There are a few decisions that need to be made when staining a deck and we will help you figure out what supplies and technique is right for your deck and situation. A lot of people feel that pressure treated decks do not need to be stained, so we will cover why you would want to stain a pressure treated deck in the first place. So, if you are thinking of staining your deck that is made from pressure treated lumber, you have found the article that you need to assist you with the job and the planning.
New Pressure-treated Wood Decks
New pressure-treated wood decks do not need stained right away. In fact you need to wait until the wood has weathered some before you stain the pressure treated lumber. Pressure treated lumber contains preservatives to keep if from rotting and deteriorating over time, so there is no hurry to stain it.
If you plan to use an oil based stain, you should wait at least two months before applying the stain. For water-based stain, the time you need to wait is about a year because the pressure treated lumber needs to be fully cured or weathered before you stain it.
Normally when you purchase the pressure treated lumber is has not aged much. Most pressure treated wood you buy has only been sitting several days, so if you get the opportunity, you can ask the lumber yard how seasoned the wood is when you buy it, otherwise assume it is fresh.
If you squeeze the end of a piece of pressure treated wood, you will notice the liquid coming out. That is how wet it is when you buy it, so painting over non-weathered wood decks will cause the stain not to cure properly and can even ruin the protection of the treated lumber. So definitely wait the proper amount of time before staining you deck.
Tips and Tricks
Applying stain to a deck is pretty straight forward, but there are some tips and tricks that will assist you during the process. First of all you don’t want to spread the stain on too thick. Many people with little experience think that they need to put the stain on thick to better protect their deck. That is incorrect.
When stain is applied too thick, it will not dry properly and it remains sticky to the touch. So be careful not to apply it too thick. Consult your retailer for the proper amount per coating. They will tell you how much each can of stain should cover.
Next, you want to be sure to paint in good weather. For oil or solvent based stains, it needs to be anywhere from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and it needs to be at least 50 degrees if you use water based stain.
And you need to make sure it will remain at least the 40 or 50 degrees for 24 hours after you stain the deck so it will dry properly. So don’t stain you deck if you know it is going to fall below 40 degrees at night even though it may be warm duri8ng the day.
A lot of people in northern states have to pay closer attention to the night time temperatures when staining their decks. Likewise for people in southern or western states, be careful that it won’t get too hot. A lot of people in warmer climates like to do the staining early in the morning before it gets too hot, but make sure the temperature is not going to rise much higher than 90 degrees within 24 hours of staining your deck.
1. Prepare the surface. If it’s a new deck, just make sure it is free from dirt and sediment. If it is older, make sure any old finish is removed first. A pressure washer will usually do the trick. If you use a pressure washer, don’t turn up the pressure too high or it can damage the wood, particularly on older decks. 1500-2400 psi is plenty of pressure for washing pressure treated decks. You local retailer of paint supplies will usually carry special cleaners for decks.
2. Allow the surface to dry. The deck needs to be moisture free before you apply the stain. . When using a commercial deck cleaner or any thing that makes the deck wet for that matter, you have to allow time for it to dry completely before staining. Depending on how wet it is and the weather outside, it can take from 12 to 24 hours to dry.
3. Apply the stain. There are several ways you can apply the stain. You can use a brush, a roller, pads or a sprayer. The best way to get a good finish on a deck is probably by using a brush or spraying it then going over it with a brush stroke to make it nice and even.
Types of Stain
If you live were the sun is beating on the deck relentlessly, then be sure to get a stain that has some U-V protection. Ask the retailer or read the labels carefully to see if the stain offers U-V protection. Many of the clear stains have U-V protection.
While heavily advertised, some experts highly recommend that you stay away from Thomson’s water sealer or deck stains. So we recommend going with an oil-based stain such as Sherwin-Williams’ Deckscapes brand. It comes in clear or a variety of tints. So it will work for almost any situation.
Most clear sealants are not recommended for use on treated lumber, so be careful what you buy and always consult a professional before making a purchase. If you go to a Sherwin-Williams or any similar paint store, they are normally staffed with knowledgeable employees that will help you find the perfect stain for your situation.
Be sure to wait until your pressure treated lumber is dry enough before applying the stain though. Remember, if you can squeeze the wood with a pair of large pliers and see water come out, it is too wet to stain! That’s an old trick that still works today.
Sometimes you don’t know how old the wood is, so that’s a good trick to find out if it is cured or not. Also make sure you stain in the spring or summer in colder climates so it doesn’t get too cold at night for the paint to dry. If you are staining a deck in Florida or another warm tropical area, you may be able to get away with doing it in the winter, but watch the weather forecast to be sure it won’t fall below 50 degrees the night after you stain so it will dry properly.
That’s about all there is to it, it is not rocket science, but you need to pay attention to certain aspects of what you are doing when staining a pressure treated deck. If you pay attention to the tips and tricks in this article, your stained deck project should go smoothly. So, good luck on your project and be safe.
Photo by flickr user jar()