How To Stain A Deck
|Questions/Comments From Visitors To This Website|
A good quality stain or sealer can add color (stain) or make the wood look more rich (sealer). But the most important reason to seal or stain your deck is protection. If you've ever seen a raw deck (never stained) that's about 10 years old, you know how bad it can look: Gray wood, badly cracked wood, and probably areas where rot is visible.
An unstained deck might last for 10-15 years. Then it's time to rebuild it (possibly $1,000 to $4,000 or more). But if a deck is stained or sealed every few years, the deck will last probably twice as long -- and look better.
New Deck Surface
Most deck surfaces are built
using 5/4" pressure-treated lumber. In recent years, some deck builders
have been using a composite decking surface. The composite is often made
from materials such as recycled plastic and wood fibers (sometimes recycled).
Personally, I don't like the composite decking. It's not water resistant.
If it gets stained, it's virtually impossible to remove the stain. There
have been recalls of composite decking for degradation and breakage, and
I believe one recall involved mold problems. Wood decking has been used
for decades, can be water-proofed, and looks real.
A New Deck:
The wood must be "dry" (10% or less moisture). Decks are usually built using pressure-treated wood. The process forces liquid, under pressure, into the wood.
This liquid (moisture) will prevent the deck stain (or sealer) from soaking into the wood.
So it's important
that the wood has time to dry before staining (or sealing). The moisture
content should be below 10%.
Sealers and stains protect the wood from the sun's UV rays and from moisture. Unprotected wood will turn gray and will eventually severely crack.
As a general rule of thumb, a deck should be resealed or restained every 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 years.
To Tell When It's Time
Test by pouring a glass of water on the wood. If the water beads up, it means the sealer or stain is still working. If the water soaks into the wood, it's time to reseal or restain.
Deck Prep For An Existing Deck:
The deck should be cleaned. You can use deck cleaning or brightening solutions available from paint stores, Lowes, or Home Depot.
If the deck wood remains gray
or dark, you can usually brighten it by pressure washing after applying
a brightener. However, pressure washing usually results in roughness and
(possibly) splintering. Don't be too aggressive with the pressure washer!
As the name indicates, the sealer is clear and allows the wood's natural finish to show. We recommend a clear sealer with UV protection in areas exposed to the sun.
We recommend either a clear sealer or a semi-transparent stain. Solid stains are more susceptible to cracking and peeling.
- Brush and Roll
Sherwin Williams Deckscapes, Cabot, Sikkens
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