sometimes you can get it for as little as $15 a gallon with a coupon, sale, rebate, etc. On vertical surfaces you can usually get 4 years out of it, but, on horizontal surfaces, don't count on much more that 2, maybe 3 years. The horizontals just take an absolute beating from the elements. Nothing lasts 4 or 5 years on decks, well, not too many products with a reasonable price tag.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:21 AM   #14
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The horizontals just take an absolute beating from the elements. Nothing lasts 4 or 5 years on decks, well, not too many products with a reasonable price tag.
Having said that, it's why you should use a penetrative product, rather than a film forming one. It's so easy to simply clean and then reapply a penetrative product every 2 or 3 years, without any scraping or stripping.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:47 AM   #15
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Having said that, it's why you should use a penetrative product, rather than a film forming one. It's so easy to simply clean and then reapply a penetrative product every 2 or 3 years, without any scraping or stripping.

That's very true. However, very few stains actually penetrate all the way, so after several maintenance applications, perhaps every 10 years, a deck (even one done with penetrating stains) will need to be stripped to maintain a nice look. The small amount of solids in these stains eventually build up and create a film.

Toners don't seem to need to be stripped as frequently providing they are not over applied. And I have been reading about products like TWP that supposedly never need to be stripped, though I haven't tried them yet.

Small story on over application. I took over a maintenance contract on some condo buildings. The decks were fairly new and had only been stained once.

The previous painter had stained them with two coats of Olympic toner. They looked good at first, with a nice shine to them. The thing is, stains/toners are not meant to be applied like that. After the first coat was dry, the second coat was unable to penetrate and dried on the surface. I was told by tenants that the first stain job took weeks to dry completely.

So after a year or so, this nice shiny look was getting all scratched up by wear. Not being designed to perform as a film, the toner did not hold up well at all. The only solution then was to strip and start over. A maintenance coat would have been futile since it would not have penetrated.

Note: many stains like the CWF are applied in two coats. But it's supposed to be two coats "wet on wet". In other words, the second coat is applied before the first is dry so it can still penetrate. Once the first coat or coats dries, the wood will accept no more stain. Putting additional coats on at this point might look good for while, but will more than likely fail prematurely.

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