If you have a wood deck then it is important that you maintain its finish and keep it clean between stainings to extend the life of the materials and reduce costly repairs. Eventually you will need to replace boards on your deck from deterioration but with proper cleaning and staining you can expect 15 to 25 years from your deck.
Cleaning Your Deck Before You Stain It
As you can imagine its always important that you clean your deck before you stain it. You want to use a power washer if you have access to one if not then use a zero degree attachment to your hose to get the most pressure out of it that you can. After the debris have been washed off and the loose stain you need to us antifungal on it such as a bleach mixture to kill all of the fungus, mold and materials growing on the wood. Finish with a rinse and then let the deck stand for a week before you continue with your prep.
Sanding And Repairing Your Deck
Any items that need to be repaired or replaced should be done at this time. If you have weak boards or ones with heavy cracks just replace them. Don’t try to extend their life with epoxy or other fillers because it normally will fail much quicker on a deck than any other surface.
Sanding should be completed with an electric sander however the screws that attach your deck to the joist may cause tares in the sand paper. Screws that have been sitting in your deck are not easily removed and probably will have rusted within the deck board so you will likely snap them off if they move at all. You probably will have to cut the board and pry it out.
Final clean with a leaf blower to remove all of the dust.
Applying Stain To Your Deck
The first warning you need to know is that deck stain will splash no matter how careful you are. You are likely to find stain four foot high on the walls around the deck and maybe runs that drip down on to another surface. Immediately cleaning these spots is important. Use the cleaner that your stain manufacturer recommends.
Now that your surface is prepared you want to start in the most distant corner away from your stairs to begin staining. A 4 inch brush will work well but you might want a small brush to get into the grooves.
Its a good idea to stain your railings first that way any drips on the decking will be covered up when you stain the deck.
I like to apply two coats at the same time especially if the wood is dry and I am doing this on a hot day. I work three boards out from the farthest wall and apply one coat to the first three boards then apply a second coat and start a new row.
Finish by doing your stairs and then any under deck wrap around. Stairs should also have a second coating.
This quick guide to staining decks is not the only resource we have you should check our other how tos for information on building decks.
As for the type or quality of stain you use that is up to you and some products will have better and longer lasting results but normally you can expect to restain your deck every 3 to 5 years.