Deck Stain Questions and Answers

Did you just shift to a new house? Were the deck and the view it offers a big attraction for you? Were you visualizing how great it’d look after you stain it?

But now that you’re trying your hand at it, you have realized that staining the deck isn’t as easy as you thought. Now, there are all these questions in your mind. So, we are here to answer them for you.

Here are some FAQs about deck staining.

Will it be okay if I stained my deck while it is cold outside? 

In most cases, the answer is yes. But, as long as it is 4 degrees Celcius outside, it is okay to apply the stain. The same is true if the temperature remains at 4 degrees, at least before the evening falls.

Also, if you’re doing this task in the evening in colder temperatures, wipe off excess material after every half hour. Moreover, the drying duration will depend on sunlight. Since it can take the oils longer to dry, wiping the excess will help speed up the process.

Even though it isn’t cold outside, the first coat application looks sticky. Why hasn’t it set even after 18-20 hours?

Normally, if the weather and temperature are optimal, an exterior timber deck stain and sealer coat won’t remain sticky. But there are some situations where the coat takes longer to dry—for instance, the humidity. You should factor in the humidity in your coating calculations. A higher amount of moisture in the air can keep the coating from setting in.

Additionally, be sure about the moisture content in the timber itself. If it was high, you’re looking at elongated drying times. In either case, leave the coating as it is for a week, and it will dry off, particularly if the weather remains the same.

Apart from these factors, unprepared timber also prevents the stain from penetrating it. For example, patches of the old coat may be the reason why your stain won’t adhere to the deck.

Can I apply stain to older, already-stained decks?

As long as you follow all the steps, you can stain any old deck:

  1. Firstly, clean it. That means using the pressure washer and running it from one corner of the deck to the other. Repeat it multiple times until you’re sure you got all the debris and dust. Now, let it sit for 72 hours before sweeping it once.
  2. Next, sand any coarse or rough areas. It includes any sections that have previous stain peeling off them.
  3. Then, stain once and perform touch-ups.

How will I know when the time is to re-stain my deck?

Regardless of which stain, finish, or toner you use, these compounds will break down at some point. And since the deck is present outside the house, it has maximum exposure to the weather. It means you must re-stain it when it looks like it requires the effort.

To determine if it is re-staining time, perform a water test. In it, you pour a small amount of water in various sections of the deck. Check if the wood absorbs the liquid. Absorption means you need to re-stain the deck.

If your deck is still repelling the water, it means that the stain is still functional. However, it is okay to go ahead with the staining in both cases. But do so after you apply a light wood stripper and pressure wash the deck. It will ensure that the newly applied stain will stick.

Is bleach okay to use to clean my deck?

While bleach does clean the deck, it is much harsher on the wood. Besides, it is equally bad for any vegetation found around decks. So, we’d recommend you use a light cleaner. Remember, you want a cleaner and not a deck-eating solution.

Lastly, we would recommend that for further questions, you supply some additional details to your deck installing firm. It is because the answers could vary based on those details. So, for example, do mention:

  • The kind of wood your deck is made of, such as treated Pine, Ipe, Cedar, or Redwood, etc., because it matters.
  • Whether the wood is older than a year or not
  • If you stained the wood before or not. If you did, what kind of stain did you use to do it, such as solid, semi-transparent stain, etc.?
  • Other details that you think maybe pertinent or apply only to your case

The more specific you are when supplying these details, the better a deck staining expert will be able to help you.

In short, never stain before prepping the deck’s wood, don’t use bleach to clean it, not be scared of refinishing old, stained decks, and pay attention to the staining conditions outside. Follow these tips, and you’ll end up with a great-looking deck!

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