Spring and summer seem to be the time of year we spend more time on our decks and wharfs. This is also the time of year that most people seem to notice if it is time to do some maintenance on the wood. There are some good questions that might need to be answered to make this process of restraining or staining as painless as possible. Lets let’s look at the full process.
The first thing that you want to do is clean your wood to rid it off failing stain, dirt, mildew, sunscreen, bird droppings, etc. This can be accomplished by using a product called JoMax. This is a product that Rainbow Paint and Decorating carries that is specifically designed for cleaning wood without harming it. JoMax is mixed with water and then can be spread using a broom. After the product is active for 15 minutes, simply spray it off with the hose. Some people prefer to use a pressure washer and this is okay. The warning that I would extend with the use of a pressure washer is that if the angle of the spray coming off the pressure washer is too direct, it will destroy the wood. There is a myth that you have to have a pressure washer to clean a deck and this is simply not true. Pressure washers are very useful in cleaning sidewalks and driveways. Please see my post on Rainbow Paint’s Facebook page on using a pressure washers to clean sidewalks.
After your wood has been properly cleaned, you should allow two to three days of warm sunny weather to dry the wood. You want to be careful not to stain wet wood.
Choosing the proper stain for you wood is very important. You basically have two options when choosing stain types: semi transparent or solid stain. Semi transparent stain allows the wood grain to show through the sealer and solid stain does not. Solid stain does not need to be confused with paint. Stain penetrates the wood where paint lays on the surface.
Semi transparent stain allows you to stain the deck a color while sealing the wood. After the stain is applied, the wood grain will show through the sealer. Semi transparent stains are typically used on newer wood. The name of the product we carry is called Semi Transparent Ridgeline.
Solid stains will coat the wood with just about any color you want while sealing the wood. This product will almost look like a paint when you are finished. Solid stains are typically used on older wood that is showing age or when portions of your deck have been replaced. The name of the product we carry is called the Solid Ridgeline.
The proper way to apply whatever stain you choose is the brush the entire deck. Spraying your deck is much faster but it will reduce the life of the coating by 50%. When you spray the stain, it speeds up the dry time of the material not allowing it to soak into the wood before it dries. All the material will simply lay of the surface of the wood and it will wear off rapidly. If a contractor shows up at your property to spray your stain, run him off!