The Key To A Beautiful Deck

Most of us will agree that the key to a great looking deck is to keep it maintained.  That may mean staining it every couple of years.  Most people can handle the process by themselves, but have a hard time finding the time, the right approach and the right products.  There are ways to get things done in a day and spend the rest of the year enjoying the beauty of your deck. By perfecting your process, you can take staining from something that you dread to a simple one-day process. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting your deck looking good in a day:

  • The first thing to do is choose the look you want to project on your deck. Do you want your finish to be a clear, semi-transparent or solid?  Research the types of stains that might best suit your deck. Clear finish generally looks better on newer wood, hide imperfections on older decks by choosing a solid finish.

  • Before heading off to the store to buy stain, make sure you know your deck's square footage. Because nothing is more frustrating than having to stop your project because you ran out of stain, make sure you have the exact amount calculated.

  • Make sure to make repairs to your deck prior to staining. If your deck is squeaky, it's likely due to loose nails. Replace loose or missing nails with deck screws, as hammering a nail into the same spot won't fix the problem.

  • Check the weather report before you plan you staining day. Temperatures should range between 50 and 90 F, and there should be at least a minimum 48 hours without a threat of rain.

  • Remove everything from your deck and use a wood cleaner to clean and prepare your surface. Decks that are in good condition can simply be cleaned before staining. But if your deck is peeling, has mildew growth or experiencing other surface irregularities, it's best to strip it before staining.

  • Do a thorough job, take your time and do it right. 

Make sure you use only as much stain as the directions call for. Using too much can ruin the look of your deck, especially when working with oil products. Larger decks, or decks that pose unique challenges such as numerous hard-to-reach areas may take longer than a day.  Following these steps, you'll ensure that your deck will be looking great in less time and with less hassle.

Make sure you properly dispose of any extra stain or cleaner as directed by the instructions on the can.  Let the deck dry for the prescribed amount of time before walking or placing items on it. I know it can be hard to wait, but in no time you'll be enjoying your deck for the seasons to come.