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Local Articles in Westfield
When tree leaves and temperatures begin falling, it's a sign winter is on its way. Use this fall maintenance checklist to protect your home from winter damage.
Keeping the outside of your home looking good requires regular maintenance. Read this guide to learn how much each project might cost you.
Once your deck is properly built, be sure to keep it safe by performing regular inspections to find wood rot, loose fasteners and unstable posts.
I agree with Jim Casper - after about 50 years of dealing with weathered wood finishing both in my homes and in the construction business, it comes down to about 90% preparation, 10% the finishing. If you do not prep the wood right, any moisture, mold, etc in the wood will destroy whatever you put over it.
High-build finishes like paint and epoxies and, from reading the Rustoleum flyer on this new product that too, work by trying to make an impenetrable surface and depend on a very good bond with the surface, AND no water getting under them. Because they are thick and are designed to provide a waterproof surface, unfortunately where water gets under them they are just as good or better at keeping it from evaporating, so you get fungal growth, blistering, and peeling.
Unfortunately, on deck and most outdoor applications except siding the surface will get nicked, scratched and otherwise develop leaks in short order. Water will therefore get into the underlying wood, and because it entered through small cracks and scratches, does not have any airflow to make it evaporate, so it sits there and breaks the finish bond to the wood (causing peeling and blisters), and promotes decay. That is why new deck boards and siding and trim that have been heavily or multi-coat painted on all 4 sides, thinking that will give the best protection, only last a few years versus the usual 10-20 years or so for boards that are painted top and sides only.
The full sun and hot conditions will, of course, cause more thann normal heating of dark colored painted decking. I had one instance where I was doing an independent appraisal of a very large commercial deck at a government facility, and in 85-90 degree daytime temps, in the sushine the chocolate brown deck surface temp was 150 degrees, and the paint was softening so much it stuck to the bottom of your shoes a couple of months after application.
As Jim said, the studies pretty clearly show that a breathable penetrating stain gives the best life, after plain ACA/CCA (copper chromium variations - the green stuff) treated wood. Penetrating stains, properly applied, do NOT seal in the moisture, they inhibit its entry and (when dark colored) help protect against sun damage to the wood and finish, but still breathe enough to let moisture escape on dry days. For my money, I will only use petroleum distillate (paint thinner cleanup) products, as they penetrate into the wood much better. Water based ones immediately start swelling the wood pores, so it blocks further penetration of the stain, which while cleanup is a bit easier, totally defeats the purpose of a PENETRATING stain or sealer.
I would recommend against any sort of waterproofing sealer, as they trap the water just like paint, and I have never seen one that is effective for 2 years.
My personal preference, though it limits the architectural coloration possibilities, is ground-contact rated copper compound treated wood (NOT the Wolmanized brown product), which comes green initially but can be retreated with either green or brown solution or can be liquid colorized darker (though not easily to a specific tone) using either of those as a base. My practice is to redo the treatment before installation to ensure thorough treatment, as from the mill it commonly has skips where boards contacted each other or where stacking seperators laid on it, and the ends are commonly very poorly done. This is done after cutting to length, as cut ends have to be retreated anyway. A simple short deck cleaner soak followed by a light pressure washing and brush or roller re-treating of ONLY the TOP surface every 10 years or so has, for me, reduced visible weathering of the boards and beams to negligible.
The product has evolved considerably since the lawsuit.
I would still do your own research and give you contractor your feedback. At the end of the day, the cost for whatever board you want will be similar.
That being said, a legitimate contractor still has operating cost which vary by area and how they run their business. I break even at $150/day not including labor and materials so I've got to charge more than that to make money. To keep the math simple, if I'm paying $250 for a pne day job in labor plus another $300 in materials and $150 operating costs I've got to charge $700 to the customer to break even. That's if I'm only doing one job a day which is why most of us manage several at a time. The point I'm trying to make is that someone with the necessary knowledge and experience to build you a safe deck is not going to be cheap. Knowledge accompanies success which costs money.
I've repaired or restructured several decks built by handymen who should find another profession. Ask yourself this question when hiring someone for this project: Would I trust this person to build my house? If the answer is no you need to find someone else. The deck is just as important. It's where your family, friends, kids are going to gather and interact. If it isn't structurally sound it can collapse causing injury or even death. One last word on decks: Always screw a deck together, don't nail it.
Todd's Home Services
San Antonio, TX
While you can apply for an after-the-fact permit yourself, you risk a LOT - i.e. if you do not dot the i's and cross the t's just like they want, they might deny it and issue a removal order for it - not at ALL what you want. And you may not be looking at just the building permit, but a Planning and Zoning review andpossibly other types of permits like wetlands permits as well.
I would talk to an architect or civil/structural engineering firm who ROUTINELY does permit applications and waiver work. In many jurisdictions, a retroactive permit requires an inspection by a structural engineer (for this type of structure) and sign-off on the design and installation before the city will accept an after the fact permit application, so that might be your best starting point.
Regardless of the outcome, be prepared to pay the regulatory fine for building without a permit. And of course, if it violates P&Z regs like being too close to a property line, then you will also need to apply for a waiver for those violations, plus maybe pay a fine for not having gotten prior approval. Of course, if in violation of a non-waiverable condition, like infringing on wetlands or in a designated floodway it might have to come out anyway, so having a professional review your situation FIRST before putting money into trying to get permits and approvals (with any fines) might tell you removal is the only likely result anyway.
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