If you are a homeowner and have a wooden deck then you know what a rewarding investment it is, especially after a nice deck staining. It’s the perfect place to relax and entertain guests, it increases your property value, and it makes your home a lot more attractive overall. To keep your veranda looking impressive, you need to ensure that it is maintained using the best deck staining and deck cleaning practices.
Deck Staining Steps
In this blog, we walk you through the steps of wooden deck staining and answer all your questions about what, how, when, and why to seal your deck for a pristine finish. Here are just some of the top queries we clarify:
- What is the best method to stain a deck without damaging the wood?
- Is it better to stain or paint a deck?
- How to clean a deck before staining
- What is the best time to stain a deck?
- What are the best products for deck staining?
- How often do you have to seal a deck?
- Why you should not power wash a wooden deck?
It’s important that you maintain your deck with great care because an improperly stained and sealed deck will only cost you more to fix and redo next time. Neglected decks deteriorate at a faster rate, so it only makes sense to maintain it properly and make it look great while preserving it for the years to come.
Contact the Professionals
Why wait until your porch deck loses its natural color, or begins to decay and fall apart when treating it promptly can eliminate these problems? Carlton Cleans has the experience and insight for the best deck maintenance practices to guarantee maximum appeal and safety of your terrace or porch for years to come. Read on if you want to learn more, or contact us for more specific answers.
Best Time to Stain a Deck
Finding the best time to stain a deck is like selling stocks, and not just because they start with an “s”. Both of them require good timing. With bad timing, you could be better off throwing your money into a wishing-well and hoping for a pretty deck. Most people also have the theory that staining is something that can be done year-round. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The most important thing you need to know about deck staining is that timing matters. Timing is key in terms of weather circumstances. Those of you in a hot southern state such as Florida are most likely warm year round. If you wanted to, you could stain year-round. Your weather is more or less the same. As long as it isn’t raining you can stain. For the rest of us, don’t choose the best weather for outdoor activities because not the best choice of weather conditions.
What Season is the Best Time to Stain a Deck?
What is the best time to stain a deck? Staining is really best done in the fall season because the weather is perfect for most places. If your weather is inconsistent with what we consider “fall time”, then pick the time of the year that more suits your area’s fall. For example, living in a snowy mountainous region wouldn’t be suitable for a deck staining in the Fall. Tt’s probably going to continue snowing significantly more now than if you did it in the summer time. Actually, if you live in a snowy mountain, it would be better to get a screened in porch than a deck… at the very least get a roof for your deck. For the rest of us, spring and summer time is the worst time to do this. Spring time is supposed to be when the rain comes through and the flowers bloom. The only piece we care about is the rain (not to be anti-flowers here). Rain means moisture, and moisture means a ruined deck. Even without the rain, the humidity alone has the potential to ruin your stain. Woods soak in a lot of moistures, making this the opposite of the best time to stain a deck.
The Drier the Better
I know what you’re thinking: “but it’s so cold the rest of the year!” I feel your pain, but as it turns out, September is not too cold for us, but just dry enough to be the best time to stain a deck properly. Really any time between August and October is an ideal time for staining your deck. If you know it’s going to rain this weekend, wait until a dry weekend rolls through (or the driest time for those that can’t escape the wrath of Mother Nature). Depending on your location, the time of year may change slightly. Not to sound like the fine print of a commercial, but for best results choose the driest time of year for your area.
Deck Down Time
Now that you’ve decided when to stain a deck, you want to know how long for stain to dry. You’re in luck! It’s about a day or two, depending on your weather. After the stain/sealant has dried, it’s time to enjoy your new gray deck! Wait, why is my deck gray? To prevent graying (which comes from the Sun shining on a deck without UV protection), use a sealant that has color and UV protection to keep your deck and home exterior looking it’s best. Without UV protection you will notice graying within 3 months of sealing. Finally, when is it time to re-stain? Unfortunately stain doesn’t last a lifetime. You can expect to re-stain your deck every couple of years.
