With year round exposure to sun, rain and let’s not forget that four letter word that plagued us for the last seven months….snow, in our neck of the woods it takes a toll on your wood deck. Anyone who has a wooden deck knows that sitting on it is much more enjoyable when it is sparkling clean and properly stain and sealed. Your deck will start to look old, gray and battered when it is in need of some TLC. The appearance of your deck is not the only thing that suffers from lack of attention, but also the integrity of the wood elements can begin to breakdown losing its protection and begins to split and rot. When restoring a wooden deck it is extremely important to prep the wood correctly and also to be careful not to damage the wood due to excessive power washing or scrubbing. Here is how to inspect, clean and stain your deck the right way!
How to test & inspect your deck
The easiest way to ensure that your deck needs to be stained again is the water test. Sprinkle water on the deck and if it soaks in immediately the deck is in need of resealing. It the water beads up and stands on the deck you may not need to reseal quite yet. If you notice that your deck is turning gray in color, has mold or mildew accumulating on it or if the boards are beginning to rot and split, your deck is in some need of care. It is extremely important to prep the wood correctly when it comes to restoring an older deck. Failure to do so will result in premature failure of the stain no matter the brand or cost. It will not last as long as it should if it is not applied to cleaned and prepped surfaces.
Remove furniture and inspect your deck
Preparing your deck for the next processes is imperative if you want your stain to have maximum longevity. Remove all the deck furniture, grills or any other tangible products that are resting on it. Inspect the deck for boards that need to be repaired or replaced. If you notice splintering wood use 80-grit sandpaper to smooth out its surface. Sweep all loose debris off and don’t forget in between the deck boards. Be sure to water and cover your plants.
Deck strippers, cleaners & brighteners
The first process you should use is a deck stripper. A deck stripper’s purpose is to remove old finishes such as paint, stains, sealers and loose wood fibers. The next step is to use a deck cleaner. A deck cleaner’s purpose is to remove old grease, grime dirt, organic stains, tree sap and mineral deposits. It will kill mold and mildew that has invaded your deck. The last step is using a deck brightener. A deck brightener’s purpose is to annihilate tough tannin stains and watermarks. It reestablishes the PH balance of your wood after the stripping & cleaning process brightening old gray weathered wood. We recommend using Penofin® Pro-Tech stripper and cleaner & brightener for the job.
A large mistake that homeowners make in cleaning, preparing and staining a deck, is not removing all remnants of the old deck stain. Any stain on the deck that is not completely removed will block any new stain from penetrating the wood properly. Once you start applying your stain, the biggest thing to remember is two thin coats of stain is much more beneficial than one thick coat of stain. Do two to three boards at a time instead of trying to do half the deck at one time. There are a lot of ways to apply stain to your deck such as using a sprayer or roller. Remember that using a paintbrush is the most ideal method when applying stain because it works the stain deep into the wood pores. We recommend using a wood stain such as Penofin® Verde. This product is one of its kind being 100% sustainable, petroleum free oil finish with no heavy metal compounds, odors or offensive fumes. Penofin® Verde is made of the highest quality Brazilian rosewood oils.