Staining a Deck 101

Jun 17, 2015

Inspect Your Deck

One of the first things you need to do when refinishing your deck is an inspection looking for any loose boards, cracks or structural component problems such as rotting or severely split wood. If you need to replace any of the boards make sure to pick the same type of wood you used to build the deck.

Clean Your Decking Area

Do not skip this step thinking that you are saving time.  The last thing that you want to happen when you are investing time and money into restoring your deck is to inhibit the staining process. Take steps to remove embedded dirt, fungus and stains.  Power washing is a great way to get all of the foreign elements off your deck. Keep in mind that power washing your deck will either quickly deep clean it or quickly ruin your deck. Using a power washer can gouge your wood decking if you are not careful. Be sure to try and use as low a pressure as possible while still being effective. For soft wood like cedar or pine you should be at about 500 to 600 psi and for harder woods you may go higher but not more than 1200-1500 psi. You need your deck to be dry in order to apply the stain correctly so wait about three days for it to completely dry out.

Sanding the Rough Surface

After your deck is dry you might notice wood fibers which could cause splinters. You can easily accomplish sanding your deck by using an orbital sander. Make sure to do your homework on what grit of sandpaper to use. If you are using a fine grit it might restrict the stain from penetrating and soaking into the wood properly.

Choosing the Right Type of Stain 

One of the most important decisions you will make when refinishing your deck is your choice of stain. If you make your decision based on price you might end up being disappointed with the labor you have invested in your project only to find out that your deck will require rework much sooner than anticipated. There are four types of stain out on the market to choose. They are:

  • Clear stain – has the shortest lifespan of the three stain categories and will allow the grain and texture of the wood on your deck to be totally visible. Clear sealers do not have any pigment in them so you will need to add extra protection. Pigment in stain is what protects your deck from UV rays and helps prevent graying. Clear sealers can dissipate in just a few short months causing you to refinish your deck more often.
  • UV Resistant Clear Wood Finish – container UV blocking chemicals that provide protection from the sun and also offers waterproofing capabilities. This is still considered a clear deck stain, but it will last 2-3 times longer than most regular clear stains. A UV resistant clear stain will need to be reapplied to your deck about every 1 to 2 years.
  • Opaque stain – provide very little of the grain and texture of your wood to show through. Using a product such as this has a downside and the stain most likely will peel away. This product would be considered more like paint. The upside is that this type of stain only requires refinishing about every 3 to 4 years.
  • Semi-transparent stain – This type of stain will give a tint to your wood but still allow you to see the natural grain and texture. It is most appealing to people due to the fact that it allows the natural of the beauty of the wood to shine through. Semi-transparent stain has the lowest maintenance of all four types only requiring reapplication every 3 to 5 years. Penofin® Verde staining products are the first of its kind and are 100% sustainable with no heavy metal compounds, odors and is a petroleum free oil finish. This product is most appealing because of its safety for use around children and animals. Verde uses green technology and materials which are made from sustainable plant based ingredients. This product exceeds all air quality standards and meets LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) criteria for Green Building. It will dry to the touch within four hours and the finish provides 99% UV protection to your decking area. Penofin® Verde uses the highest quality Brazilian Rosewood and other natural oils combined with select vegetable ester solvents and VOC pigments which results in a finish that is a durable as it is esthetically appealing. If you are considering refinishing your deck for the summer this would be the product to use. You are going to get the best bang for your buck and also know that you are doing your part in the green movement.