If you have a beautiful wooden deck, you understand the maintenance that comes along with it. Beautiful decks require a little (or a lot) of TLC to keep them looking their best. Most of deck maintenance is not rocket science, but too often results in wasted efforts and wasted materials. A great looking deck doesn’t come easily, wait until you are in a patient mood to do it right, and you will love your results.
Here are common mistakes that can actually ruin an otherwise perfectly good deck.
Too lazy to clean.
Staining the deck is a big job, but don’t try to make it easier by skipping the cleaning part. Invest in purchasing or renting a pressure washer first. You must wash AND sand before applying anything. No if’s and’s or but’s about it.
More is better.
The truth is, more is just wasted product. Most deck stains are designed as a single-coat system that penetrates the wood. Extra coats do nothing except sit on the previously coated surface and then eventually drying, flaking, and peeling away.
Doing it all in one weekend.
If you’re staining your deck properly, you can’t do it in one weekend. After pressure washing (essential step 1), you have to let the deck dry COMPLETELY. This usually takes at least a week or so.
Staining a deck in the middle of the day is a bad idea. Not only is it uncomfortable and exhausting to work in the heat of the day, but the paint also dries too quickly and won’t absorb properly into the wood. Start early in the morning and quit before noon.
Staining a new deck.
New decks act differently than old ones (just like teenagers act differently than grandparents). Give new wood at least six months before staining. This allows the wood to season and release some moisture. Otherwise it won’t accept the stain well. On the other hand, older decks will need a through cleaning and sanding. I would pressure wash them for a quick job, if it’s really in bad shape.
Working too fast.
Generally, we applaud hard work, but trying to reach top speed while staining will likely lead to lap marks on the wood. Instead of a sprint, see a deck stain as a marathon, methodic and evenly paced along each board. Work slowly and work the paintbrush back and forth until it gradually runs out of stain, keeping the lap marks wet so you can blend in along the way.
Having a beautifully finished deck is something you can enjoy all year long. Take the time to do this project right so you don’t waste more time fixing mistakes. If you have help, gather a crew and finish the job in less time without sacrificing quality of work.