It is always important to follow the suggested application instructions when it comes to deck staining or sealing to ensure you get the best protection. A sometimes over looked necessity of deck sealing and staining is prepping the wood correctly before coating it.
Deck staining is certainly crucial to the appearance and lifespan of any deck or exterior wood surface. But to get the most from your sealer you need to prep the wood correctly and follow some application guidelines.
The first thing to understand is that deck stain or sealer needs to penetrate the wood in order to perform well. Therefore, the wood should be cleaned and free of any dirt, mold, mildew, graying and old failing stain or sealer. Use a wood cleaner to wash the deck unless an old failing sealer is present, then you need to wash the wood using a wood stain remover instead.
After cleaning a wood deck it is important to apply a wood deck brightener. This is true whether you used a wood cleaner or a stain stripper. The brightener will reverse the darkening effect of the wood cleaner by brightening the wood and correcting the pH level. This is important as the new wood sealer needs a more acidic surface to penetrate well.
Once the wood deck is cleaned it should be allowed to dry for several days. Deck staining or sealing too soon can trap moisture in the wood that may lead to mold or mildew problems and premature failure of the sealer.
After the deck has dried for several days you are ready for deck sealing or staining. As mentioned, it is important to follow the instructions on the stain label. Most deck coatings can be applied using a brush, roller, stain pad, or garden type pump sprayer.
A common mistake is to over apply the sealer or cause lap marks by stopping and starting. To avoid lap marks start at one end of a board and continue coating the entire board before stopping. Then start on the next board in the same manner.
To avoid over application, back brush or wipe any excess stain off with a stain rag that has not absorbed into the wood within 5-10 minutes. If it has not absorbed by then it is not going to. Leaving puddles, drips, or runs will cause the stain to appear shiny and will lead to peeling and flaking in several months. You want the stain or sealer to penetrate the wood so only apply as much stain as the wood can absorb.
Follow these deck staining and deck sealing instructions and you will see the benefits of a more appealing and longer lasting finish.