A deck is an investment in your home. You can help protect your investment with some simple tips:
Before You Start
Be careful when moving furniture off the deck. Barbeques and other heavy items can easily leave marks on the woods surface.
When decks are brand new they usually have a high moisture content. If you have a new deck, allow it to weather for a few months before staining it.
Look for surface problems. For optimal results, never stain wood that’s eroded, decayed, dirty, or stained. You should either replace the wood or clean it, depending on the problem.
Strip the previous stain using MasterDecker’s Stripper in order to avoid issues with peeling and discoloration. Exercise caution and wear protective equipment when dealing with these chemicals. Spraying grass and other plants with water will dilute the chemical and protect them from harm. Wash off any chemical that comes into contact with skin immediately.
Sand off any remaining stain
If no previous stain, make sure the surface is free of mold, mildew and dirt using MasterDecker’s Cleaner. This will prepare the deck for staining and won’t harm plant life and vegetation
Don’t skip the brightener. Wood brighteners are easy to apply and will improve stain penetration, neutralize any stain strippers/cleaners that were used, and make the deck shine like new again.
Thoroughly rinse all chemicals off the deck with water and give the deck 2 to 3 days to dry. Stain that’s applied to damp surfaces won’t adhere properly and can also lead to wood erosion, rot, and decay.
Choose an oil based stain to penetrate the wood and avoid peeling. Penetrating deck stains are easier to maintain by cleaning and reapply after 2-3 years.
Stay away from the cheap stuff. Lower quality stains are prone to peeling and other issues that require lots of maintenance.
Applying the Stain
Apply a small amount of paint to a test area to confirm desired color
To ensure color uniformity, stir the stain thoroughly to evenly distribute pigment
Natural bristle brushes are the best choice for effectively working the stain into wood fibers. Regardless of method used to apply the stain, always have a paintbrush at hand as well. Back brushing the stain while it is still wet will work it deep into the pores of the wood, and ultimately lead to better protection.
More stain is not better. Over application can lead to peeling or cracking when exposed to moisture. Apply as much stain as the wood can easily absorb.
Color of stain that has just been applied will differ from the end result when dried.
Maintaining your Deck
Because decks are exposed to the elements, they require maintenance to keep them protected.
A good quality stain will last 2 or maybe 3 years on a deck floor (horizontal) and typically twice as long on railing and other verticals.
Heavily shaded decks are prone to mildew. After deck refinishing, apply a deck cleaner annually to prevent mildew and mold.
Every few months, test to ensure that your deck is still repelling water. If water does not repel, it’s time for a new coat of stain.
Regularly sweep off debris/leaves to prevent accumulation of dirt that can stain the deck surface
Put a grease catcher on your grill/BBQ to prevent grease stains on your deck
Move planters around the deck to prevent moisture/algae buildup in one area.
Rearrange deck furniture to prevent wood discoloring in particular areas.
Trim nearby bushes and plants to prevent rot and moss growth.
During the winter time, remove snow buildup which can cause warping and water damage. Also, avoid removing ice with salt because it can damage the deck surface or wear out the seal.
- Don’t put flower pots directly on your deck. They can trap moisture causing rot. (Place on small blocks instead.)
- Be sure to use a grease catcher with your grill. Grease stains are hard to remove.
- Keep leaves removed from your deck. Wet leaves can cause stains that are hard to remove.
- If sealing your deck yourself be careful not to over apply sealer which can cause the sealer not to dry properly and cause rapid mildew growth.
- New deck – It is not necessary to wait 6-12 months to seal new wood. Your deck can be damaged by water absorption and UV exposure soon after installation. It should be cleaned to kill mildew spores in the wood and remove surface barriers that prohibit finish coatings from penetrating, and then protected after installation with a water repellent sealer.
- It is not advisable to apply paint or a solid stain to your deck – Both have a tendency to peel and can become a maintenance nightmare.
- When installing or building a new deck at ground level, install a plastic vapor barrier prior to the deck construction. This prevents ground moisture from migrating upward into the wood which can cause wood decay and damage.
- Homeowners sometimes overlook the need for regular deck maintenance. Left untreated, your deck could become an eyesore. Proper cleaning and sealing using the correct products can often reduce the need for cleaning and refinishing to every two or three years instead of every year.
- For more information, please feel free to contact us with your questions, requests, or feedback. Or, give us a call at 519 878 6735