Imagine having guests over for a bbq in your perfectly manicured backyard, but they glance down to find your deck splintering and turning grey. Realistically, your deck probably doesn’t look that bad, but I wanted to provide a few general tips to help make sure that doesn’t happen.
- Keep it clean. Stains last longer if you sweep off dirt, leaves, pollen etc. Try to do this every week or two.
- Most decks need a maintenance coat of finish every year or two. High traffic areas may need it more often than that. More color in the stain or finish means it’ll last longer.
- You should do a full stripping of the finish and reapply every 4-6 years.
What goes into stripping a deck you ask?
- Get a hold of a power washer (you can rent these). Power washing your deck will allow you to get off all of the old finish and dirt clinging to the wood.
- Apply the stripper with a brush.
- Use the power washer to hose down any remaining finish taken off by the stripper.
- Next you should use a deck cleaner. Wet the deck with water and then apply the cleaner with a long handled brush or roller, leaving it on for up to ten minutes (follow instructions on your cleaner). You can spray this off and let it dry.
- Now use a sander to take down any rough spots that have developed. I’d HIGHLY recommend a power sander, which can also be rented.
Now it’s time to stain. You’ll want to us a brush, roller or a sprayer depending on your workload. Check your color choice on the underside or a scrap piece of wood before starting. We don’t want any surprises. Wait for a day that isn’t too hot, but dry outside. Stain in small sections and apply in the grain direction. Remember not to stop for breaks and let the stain dry – make sure to stain the entire deck so you won’t have a line.
Many products are designed for one coat, but read the directions to double check.