What You Need To Know About Staining A Deck
One of the best ways to add character and warmth to your outdoor living space is to have a beautifully stained deck. The trick here, though, is to ensure that you deck stays looking beautiful. There are many factors that impact the longevity of your deck’s stain, including the quality of materials, application, usage, exposure, and climate—by as much as 15 years! If you have a deck that needs updating and you are contemplating staining a deck that has been stained previously, we will discuss the steps that you need to take first. A deck is a considerable investment and maintenance can help make sure that you remain satisfied with it for many years to come.
The first thing that you need to do is assess the condition of your deck in order to determine whether any repairs are necessary before you stain it. For example, you cannot simply stain splintered or rotted wood and expect that to take care of the problem; instead, this wood needs to be replaced.
- Look for damaged wood and replace it.
- Look for popped up nail heads and hammer them back down.
- Look for twisting, warping, or cupping deck boards that people may trip over and repair them. Consider using four-inch screws since they have more of a grip and may be able to hold the edge down where a regular nail is unable to. Alternatively, the board can be replaced.
Now is also the time to make the decision regarding the color that you want to stain the deck. Do you want to use the same color that was used previously, or do you want to use a new color—maybe one that is light or darker than the current stain? Regardless of the color stain that you select, you need to make sure that the surface of the deck is adequately prepared to receive the brand-new stain so that it adheres properly. Depending on the deck size, you have two options: 1) scrubbing by hand, or 2) using a power washer.
Cleaning The Deck By Hand
Use a deck cleaner and mix it with water based on the instructions, then apply it to the deck’s surface using a stiff brush. Work in small sections, rinsing each section with clean water as it is completed.
Powering Washing The Deck
When you are using a power washer, you want to focus on rinsing. The majority of power washing equipment has a built-in optional detergent feed. Using the instructions from the manufacturer, fill the container with a special solution for deck cleaning that will dissolve and lift dirt and mildew from the wood’s surface. It may be necessary to perform a second treatment, particularly if it has been a few years since the last staining. In some cases, you may need to sand the deck in order to get a smooth surface because pressure washing can lift the grain off the wood, leaving a rough surface behind.
Regardless of the method that you choose, the wood surface will need to completely dry prior to applying the stain. If you are using water-based stain, a day or two is usually sufficient, but for oil-based stain, three days is generally necessary.
Choosing Your Stain
Once the deck is prepared, you can choose the stain. Exterior wood stain comes in two types: 1) semi-transparent finish, and 2) solid finish. The type that you choose will heavily depend on the kind that has been used previously on your deck. Semi-transparent stains are opaque. These stains will add color to the wood while allowing the wood grain’s natural beauty to shine through. Solid stains, on the other hand, will cover the wood. These stains will hide the grain of the wood as well as previous colors while also showing texture. If you are adding a stain on top of another stain, you need to make sure that you choose the correct kind of stain based on the existing finish. If you current deck stain is:
- Light – You will want to apply a stain that is similar or dark in color without needing any kind of additional preparation.
- Dark – It will be difficult to cover a dark stain with a light semi-transparent stain since the dark one will come through, so if you want to lighten up your old dark deck, then you will need to opt for a light-colored solid stain.
- Semi-transparent – You can cover the prior stain with a semi-transparent or a solid stain.
- Solid – You will want to apply another layer of solid finish stain since a semi-transparent stain will not bind to the solid surface.
Applying The Stain
To begin applying the stain, you need to locate a hidden area for a test to ensure that the stain will adhere properly. If there is a protective finish on the deck, then the stain will not adhere, and the finish must be removed first. Here are a few tips for applications.
- Use a brush, paint pad, or roller to apply the stain in long and smooth strokes.
- Work in small sections and work your way outward. Make sure that you always keep a wet edge and that your sections overlap one another. If a section dries and then it is overlapped, you are applying a second coat to that overlapped section, which will result in a blotchy finish.
- If you notice the stain pooling while you are applying, then you need to cut back on the amount you’re using because you are applying too much at a time.
- Make sure that the first coat completely dries before you add a second coat.
- Seriously consider applying a clear sealing product on top of your dried, stained deck in order to extend the longevity of your deck.
If you would like to learn more or hire a professional to stain your deck for you, contact us at The Painting Company of Atlanta today