This is part of our “Common Problems/ Better Solutions Series featured at PaintSource.net.
Please pass this article to anyone you know who is about to stain or paint a wooden deck. You may be ready to stain your own deck. It may be your neighbor. It may be a contractor you are hiring to stain your deck. Why should you care what you, your contractor, or your neighbor uses on his deck? Consider this: The average deck stain available at Home Depot, Lowes, and the national chains last about 1-2 years on most decks. Then you or your neighbor get out the deck stripping and cleaning chemicals that will be rinsed into the ground in your neighborhood. Then they might use a gasoline powered pressure washer to rinse, destroying the peace and quiet of the only Saturday you have had off in weeks. Finish off the day with the noise of a sander, then multiply that by all the decks in your neighborhood, and you have a bunch of pollution and noise on a regular basis. These problems that can be eliminated by using proven solutions featured at the PaintSource Network.
We know what works, and we know what doesn’t from over 20 years experience in wood care. We have used and tested countless wood coatings, and only a few products available really last. It seems to be a race among some retailers as to who can sell the cheapest per gallon price. Homeowners bear the brunt of these choices in disappointing results, and costly frequent maintenance. Before choosing a wood care product, ask how often it requires re-coating, and what chemicals are involved in the process.
You should consider kiln dried wood, or be sure to dry treated wood for 30 days before you build your deck. Why would we build a deck with wet wood, knowing it wants to warp and twist, and split, as it rapidly and uncontrollably dries out once you unbundle it? Read More. Simply order your wood a couple of months before you plan to build your deck. Have it unbundled and re-stacked, allowing air movement between the boards. Use thin wood strips or rack wood, and cover from the sun, best indoors if space allows. Wood can be slowly dried (sometimes with dehumidifier) and is usually dry in about 30 days.
The bottom side of the board should be sealed before installation.Backside coating is an important step to get a good looking, low maintenance, low cost deck care solution. If wood is near the ground, and the sun beats down on the top surface, moisture is drawn from the cool ground underneath up through the bottom side of the boards. This causes expansion and contraction of the wood, leads to cupping of the boards, and greatly reduces the long-term performance of any coating. Even elevated decks will absorb moisture through the uncoated backside, even if the lumber is “pressure-treated”.
For new wood, we have found One TIME Wood Protector, or Structures BaseCoat can be applied on new wood dried about 30 days, sometimes sooner. Many Stains and wood coatings fail due to original application on wood that is either too wet, or wood that is too polished from the milling process. We like the ability to coat the topside quickly after building the deck to prevent UV damage. Smooth Cedar and Redwood should be weathered a bit before applying sealer.
If you are building a new deck, get your wood dry before you build, prepare the wood , sand it if it is slick or mil-glazed, choose a proven solution, coat bottom and saw-cuts, install wood, coat the top, and maintain as directed.