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Posts Tagged ‘deck staining tips’

New Smooth Wood
Staining a New Deck

New Smooth Wood

Over the past year we have numerous questions asked on the site, but none was asked more than “What stain or prep is needed for my new deck”? There seems to be an opinion among homeowners that is is okay to stain new wood right away or even before the deck is installed. This is incorrect for most wood types and stain brands.

In this article we will cover the required prep and waiting period needed before applying a stain for the first time.

New Smooth Decking

New smooth decking boards are not porous enough for most stains to be able to penetrate properly. This is mainly due to:

  • Mill glaze when cut
  • High moisture content
  • Chemicals in Pressure Treated Wood

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Hardwood Deck Staining

We have been getting great feedback here at from all of the consumers who have been looking for better stain alternatives for their deck restoration. Our most popular article, “What is the Best Deck Stain” has quickly become the number one article on the web for asking questions and getting answers on restoring your exterior wood and deck.

In this article we are going to cover what actually is a “Deck Stain”. We will compare the many different types of decking stain options available and what are the positives and negatives of each.

Deck Stains

Deck stains are used to protect and preserve your exterior wood. They offer UV protection, water repellency, mold and mildew resistance, etc. Deck coatings come in many different types of opacity and bases. Many deck stain brands can be restricted in certain states, cities and counties due the VOC laws.

Deck staining can be a “chore” for residential homeowners and unfortunately walking into your local store may produce some of the worst options available. Not all deck stains are created equal and there is not a perfect stain type or brand that will out perform all the others.

Water-Based Deck Stains

Water based deck stain have come on rapidly in the last 4 years. The main reason for the vast amount of water based stains on the market today is related to changes in VOC laws across the country. Many states have adopted or soon will adopt lower VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) regulations. This has prompted stain manufacturers to increase production of water soluble decking stains. In our opinion, water-based deck stain are “thin” paints with varying amount of acrylic and pigment.

Pros: Water cleanup, less chance of mold or mildew growth. Environmentally friendly.

Cons: Do not penetrate like an oil-base can. Slightly harder to apply as they dry quicker. Can be prone to peeling and wearing. *Defy Stains are the only exception that we have tested. They penetrate the best of all water based stains, nearly as well as an oil.

Oil based Deck Stains

Oil based decking stains have been around for 20-30 years and have been traditionally what all stain manufacturers produce. Oil based stains are typically made up of natural and synthetic oils. Many contain oils such as: Linseed Oil, Paraffin Oil, Tung Oil, Rosewood Oil, Etc.

Pros: Excellent penetration into wood. The better a deck stain can penetrate, the better the performance. Easier to apply. More natural looking.

Cons: Stronger odors, longer drying and curing time. Some oils can promote the growth of mildew. Some oil-based stains will darken in color over time.

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TWP 101 Cedartone Color

Exterior wood surfaces need to be protected from harsh elements like UV rays and moisture. Foot traffic from people and even pets can also do damage. A wood surface around a pool however is subjected to a lot more moisture and harsh chemicals like chlorine so it becomes even more crucial to provide protection. Doing so will help the areas like a pool deck last much longer.

When it comes to staining wood there are a few things to keep in mind. Prepping the wood correctly and choosing a quality deck stain are crucial. Follow the proper instructions for cleaning and prepping a wood deck prior to staining. Once the wood is prepared correctly the decision must be made as to which stain to apply.

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It is best to never stain any exterior wood when inclement weather is forecasted, especially rain. Most deck stain brands will warn against application of their product within 12-24 hours of rain being forecasted. But as we all know sometimes the weather is not so predictable. So what do you do if it does rain shortly after staining?

You cannot do much until it stops raining once it starts. After the rain has passed and the deck has dried take a closer look. It really depends on how hard it rained and for how long. A light drizzle most likely won’t hurt anything but a good downpour can be a different story. The type and brand of stain can make a difference as well. Some stains can handle rain shortly after being applied better than others.

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New Cedar Wood

The first step in deck restoration and/or maintenance is to clean and prep the wood. This is the key to a longer lasting finish. Properly prepped wood will allow the deck stain to penetrate and perform to its full potential. So how dry does the deck need to be after cleaning it to apply the stain? Well that can be measured in several ways.

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Deck Stain Application Instructions for 2 coats “Wet on Wet”.

The term “wet on wet” refers to a two-coat application process specific to semi-transparent penetrating stains. In the wet on wet method the first application of stain is applied to an area. Then before the first coat dries or cures, a second coat is applied over the top. This method ensures that the first coat, being still wet, has not sealed the boards from accepting more stain.

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Do You Need to Stain the Undersides of a Deck?

Bringing up some debate is whether or not you should stain the undersides of a deck. It is common and advisable to stain the weather-exposed surfaces of a deck to protect them from water and sun damage. But do the undersides of a deck also need protected?

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How Much Deck Stain and Prepping Products Should I Buy?

Before staining a deck you need to figure out the deck’s total square footage. Once this calculation is considered, you can figure out how many gallons of deck stain you need by reading the coverage rate of the stain you are buying. On average most deck stains cover 150-300 sq. ft. per gallon depending on the age, condition, and porosity of the wood.

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Stainining Redwood Decks
Stainining Redwood Decks

Staining Redwood Decks

Staining a Redwood Deck Help and Advice

Keeping a redwood deck maintained will slow the weathering process of the wood and increase the life expectancy of the deck. Regularly cleaning and refinishing helps the redwood keep its natural beauty while providing a barrier of protection.

To stain an old redwood deck its important that the surface be clean of any dirt or debris. Using a pressure washer or scrub brush, apply a wood cleaner to the surface and work loose any dirt, grime, and gray wood fibers. Do not use excessive pressure or get too close to the surface if you are using a pressure washer. You will notice how the wood lightens up as you wash it. Clean the wood methodically until the wood will not lighten up anymore then move to the next section.

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The Correct Temperatures for Staining Decks

It is important to know the tolerances a new deck stain will allow without hindering its performance. One of the most crucial areas of concern is with air temperature. Temperatures need to be in the safe zone while the deck stain is being applied and for 8-12 hours after.

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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.