You love your deck. It’s been the center of more BBQs, summer get-togethers, and good times than you can remember. But as much as you love it, you hate the way it’s starting to show its age. Mother Nature has taken its toll and your deck is now worse the wear. Not to worry, with a little elbow grease and some stain you’ll be able to get that deck looking good in no time.
Step One – Surface Prep
Before you start staining you need to clean and prep the deck surface. Remove all deck furniture and then sweep the surface of debris. Next you’ll want to sand any splintered wood with 80-grit sandpaper and then fix any boards that need repaired. Once done, powerwash and clean the deck surface with a deck cleaning solution. Let dry for two days.
Step Two – Area Prep
Unless you want to get stain all over the place you need to place drop cloths and tape off any items that you do not want stained. To protect nearby shrubs or plants, wet and cover with plastic.
Step Three – Apply Stain or Sealant
When choosing a stain or sealant, be sure to pick one that is water repellant and mildew resistant. You’ll have your choice of a water or oil-based stain/sealant. Generally, oil-based stains don’t require as much maintenance. You’ll also need to decide what type of stain or sealant you are going to apply: clear water repellent, wood toner, wood preservative, semi-transparent stain, or colored stain. Clear water repellant offers the most basic protection and needs to be applied every year. Toners and preservatives offer more protection and last longer.
Final Thoughts – Tips
Check the weather to ensure that there is no rain in the forecast for at least two days and that the temperature will be between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you don’t want to apply the stain or sealant in the direct sun, as it’ll dry too quickly.
Take your time. Be sure to prep the surface and surroundings to protect them from overspray and drips. Stain and sealants can cause skin irritation so be sure to wear the appropriate protective clothing and eyewear – shorts and flip-flops aren’t okay.
Be sure to thoroughly stir (don’t shake) the stain or sealant. Apply a thin, even coat and don’t allow the stain or sealant to puddle. To speed up the process have some one “backbrush” behind you to get rid of any puddles.
Last but not least, remember that oily rags should never be piled up. Spread them out and let them dry before disposal. Thoroughly clean your equipment with soapy water (latex stains) or paint thinner/mineral spirits (oil-based stains).