Cleaning & Staining Your Timber Deck
Stained Decks are one of the more popular additions to any outdoor living space and if maintained properly can last for many years. Whether you have a newly built deck or an existing one that is beginning to look faded, it is possible to preserve and restore a deck’s natural beauty. As with any home improvement or landscaping project, good planning and preparation key to the job’s success. Very detailed instructions that are well worth reading.
Stained Decks are one of the more popular additions to any outdoor living space and if maintained properly can last for many years. Whether you have a newly built deck or an existing one that is beginning to look faded, it is possible to preserve and restore a deck’s natural beauty. As with any home improvement or landscaping project, good planning and preparation key to the job’s success.
Waiting for the Weather
Deck staining results are best when the deck has been thoroughly cleaned and given at least 48 hours to dry. In addition, the treated deck should be kept dry for at least 48 hours after staining. If you use a separate sealer and stain then you will need to repeat this process every year, so choose a typically dry period. In general, it is a good idea to avoid any extreme weather conditions.
Do You Require Sealer And Stain?
Sealer and stain can usually be found at any reputable gardening, landscaping, or hardware store. The majority of deck stains that can be purchased are, in fact, a combination of stain and sealer. This means that they can be applied with a single coat and in a single step. However, this may not be the case with all types of stain. Always ensure what type of stain/sealer you have chosen and to read all manufacturers instructions before beginning your work. If the stain you choose does not include a sealer as well, you will need to purchase and apply one separately.
New Wood Treatment
Newly Finished DeckThe single most effective treatment for a new deck is the application of a specialist new-wood treatment. This specifically formulated chemical will help to protect your deck over its’ life, and enhances the decks appearance more than just cleaning and staining alone. It’s one of the most effective ways to protect your new feature from the elements and the surrounding landscape. If you do use a new-wood treatment, you should allow approximately 6 months before staining and sealing while the product cures.
The Best Stain for the Job
There are four main types of stain. The type you should select will depend on the desired look of the deck, the material used, and the level of protection required.
Clear water repellent stains provide a very basic level of protection for a period ranging from 6 months to 2 years. Waterproofing and very basic UV protection may also be combined with some mildew protection. This stain gives the most natural look to your deck because it is essentially clear and can really show off a wood’s grain.
Colored water repellent is similar to the clear repellent except that it is lightly tinted. The mild coloring provides some extra protection against the sun’s rays and can mask some minor damage. However, the life of this stain is about the same of clear water repellent.
Semi-transparent stains are the next step up from colored water repellent products. The additional tinting provides extra protection against UV rays and lasting water proofing for a period of around 3 years. This durable stain needs to be matched according to the material and color of your deck to ensure you get the appropriate finish.
Solid stain is essentially a paint based product. Very little texture of the deck wood will show through, but the extra color pigment added to the stain means that you should not need to repeat the staining process for at least another 5 years. Solid stain is the longest lived of all outdoor wood stains.
Tools and Materials
* Paint Tarp
* Old Blanket or Cloth
* Sprayer, Paint Roller, or Broom
* Safety Clothing and Equipment
* Sealer or Stain
* Deck Cleaner or New Wood Treatment
* Mineral Spirits
* Power Washer
As with any landscaping project safety is of the utmost importance. Stains and sealers can be highly flammable and are typically an irritant to the eyes and skin. If you have pets or small children then extra vigilance is required to ensure project safety.
Always wear goggles and gloves suitable for landscaping projects, as well as long sleeved shirts and pants. This prevents contact with the stain and ensures that you don’t endure the arduous task of removing stain from your skin.
Protecting the Area
It is important to protect all deck furniture as well as any structures and surrounding landscaping. Deck stain will permanently stain most objects and can kill or damage any garden plants it may come in contact with.
* Remove all furniture and other objects from the deck.
* Tape up windows and the bottom of any structures that are in the vicinity of the deck using tape and newspaper.
* Cover surrounding plants with old cloths (not clear plastic, because the sun beating through clear plastic is likely to create a greenhouse effect, scorching and killing the plants)
Cleaning and Preparing the Deck
Before applying any landscaping stain or sealer you must thoroughly clean the deck. Different cleaners have different requirements. Concentrated cleaner should be mixed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, and some may require a dry surface while others require a damp surface. Ensure you follow the instructions and guidelines closely to obtain the best results.
* Prepare the decking by sanding any splinters and repairing any general damage.
* Secure any boards that have loose nails before sweeping off dust and debris.
* Water and cover plants with cloth.
* Evenly apply the cleaner to the entire deck. This can be done using a broom, sprayer, or paint roller.
* If any puddles form, back roll the deck to even out the solution.
* Ensure that all of the deck is wet with cleaner while paying extra attention to particularly dirty areas.
* Allow the cleaner to soak into the wood according to the manufacturer’s guidelines (typically ten to fifteen minutes).
* Rinse thoroughly using a hose, ensuring that you rinse off all remaining cleaner.
The cleaning process should be relatively quick, depending on the deck’s condition. Once completed, you can rinse and remove the cloth covering your plants. You will need to wait at least a day or two until the deck is completely dry before beginning the staining process.
Staining the Deck
* Re-cover all plants with cloth and sweep off any debris that may have collected since cleaning.
* Stir the sealer or stain.
* Apply a thin coat of stain to a relatively small section of deck, approximately 3 boards.
* Back roll any puddles that form to prevent an uneven finish from forming.
* Repeat this process until the deck is completely stained.
* Use a paintbrush or sponge to stain difficult areas such as railings.
* Apply a second coat, if required.
* Allow stain to dry and set. Typically this will take around 24 hours.
* Rinse and remove all cloths and taped areas.
Regular Deck Maintenance
Depending on the type of sealer or stain that you use it will be necessary to regularly repeat this process. In order to check whether the sealer is still repelling water, sprinkle a few drops of water onto the decking every few months. If the water soaks in immediately, then you should apply sealer. However, if the drops sit on the surface of the decking then it should not require more sealer at that time.