Wooden decks are ideal for Amador County homeowners looking for a more authentic look and feel, but in order to preserve their grain, color, and longevity, they will need regular and proper maintenance. Decks are exposed to a wide range of harsh climatic conditions that include direct sunlight, ice, rain, snow, and sleet. It’s important to always be on the lookout for damages that might be caused by these elements.

Wooden decks should be cleaned and stained once in a year to keep them looking great and long-lasting. However, you will need to do the right preparation and application procedures when staining in order to achieve the look and the maximum protection that you desire.

Importance of Surface Preparation before Deck Staining

Surface preparation is the most important step when it comes to deck staining. The wood must be cleaned thoroughly before staining irrespective of whether it is brand new or it is an older deck that you want to re-stain. If the surface is not properly cleaned, wood stains may not penetrate into the wood surface properly.

For older wooden decks, any dirt, mildew or graying caused by exposure to the sun should be removed before staining. If your deck is more than five years old and has had some other products applied to it, you will need to thoroughly clean it with a deck stain and sealer remover to get rid of these old products before staining.

A buildup of old stains can make the deck staining procedure a little tougher. A stain stripper can be used to remove even the most weathered stains in no time. Before getting started with the staining procedure, access the surfaces you intend to stain so that you can know what you are dealing with.

Deck Staining Surface Preparation Steps

There are four main surface preparation steps that you will have to consider before staining. These include the following:
– Cleaning
– Sanding
– Grinding
– Priming

  1. Cleaning
    A deck scrub is highly recommended for the cleaning process. It will help remove any buildup of grime or dirt as well as mildew. Professional painting contractors often use a pressure washer to get rid of the stubborn dirt, however, if cleaning your own deck, you do not need to apply too much pressure.
    Use a good quality cleaner that is specifically formulated to remove mold and mildew on wood surfaces. A stiff bristle deck brush can also be used to clean the wooden deck as it will not only remove mildew stains but will also create a suitable surface for staining. Avoid the use of regular soap and water because the soap might leave behind a residue which may reduce penetration.
  2. Sanding
    There could be some small stains that may not come off during the cleaning process. Sanding will help remove these stains easily but be careful not to apply too much pressure when sanding to avoid destroying the wood. Sanding with an 80-100 grit sandpaper is recommended if the wood surface has splinters, loose wood fibers or a rough feel to it. To avoid leaving marks on the wood surface with the sandpaper, sanding should be done in the same direction as the wood grain.
  3. Grinding
    Mechanical grinding should only be handled by a professional as it can easily destroy a wood surface. Pros will use a grinder on special occasions where repairs have been done or when changing from colored paint to transparent stain.
  4. Priming
    If you are planning to apply a solid color stain to your wooden deck or you have wood that is prone to continued Tannin Bleed, it is a good idea to use a primer first which increases the adhesion of the top coat. This significantly extends the life of the stain.

Bottom Line
Unsealed and untreated wooden decks can take a lot of damage as a result of exposure to the sun. In extreme cases, it can lead to warping, changing color and may also dry out much faster making it much more prone to cracks.

However, deck staining protects the wood from the sun’s rays extending longevity. Deck staining also helps to repel moisture that may soak into the wood causing mold and mildew to develop. For better quality and durable results, always consider hiring a professional painting contractor for your deck staining needs.

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