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.
Deck Stain Info
Should you Pre-stain New Wood Before Install? Simple answer is No.
Wood decks are a great way to add extra outdoor living space to any home. Not only do they provide a place for family get togethers, they can add value to your home. Building a new wood deck or replacing some boards on an existing deck obviously requires using new wood. As you probably know the new wood will need to be treated with a wood stain to protect it from the elements. One might tend to think that pre-staining the new wood prior to the install will save some time. Although it would seem that way it is really not a good idea to do so.
As with any wood staining project using the right tools is essential to achieving good results. There are many different types of stain applicators. Several tools can even be combined to get the desired result. Lets look at some of the more common stain applicator tools.
A basic white china bristle brush is always a good bet. A big 4 or 6 inch brush can hold a lot of stain for large areas. A brush is also good for getting into hard to reach places and for edging. Use a brush on the whole staining project or use it to cut in before tackling the larger areas.
Clear Deck Sealers and Stains for Exterior Wood
It is no secret that protecting a wood deck with a water repellent sealer is vital to its integrity and lifespan. Clear deck sealers leave the wood looking natural which may appeal to the deck owner. Without a doubt, a natural looking wood deck is a thing of beauty.
Deck sealers do give adequate water protection by locking out moisture. This is important to the wood’s lifespan. When water is absorbed into the wood it swells and when it dries up it shrinks. This continuous swelling and shrinking eventually begins to crack, split, and warp the wood. A clear wood sealer will stop this water damage from happening.
Should you use a Deck Stain or Clear Deck Sealer?
To enhance the appearance of a wood deck and protect it from the elements the wood need to be treated with a deck stain or sealer. Both deck stains and deck sealers protect against moisture and water damage but there are some differences between the two.
Deck Staining and Sealing Instructions and How To Tips for Best Results
The instructions for staining and sealing a deck will vary from product to product. It’s always best to follow the manufacturers suggested application instructions for the best results. There are however some basic tips and techniques that will aid in staining and sealing with any deck protection product.
Should I Stain All Sides of Boards or Just Exposed Sides?
A common question when it comes to staining a wood deck is whether or not you have to stain all the sides of the deck boards including underneath.
Normally a deck floor is only stained on the exposed side facing up. This helps protect the boards from UV fading and water damage. The underside of a deck obviously is not going to be subjected to any harsh UV rays but what about moisture?
Moisture and water damage can be a problem especially on the exposed side of a deck where rain constantly hits the boards and may even puddle up allowing it to be absorbed. On the underside of a deck, the boards are not being pelted with rain but they can get slightly wet during a good downpour. The problem with staining deck boards underneath is that it is almost more trouble than it is worth.
Finding the right stain for your wooden deck is the key to getting lasting results. But with so many deck stain choices it can be a daunting task to say the least. To narrow down the search for the best deck stain you first need to understand what the different types of protection are.
Without getting into oil vs. water based debate or colors, tones, and opacity levels there are basically two different types or characteristics of a deck stain – film forming and penetrating. Both of these deck stain characteristics will provide adequate protection from the sun and lock out unwanted moisture. They both can also enhance the beauty of the wood and provide general overall protection from mold and mildew, freeze/thaw damage, and heavy foot traffic.
How to Apply a Deck Stain Evenly
There are many factors to consider when applying a stain to a wooden deck. The methods can vary slightly but there are some critical steps and tips that can help in getting professional like results.
Choose Your Deck Stain Wisely
The type and brand of deck stain you use will obviously affect the outcome. Some deck stains are harder to apply while others are more user friendly and geared towards the do-it-yourselfer. By doing some research you can choose a deck stain that is easy to apply and leaves little to no overlap marks. Water based stains typically dry more quickly and leave more overlap and brush marks than a slower drying oil based deck stain that would apply more evenly.
Exterior wood and decks stains are all designed to protect and preserve your exterior wood from the elements. Decks stain brands differ though drastically in the ingredients, solids, etc. Deck stains also come in variety of types: Transparent, Semi-Transparent, and Semi-Solids that will determine the opacity of the stain when applying to the wood
In this article we will compare the deck stain brands that we have reviewed to give a better understanding of physical properties, application info, and any other useful data that can help you determine which stain to use.