Your deck’s finish takes quite a beating from different elements, whether it’s pounding rain, piles of snow or foot traffic. Over time, the protective qualities of your deck stain tend to reduce, and this often manifests itself through discolorations, wood splinters, and inability to repel water. Poor quality stains will often start failing after a year, but the best brands can last up to five years before requiring refinishing.
There’re many different types of stains in the market, from oil-based and alcohol-based to solid and transparent stains. If you have an aging deck that is showing sign of splintered wood, a solid stain might help hold the splinters in place and fill in the cracks. After assessing your deck, here are the five steps you need to properly apply stain to your wooden deck.
- When to Stain
Just like paint, the stain won’t adhere well to damp surfaces. It will often show signs of cracking and peeling a few months after application. Consider staining at a time when it hasn’t rained for several days. The forecast should preferably be indicating at least two days of dry weather ahead. While at it, avoid staining in direct sunlight as the stain will dry too fast before it gets a chance to be absorbed.
- Prep the Surface
Before you even open that stain can, make sure that the surface to be stained is free of dirt, grime and stains in order for the stain to be absorbed properly. Start by sanding the splintered spots, sweeping the debris and cleaning in between the boards using a putty knife. You can clean the wood by applying a deck cleaner or using a pressure washer. If you choose to pressure wash, give the deck up to two days to completely dry before painting.
- Choose your Brushes Wisely
When it comes to staining, most pros prefer using synthetic brushes, especially when dealing with water-based stains. Natural bristles tend to be hollow and as they absorb more water from the stain, they become less rigid. If you choose to use a roller, favor the one with a ¼ inch nap or shorter as it will allow you to apply thinner layers of the stain and minimize pooling.
- Choose the Right Stain
As earlier mentioned, there’re many types of stains to choose from, and each has its own pros and cons. If you have previously applied a solid stain, a transparent or semi-transparent stain won’t be one of your best options. Solid stains plug up the wood pores and prevent a clear or semi-transparent stain from soaking into the wood. You can, however, use a solid stain on any type of previously stained deck surface.
- Apply Thin Coats
The one thing with stain application is that more is not always better. But before you even start applying the stain, mix all the gallons of the stain together to achieve some color consistency. Then when applying, use long, smooth strokes to stain an area of 1.5 to 2 feet at once.
For solid stains, apply in thin coats and even thinner coats for clear or semitransparent stains. Applying thick layers of stain or too much of it will lead to the formation of poodles which later leads to stain flaking once the stain is dry. So instead of one thick coat, you should preferably apply two thin coats for better uniformity and durability.
Deck staining is not as difficult as you might imagine if you follow the above simple steps. However, if you don’t have any prior training and experience in wooden deck refinishing, you might end up making costly mistakes. In such a case, consider hiring a professional painting and deck refinishing company such as Eason Painting for quality and durable results.