Fall is an exciting time of year for decorating, picking apples, and enjoying your outdoor area before the snow and freezing weather take over. Fall is also an ideal time for deck staining. Why? Well, there are several factors that contribute to this, but the most important reason for why you should stain a deck during the fall season is primarily because of the cooler temperatures and the lower humidity conditions.
When applying stain to your deck, the wood’s temperature should be around 70 degrees for best results. You should also stain your wooden deck on a cloudy day to avoid direct sunlight from hitting the deck and increasing its surface temperature. Also, be sure to check the weather’s forecast to ensure you are cleared for at least 48 hours of rainfall to give your stain enough time to dry. Now that you know when to stain your deck, the next step is deciding which products are best to use for such an important task.
There are countless deck staining brands available at your local home improvement store, but before making your selection, it’s essential that you consider how each product will benefit your wooden deck.
First, identify whether the stain is water-based or oil based:
Water-Based: Also referred to as “acrylic,” water-based wood staining products are a quick-dry solution to staining a deck. They are typically easier to clean up afterwards and work best on decks that are already treated to resist rot and water damage.
Oil-Based: Oil-based stains usually take more time to dry, but they penetrate deep within your decking materials, creating a thicker, more durable seal that requires less maintenance than its water-based counterpart.
Next, look at the stain’s color. Most homeowners love the natural look of a wooden deck, so when choosing a color, it’s likely that you’ll want to match the coat to the decking material’s natural color. Of course, it your deck is getting old, and you’re afraid a light coat won’t be able to mask its imperfections, consider the option of a darker semitransparent stain to create an even look.
This brings us to the next step, which is choosing the best type of stain:
Solid: If you’re looking for a heavy, paint-like finish to cover your decks from natural wear and tear, then a solid stain is your best option. This type typically lasts between 3-5 years, depending on how much your deck is exposed to outdoor elements, such as sunlight, rain, snow, wind, etc.
Transparent: If you’re looking for a more natural look for your wood, this would be an ideal option, as it helps show off the wood’s grain and texture. In addition, you can also choose a semi-transparent stain, which will more naturally darken the wood to give it a polished appearance yet still showcase the wood’s grain and texture.
Clear: Clear stains contain very little pigment and water repellents. And although they help to enhance the natural look of a wooden deck, they usually require more maintenance, and if left untreated for years, can severely fade the look of your deck.
An important thing to remember is that if you decide to choose a solid stain one year, you can’t switch to a clear option three years later. You’ll need to continue to recoat with another solid brand the next time your deck requires a staining.
For more tips on deck staining or if you’d like to speak with a professional deck builder on which staining product is best for your outdoor deck, contact UglyDeck.com. From deck repairs, restorations, and full deck replacement services, we offer a variety of services, products, and support to keep your deck looking its best every season.