Deck Maintenance - Inspecting and Staining a Wood Deck
A deck that is properly sealed and stained can add value to your home as well as create a beautiful outdoor living space. Before you start staining, it's important to make sure the deck is structurally sound. There are three areas of your deck that should be checked. First, make sure the footings have not shifted or settled. If they have, they might not be inserted deeply enough in the ground and may need to be replaced. Second, make sure the structure is adequate. Check along joints and gapping between boards for loose or shifted boards. Repair any areas that have shifted and re-fasten loose boards. Third, check the integrity of the wood. If a screwdriver penetrates the wood, it is rotting and must be replaced. Once you've inspected the deck and repaired any problems, you can move on to staining the wood to bring back or enhance the wood's original beauty.
Staining a deck is a simple two-step process that will update the look of the deck and preserve the wood for years to come.
Step 1: Prepare and Restore
Restoration of weathered wood involves either cleaning or stripping the surface. If wood is uncoated, it needs to be cleaned thoroughly with a product specifically formulated to gently remove the aged top surface layer. This process will rid the surface of its grayed appearance, ground-in dirt, stains, and fungi growth including mildew, mold and algae. Power washing alone requires greater water pressure to dislodge dirt and mildew, which can cause unnecessary damage to the wood surface. If wood has been previously coated with a pigmented finish or stain and the color is still intact and visible, stripping the old coating may be required.
Step 2: Beautify and Protect
Without protection, wood that is exposed to outdoor weather will eventually split, warp, rot and decay from water absorption and mildew attack, and gray from UV sun exposure. To stop this degradation, apply a protective coating fortified with water repellency and UV resistance. Non-pressure-treated wood is also vulnerable to rot and decay from fungus and insect attack, but can be protected with a wood preservative. Once coated, the wood will better withstand the elements, look beautiful, and give you many seasons of outdoor living pleasure.
- The species, texture and porosity of the wood can affect the color of the stain. Do a sample brush-out in an inconspicuous area to make sure you'll get the color you expect.
- Pigmentation can vary slightly between batches of stain. Always purchase sufficient stain to complete your entire project at one time and make sure all containers have the same batch number. If you find that you have purchased containers with different batch numbers, mix the containers together before you start staining. This will ensure a uniform color appearance.
For more information, visit the color centers and information kiosks in the Wallcoverings Department of your local Menards®!