How Often Should I Stain My Deck?

8-3-2022
By Jane Malham
Staining Deck Every Year

Deck maintenance is an important home upkeep task. A well-maintained deck not only looks great, it lasts longer, too. Decks should be refinished every two to three years.

Deck maintenance, and when you should do it, depends on variables such as the type of deck material, the current condition of the wood, and more.

One thing’s for sure, whether you’re firing up the grill, hosting a party or just reading a book, you deserve a great deck! Allow the experts at NorthCraft to help you establish a deck maintenance plan for a great looking finish and a deck that lasts years.

When to Stain a New Deck

New wooden decks should always receive a coat of paint or stain. Generally, all new decks should dry out for at least 30 days before stain or paint is applied. Although a finish can be applied immediately after construction, more work is involved, so it’s best to let the wood fully dry before finishing.

These are general guidelines; the timeline will depend on your climate – wood in a dry, arid climate, for example, will cure faster than wood in a moist, humid climate.

Pressure-treated wood

Pressure-treated wood should be allowed to dry for at least six months before stain or any wood treatment is applied. A good test is to pour water on the boards. If it beads up, it’s still too wet. If the water soaks in, it’s ready for stain.

Kiln-dried wood

Most wood you buy at a hardware store is kiln-dried. You should allow this wood to dry for at least one to two months before staining or painting.

Green wood

Wood that is freshly cut is called green wood. Not to be confused with green treated lumber, which is wood that has been given an anti-rot treatment. While it’s not the best material to work with since it can warp and crack as it dries, some still use it due to availability. Green wood should be given at least one year per inch of thickness to dry, and more if possible.

When it’s finally time to stain the deck, do you want it to look like new before you begin? You can remove the grey color with a light pressure washing, scrubbing and a good wood cleaner.

How Often Should I Paint My Deck?

You should paint your deck as soon as it shows signs of peeling, bubbling, or flaking. However, while paint is great for finishing walls and vertical surfaces, we don’t recommend it for decks.

No matter how well-cured the wood is, the wood will shrink and expand at different rates. The paint on the wood can’t always keep up with this process, which is why it often peels off easier than stain.

The horizontal surfaces on decks are exposed to the elements and endure a lot of wear and tear, which is another reason why paint makes a poor deck finish. If your deck has already been painted, yearly maintenance should include lightly sanding the surface and applying a fresh coat of paint to any area where it begins to peel.

Staining Older Decks

Many clients wonder, “How often should I stain my deck?” To keep a deck looking great and prolong the life of the wood, a deck should be stained every two to three years. Other signs your deck needs staining are that; The deck has mold or mildew buildup. Water soaks into the deck boards and no longer beads up. The stain color is wearing off.

It’s difficult to achieve a uniform color and look on the entire deck if all the wood isn’t stained at the same time. If the stain is wearing faster in particular areas, the entire deck should be restained. But for some clients, the color difference is subtle or it doesn’t bother them. If this is the case, you may be able to stain the horizontal surfaces, which typically show wear the soonest. Choose an stain to penetrate the wood and aid in repelling water.

Deck Maintenance and Staining

Staining or maintaining a deck may seem like an easy weekend project, but it can be more complicated and time-consuming than you imagine. Although it can be done in a few days, staining a deck requires the proper cleaning, tools, preparation, and application processes to ensure a smooth and uniform finish. This will ensure that the stain lasts and that you won’t have to re-stain the deck in a year. Don’t take shortcuts or rush the prep work.

If you want your deck to look great and enjoy the peace of mind that the stain will last, give NorthCraft a call. Our pressure washing services will prep the wood to ensure it’s clean.

Call (630) 523-3045 or schedule a free estimate online and restore the look of your deck today.

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