Seek a Professional
There are a lot of things to know when it comes to deck cleaning, staining, and sealing. For this reason, you could save yourself the hassle of Googling the whole weekend. We both know what really happens when you plan on doing home improvement: you look forward to it, prepare for it, and then realize you don’t know how to do it. It is highly recommended, as with all home improvements, to consult or hire a professional. In this case, a local deck repair, deck sealing, or deck staining company would know about what, when, and how to seal a deck. After all, they live in the area and probably have a bit more experience in the field.
Carlton Cleans provides deck refinishing service with out damaging the wood from high water pressure with our scrub brush cleaning process. We tighten loose boards observed during the cleaning phase, hammer in popped nails, or replace with screws if a 1/2 inch or more is sticking out of the wood and hand apply Armstrong Clark stain or Sherwin Williams Deckscape, depending on the situation. We provide board replacement services and prior finish stripping and sanding. See the picture below of a Gaithersburg deck recently refinished. The deck is approximately 15 yrs old and had several coats of poor quality finishes. We cleaned the deck, replaced some boards, and hand applied the stain using Armstrong Clark Cedar Semitransparent.
Restore a Deck
When to Restore a Deck
Over time we gradually adapt to changes. In the case of wood decks, its color, strength, and overall appeal starts to fade. Most people become oblivious to it, until friends and family are coming over. If not cared for properly wood can fade and weaken over time. Actually, if a deck is installed without staining and sealing it, you will notice a significant difference within the first month or two! If you have a deck stained and sealed from the start, you will notice a drop in quality in about a year. People begin wondering at this point on how to restore a deck to like-new condition.
Hire a Professional
Making a deck look like new again can greatly improve the image of a house. If someone is planning on increasing their home’s value a little bit, this is a great ice-breaker. Most people love when a new home has a deck. Don’t turn them off with a run-down version of it! To get the most out of a restoration, it’s a great idea to hire a professional. A decking contractor has experience and knowledge of how to keep a deck in its prime-time the longest. This way you don’t have to perform this process more times than necessary.
Steps to Restore a Deck
Step 1 – Scrubbing the Deck
The first step of restoring a deck is to prepare it for staining. Before any staining, the deck should be scrubbed clean. If the deck still has stain on it, it must be removed. We will often use a stain stripper for removing the stain. After the deck has been cleared of any staining and has been cleaned, it’s time to stain and seal the deck.
Step 2 – Staining the Deck
After scrubbing, decks commonly look pretty naked. We need to cover it up with some nice deck staining and a sealant. Choosing a stain color is up to the homeowner, but Redwood has always been a very popular color. Deck staining is a great way to protect a deck from Mother Nature and general wear and tear of use. After you stain your deck, it’s time to seal it. A deck sealant is the best way to protect a deck from water damage. Choose the driest time of year in your area to do this part. We do not want a deck to be ruined because it rained before the deck finishes drying.
Step 3 – Enjoying Your Restored Deck
When all is said and done, we’re left with a beautiful new deck that draws attention. The deck becomes the centerpiece of conversations. Now all that’s left is to grab some furniture and use it at will. Now that’s how you restore a deck!
The winter was mild and March has been cold and windy with a slow start for pressure washing and exterior restoration companies. At Carlton Cleans we have been servicing prior customers this March when weather permitted. The picture is of a no pressure washer cleaning and recoat with Cabot ATO on IPE and Cedar. Both woods are good quality and contribute to residential curb appeal when maintained properly. The stained woods look nice in the snow.
Algae and mold will grow on a hard wood deck like any other surface around the exterior of your home when the environment is moist, warm and shady. When your hard wood deck is covered in algae or mold it gets slippery and unsafe. Carlton Cleans, LLC provides a scrub brush cleaning service followed by wood brightener on hard wood decks such as IPE. We do no use a pressure washer in cleaning hard wood decks. We will remove the unwanted organics restoring the wood to a clean natural state.
The service will not restore the wood to the deep wonderful color you saw when the wood was new. The surface color will still be changed from the sun and general out door environment but the algae and mold (green/black) will be removed. The deep colors you saw when the hard wood was new will come out when the wood is wet (after a rain but disappears when its dry) or when a translucent oil is applied. The oil will bring the color back full time for a few months, maybe up to 6 months if the wood is well seasoned. Due to the density of hard wood oil will not penetrate deep thus the short oiled life.
