There are few essential steps and a handful of great tips that you should be familiar with before you take on the task of staining your wooden deck. While it may sound as if it is a broken record because you’re hearing it over and over again, it bears repeating: There is no substitute for careful preparation when you’re putting a finish on any exterior surface. If you follow the steps and the advice of homeowners and professionals who’ve been through the process, you’re much more likely to have satisfactory results.
First of all, get yourself into the mindset that this will be a slow-and-steady process. Take your time from the moment you begin to clean the deck until the final spot is covered. In fact, if you have new weather-treated lumber as the primary material for your deck, you should allow it to weather for a few months and allow it to dry sufficiently before putting any finish coat on. If you’re stripping old stain before putting the new finish on, make sure that you allow plenty of time for the stripper to do its job.
Prepare and Clean
This is the absolute key to good results. In fact, you should devote as much time as possible to cleaning the surface before you open the first container of stain. This applies for both a new deck and for your current deck. Cleaning new wood helps open the grain for a good stain coat. On old wood, you must remove dirt, mold, and old stains before you apply any new finish. You might want to learn a bit more about wood cleaners with names containing the words sodium percarbonate and/or oxygen bleach.
You may also need to use a reliable stain stripper. But take all the precautions in the instructions because these products can cause skin damage and burns. They will, however, work very well even on stains that have been through a few years of weather. You may have to sand some of the toughest spots to get the surface ready. Keep in mind the two “warnings” mentioned earlier. Take your time and do all the necessary preparation. If you leave a spot of old stain and say “That’s good enough,” you’ll regret it later.
Brighten and Rinse
While the name might be a bit misleading, you should also consider using a wood brightener to open the wood grain for best stain penetration. This will go a long way toward giving older wood an almost new appearance. Once you’ve finished using cleaning solutions, you must devote plenty of time to rinsing all these chemicals away. Make sure that you do a thorough job with this step for best results.
Choosing the stain for your deck is one process during which you should always remember to buy the best product that you can afford. If you want to have superior results, you’ll need to spend a bit more on a better stain. Don’t settle for the cheapest stain and then hope for the best. Follow the directions carefully and use a brush for best coverage.
Marc Poulos began his real estate and financial services career, but he soon realized that his true passion was beautifying homes. He started working with various small craftsman shops before serving an apprenticeship with the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago. His commitment to excellence won him Top Apprentice from Washburne trade school in Chicago – the country’s premier school of its kind.