Deck maintenance is crucial to ensure your deck remains strong, resilient, and visually appealing. In our modern world of home development, the outdoor living area is just as important, if not more, than the indoor living area. Many homeowners are expanding their living spaces by including their outdoor spaces to feature everything from a relaxing, calming space to an entertaining space. Adding a timber deck is a great way to enhance the value of your home and expand your living space to include new horizons.
Deck maintenance part 1: Staining your timber deck
You can give your timber deck a personal touch by staining it. Staining your deck can enhance its natural beauty and help prevent cracking and splintering.
At Sabie Poles, our CCA-treated timber decking is already protected against various elements such as weather conditions, insect attacks, fungi, rotting, and decay, to name a few. However, applying stain and sealer to pressure-treated wood adds an additional level of protection that homeowners don’t want to be without. Here are some deck maintenance tips, particularly on how to stain and seal your deck correctly.
7 Steps on how to stain your new timber deck
By following these effective steps, you can enhance your deck and enjoy it for many years to come.
Step 1: Choose the correct stain
Avoid staining your deck with a solid stain because these finishes eventually peel and require a significant amount of maintenance. We recommend using TimberLife Ultradeck Stain. It is a superior organic solvent-based wood stain that consists of high-quality transparent iron oxides that don’t hide the grain of the timber and can be used as an interior or exterior wood stain. Stain also imparts excellent U.V protection to timber that is under exterior conditions which makes it ideal for decking.
Step 2: Choose your desired stain colour
We have the following Timberlife Stain products available in eight shades of brown, namely:
- Dark Oak
- Golden Brown
Step 3: Prepare your timber deck
Before you stain pressure-treated wood, you should clean it first. The best way to wash your deck is to knock loose any dirt or residue using a pressure washer.
Step 4: Test the moisture of your timber deck
Here are three effective ways for testing the level of moisture in the timber.
- Bead test
It is performed by simply dripping small amounts of water on the wood; if the water beads, then the wood still retains some moisture.
- Nail test
Simply press a nail into the wood to test for wetness. If water seeps out around the nail while it’s being pressed into the wood, then more drying time is needed.
- Wood moisture meter
Depending on the type of moisture meter, hold the metal spikes or pins against the wood or insert the pins into the wood. The moisture content of the wood should not be more than 12%
Step 5: Prepare the stain for application
Next, thoroughly mix the stain by adding your desired tint into the Ultradeck. Continue to stir the stain frequently as you work to ensure the best application.
Step 6: Test the stain to ensure you get the desired colour
It’s a good idea to always test a small, hidden area, using the same number of coats you will be using on the deck and let it dry so that you can be sure to get the wood stain colour you want. This test will help ensure that you’ll be happy with the completed project before you sink hours into it and will also confirm that the stain will go on properly and without any issues, such as wetness.
Step 7: Applying your stain
Once you are satisfied, continue staining the rest of your CCA pressure-treated wood. Keep in mind that back brushstrokes constitute additional coats and may cause colour variation.
If you are staining a fence or other vertical surface, start at the top to ensure that you’ll cover any drips or runs as you work your way down. Keep in mind that exposed ends of wood may need additional staining, due to greater absorption.
Tools needed to stain your timber deck
There are various ways you can stain your deck, the two most popular methods are, using a pump-up garden sprayer or a roller. It would be wise to always keep a paintbrush at hand. A paintbrush will work the stain deep into the pores of the timber.
The agitation and friction caused by a paintbrush will cause the timber to absorb more stain. So, if you are spraying or rolling the stain, always back-brush it in with a brush while the stain is still wet; you’ll achieve much better penetration into the wood.
Deck maintenance part 2: Sealing your timber deck
It is important to seal your deck after it has been stained. By sealing it you protect your deck from elements such as water damage, weather and scratches.
We recommend using Timberlife Satinwood 28/28 Base* or UltraCare Gold* which not only enhances the natural beauty of the timber but also provides a virtually non-slipping surface. We have these products available at Sabie Poles.
How to apply your sealer
- Firstly, you need to make sure the stain on your deck is completely dry.
- After opening your can of sealer, make sure it’s mixed and stirred well. If the components of your sealer have separated, it won’t work well when applied.
- Apply an even, thin coat of your sealer using a brush meant for varnishes or polyurethane. Try to flatten any bubbles or noticeable drips carefully.
- Allow the sealer to dry 24 hours after the first coat. Sealers may soak in and feel moisture less after a couple of hours, but it’s best to let it sit a day for the best results.
Deck maintenance part 3: Some basic tips
As mentioned above, deck maintenance is crucial for all kinds of decks. There is no such thing as maintenance-free decking. A few tricks that you can do to ensure that your deck lasts longer is:
- Keep it clear – Sweep your deck regularly of leaves, snow, and debris
- Keep it clean – Hose your deck at least 1 or 2 times per year and use a brush if needed. You don’t need to pressure clean the surface
- Keep substrate clear and cut away from your deck – This includes brushes, trees, and vines.
Deck maintenance part 4: Prevent your deck from damaging
Here are some extra preventative measures you can take to protect your deck:
Don’t trap dirt:
If you have flower planters on your deck, place them on top of cement blocks to prevent the planters from trapping dirt or moisture on the deck’s surface.
Catch that grease
If you have your braai on your deck, always use a grease catcher. Grease stains are typically some of the most difficult to remove.
Sweep it up
Sweep your deck regularly to prevent accumulations of dirt or leaves that can stain the deck surface.
Shovel it off
When there is snowfall, shovel the snow off your deck as soon as possible.
Clean and seal regularly
Have your deck professionally cleaned and sealed at least every 2 to 3 years to protect it against the rain and sun. If you opt to do it yourself, you’ll probably need to clean and seal the deck at least once a year, so in the long run, professional work pays for itself.