We recommend having regular cleanings to keep the deck safe and beautiful. Continual oiling exterior hard wood is not cost effective, however, if you are have many special occasions during the spring or summer than getting an oil treatment that year may be worth the expense. The pictures will look great on an oiled hard wood deck.
Pressure washing and power washing have been the main method of cleaning decks.
The cleaning typically was done prior to staining or
painting to remove dirt, molds, algae and fungus. As professionals
began to specialize in deck cleaning chemicals were added to the
process for a more uniform level of cleaning and to allow the use of
low water pressure rinsing (less wood fiber damage). This process
is done by typically wetting down the deck to prevent the cleaner from
drying to fast than apply the cleaning mix, dwell and rinse. Dwell
time is important. The process is than finalized by spraying the deck
with a wood brightener to balance the ph for preparation of a finish.
This is the main method of professional deck cleaning.
At Carlton Cleans we changed the process by removing the
pressure washer from the process. The main reason we removed the use
of a pressure washer is even at low pressure with the use of chemical
cleaners minor damage to wood fibers can still occur and the chemical
strength generally has to be on the strong side to be effective.
Carlton Cleans uses scrub brushing in the place of a pressure washer.
We use a low pressure chemical sprayer to apply our deck cleaning mix
and hand scrub the entire deck. The process is finalized by applying
a wood brightener. The lower chemical ratio is better for the
environment and the technicians doing the work and still effective
because of the scrub brushing process. The scrub brushing is gentle
on the wood and is a very effective cleaning method. Of course the
process of scrub brushing is more time consuming than pressure
washing and high chemical ratio use. Carlton Cleans also applies all finishes by hand.
Cabot ATO is a fast drying oil that will flash easily including on soft woods. Flashing is when the stain dries creating a shining finish prior to all the stain penetrating into the deck. Always take clean rags and wipe the entire deck to remove non-penetrated stain after the deck is stained prior to finishing for the day. If the deck is large you may need to do this in stages. Carlton Cleans prefers to use conditioning oil stains like Armstrong Clark which will not flash and will penetrate completely into the deck even if it takes a few hrs. On hard wood decks Cabot is a fine choice but stills need to be ragged the same day as application. If Armstrong Clark is used on hard wood decks come back the next morning and rag the excess stain. Call Carlton Cleans for quality deck refinishing at 301-904-4446.
Carlton Cleans refinishes old peeling acrylic stains or paints. Carlton Cleans starts the prep process by brushing the deck with Safe Wash using elbow grease. After the deck is cleaned it is rinsed with a pressure washer. The deck is allowed to dry for at least 2 days than peeling acrylic pieces are scraped and in some cases feather with a sander. The dust is blown from the deck and repainting begins. All painting is done by hand using brush and rollers.
The wood deck, especially made from fabricated or composite wood, is an affordable option for homeowners. Wood planks or beams are used to construct walkways, stairways, and wraparound porches for houses built above the ground. For example, wood decking can provide a wraparound porch to cover the crawl space under the house.
According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a wood deck should have a life expectancy of about 20 years. For wood decks located in dry areas, the lifetime of the wood deck may extend up to 25 years. In southern climates, the lifetime of the wood deck is considerably shorter (10 to 15 years). In the North, the lifetime of the wood deck is 20 to 30 years. If your home is located in Maryland or Virginia, therefore you should expect a life expectancy somewhere between 10 years and 20 years, but it will depend on the amount of humidity in your local climate.
Your wood deck’s long-term sustainability also has to do with the quality of the manufacturing process that was used to prepare the wood materials for the deck.
When you consider deck restoration, you may not feel qualified to estimate the condition of the wood deck. How many years of use have you gotten out of it? How much time have you spent cleaning, sealing, and restoring the deck to its original condition? Especially if you have taken over a home without this information, you can benefit from consulting a deck restoration expert. Your well-qualified Virginia deck restoration or Maryland deck restoration expert will provide an estimate so you know exactly what you will have to pay before agreeing to the job.