Why You Should Never Paint Your Deck
Yes, after your deck is freshly painted, it looks very good and depending on the paint and sun exposure, it can last a few years. But soon, it will start to peel and before you know it, your beautiful deck will have become an eyesore. And the process of removing the paint still on your deck is not at all fun, especially if you don't have a pressure washer. This is my horrible paint removal story and advice for your own decks.
My deck had been peeling for about a year and so this summer we finally decided to remove the paint and stain it. Everyone we talked to recommended getting a paint stripper. All you have to do is paint the stripper on your deck, wait a while and scape it off. Then, voila! Your deck is paint-free. Well, we decided to use a non-toxic, "green" paint stripper called Ready Strip. With this paint stripper we wouldn't have to wear goggles or gloves, and it wouldn't kill the plants. Bad idea. Our "environmentally-friendly" paint remover was a gel so it took about 2 and a half hours for two of us to paint our deck. We waited a while for it to turn an off-white, which would tell us that we could scape off the stripper and paint along with it. (It actually turned a picket fence white so I'm pretty sure all our neighbors and passing cars thought we painted our deck white.) It did not, however, come off easily like it was supposed to. It took 2 full days burning in the hot sun for the 3 of us to scape off the white stripper and it didn't even take all the paint off. Plus, some of the white was basically glued to our deck, impossible for us to remove. Maybe a different paint stripper would've worked better, but I know our "green" one did not. Also, the only green thing about it was its color because it killed our grass. So, it took us 2 full, back-breaking days of hard labor before we could stain our deck. And then we found out that our stain was dark enough to have gone right over the paint...without the paint stripper or those 2 tiring days of hard work.
The best advice is to simply not paint your deck or balcony at all. But if you have already painted it, you can either choose a dark stain to go over it, or use a pressure washer and probably a paint stripper other than Ready Strip. With a toxic paint remover, you'll have to wear goggles and gloves. Also, cover up your grass and plants around the deck if you want them alive and be ready to scape if it doesn't come off.