The sun is shining and the days are long. It’s the perfect season to spend more time in your backyard. One way to do this is to tackle those pesky tasks that are part of the up-keep of your home. Does your deck look splintered and faded? Did you just install a new deck that requires finishing? Summer is the season to give your deck the attention it needs. The following are some tips for how to stain your deck.
Preparing the wood:
- Pressure washing removes dirt, mildew and stains and, when done with a chemical solution, can break up mill glaze on new wood.
- Apply a cleaning solution and work into your deck.
- Leave it to sit as per instructions on the solution container.
- Use moderate pressure, 500-1000 PSI, with the nozzle 8-12 inches from the surface.
- Sanding increases the porosity and uniformity of the wood giving you an even-looking surface that absorbs the finish well.
- Sand vertical surfaces with 80-120 grit sandpaper.
- Sand horizontal surfaces with 60-80 grit sandpaper.
- Sand hardwoods with 60 grit, or less, sandpaper.
- New deck
- New decking may have a mill glaze and/or have dirt in the wood.
- Use Benjamin Moore Brighten to help break up and remove these.
- Weathered wood (unstained)
- If your deck has a gray washed-out appearance and/or is splintered or cracked in spots, it requires prep work to ensure that the stain lasts for more than a couple of years.
- Benjamin Moore Restore will restore the wood and remove stains caused by mould and mildew.
- Previously stained wood
- Removing the coating will help your wood more effectively take a new coat of stain.
- Use Benjamin Moore Remove, and then pressure wash to take the existing stain off your deck.
Choosing the product
With so many stains to choose from, which is right for you?
- Oil or Water-Based:
- Oil-based finishes provide longer-lasting protection and penetrate more deeply into the wood, but your deck must be bone dry before it will accept an oil-based sealer.
- Water-based products are easy to clean up (only need soap and water), offer more coverage per can and can be absorbed by damp wood.
- You can’t go wrong with Benjamin Moore’s ArborCoat line of quality oil and water-based stains.
- Clear, Semi-transparent or Solid:
- Clear finishes allow the natural wood grain to show and provide great water protection but are not good at blocking UV rays and must be reapplied yearly. No scraping required when reapplying and overlap marks are not a concern during application.
- Semi-transparent deck finishes add a bit of colour, allow some of the wood grain to show, are an effective UV and moisture barrier, and last up to three years. No scraping is required when reapplying but you have to be careful of lap marks.
- Solid coloured finishes offer the most UV protection, hide imperfections, protect against moisture, and last three to five years. However, they conceal the wood grain, can crack, peel and chip like paint, require scraping before reapplication and you must be cautious of lap marks.
- Check out Benjamin Moore’s ArborCoat line of clear, semi-transparent and solid stains.
Timing of application
There’s controversy regarding when to stain a deck made of pressure-treated wood. Some experts suggest you wait 3 to 12 months to let the wood dry and “off” any chemicals used in processing. Others suggest that a few weeks of air drying in summer conditions will be sufficient to lower the moisture content and allow the stain to penetrate. There is the question of what kind of pressure-treated wood you’ve used. Premium pressure-treated lumber has been dried after treatment to remove excess moisture and can be stained immediately. Ordinary pressure-treated lumber has not been dried. There are other variables; how the wood was stored, whether your deck is in sun or shade, the climate of your area, the weather conditions. To avoid confusion and simplify the matter, try the water test.
- Pour a cup of water on a corner of your deck.
- If the water soaks in within 30 seconds, the wood is dry enough to stain.
- If the water beads up or takes longer than 30 seconds to absorb, wait a few weeks and test again.
Applying the stain
When you’re ready to apply your chosen stain, take into account the following tips:
- Apply stain when the outside temperature is between 10 and 27 degrees Celsius.
- Make sure the forecast calls for at least two days of dry weather.
- Protect eyes and skin by wearing safety glasses and disposable rubber gloves.
- Always test stain on a piece of scrap wood before starting on the deck.
- Apply only one coat of stain.
- Be prepared to apply a maintenance coat in 12 to 18 months.
- Use synthetic brushes as they are ideal for working the stain into the wood.
- If you use a roller, choose one with a nap that’s ¼ inch or shorter.
- Use long, smooth strokes to stain two or three boards at a time.
- Brush in the direction of the grain for the majority of the surface.
- Brush against the direction of the grain to fill deep pores with stain.
Staining your deck is a great way to spend time in the sun and fresh air. Best of all, when you’ve finished the task, you’ll have a beautiful place to relax and spend more time outdoors!
Thinking of staining your deck? Need quality stain and painting supplies? Call Calgary’s independent paint and blinds store West Hillhurst Paint + Design at (403) 270-9696 or email at [email protected]. Our knowledgeable professional design associates provide high-quality paint and stain, a wide selection of blinds, advice for home projects and excellent service. We carry Benjamin Moore products. Call for a consultation today!