A well maintained wooden deck is an amazing, functional addition to any home.
One of the downsides of a wood deck is the maintenance that comes with keeping the wood looking great.
Luckily, it's not a yearly process and if done properly isn't a huge hassle. With the pressure treated lumber options available these days, there are some great pre-stained options available. Chances are your deck won't require staining for a few years while is new. If your deck is cedar on the other hand, it will require staining shortly after it's built.
We'll go over when to stain or paint your deck and how to tell when it needs to be done.
Why You Should Stain or Paint Your Deck
You just installed your deck, it looks great and you can't wait to start enjoying it. However, if you don't keep up with the maintenance of your deck, your deck will deteriorate quickly and the look of it will fade significantly. So why should you stain or paint your wood deck?
Extends it's life
Wood that's not maintained with stain or paint will deteriorate quickly, often fading occurs significantly over a single season. The wood loses its water repellency and the water soaks into the wood leaving your wood prone to rot. Consistent staining or painting will reduce the effects of the sun and rain on your deck, ensuring your deck lasts decades instead of a few years.
Preserve the look and wood texture
Untreated wood will quickly lose it's new deck look and result in a faded unsightly deck. The wood texture also changes from smooth to a more patchy look with more imperfections.
Saves you money
Failure to maintain your deck will result in your deck needing constant repairs or replacing the deck entirely way before expected. A well maintained deck will last decades longer and save you money in the end.
Improved function and safety
Water damage and rotting will result in loose boards that shift, resulting in a dangerous deck.
How Often Should I Re-Stain or Re-Paint a Deck?
Staining and painting requirements vary based on the type of wood. There are a lot of wood types and pre-treated woods out there so we'll focus on the two main decking types, pressure treated wood and cedar wood.
Pressure treated wood has come a long way with advancements in technology and treatments available. These days a high quality pressure treated wood should be left for a few months to dry out before it's first staining. Some pressure treated woods come pre-stained, these decks shouldn't need to be stained for it's first 2-3 years.
Once it's given its first stain, you'll want to repeat the staining process every 2-3 years afterwards. Painting a pressure treated wood deck isn't as time consistent due to the different paints available. Generally a painted deck may require maintenance less frequently than a stained deck.
A new cedar deck will quickly fade requiring staining shorty after installation, similarly to treated wood decks, you'll want to give the deck 2-3 months to dry out before it's first application. After it's first stain, you'll want to re-stain your cedar deck every 2-3 years afterwards. Although Cedar does have natural resistance to rotting, it's always best to stain it as the wood will discolor and it's life expectancy will be cut short.
Some suggest waiting an entire year before its first stain, by staining within its first couple months, you'll provide UV and water protection for the wood. Immediate staining or painting your deck once it's built is not suggested however because the wood will still be damp, resulting in peeling and chipping due to loss of adhesion.