Canadian summers pass by in a blink. No wonder we appreciate homes and cottages with decks that let us make the most of relaxing, cooking, dining and entertaining in the great outdoors.
But like our favourite season, a stained wood deck may be only here for a good time, not a long time – unless you take care of it regularly.
Building a deck is not cheap, and staining it is often an arduous task. Fortunately, with some easy preventative maintenance, you can protect your investment and keep your outdoor living space looking good for longer than you imagined.
Most decks are made of wood, and as we know, wood naturally deteriorates when left exposed to four seasons of sun, rain, wind and snow. The effects of UV rays and moisture over time can slowly degrade the condition of a wood deck, causing it to look grey, black, or make even the most durable, weather-resistant stain start to peel and flake. By the time you notice that your deck needs re-staining, it’s probably already at the point where it needs to be restored or remediated.
A freshly-stained deck is like a new car: they always look great for the first 6-12 months. But then sometime during that first year, you might see some mild peeling, along with a few surface gouges and scratches from shoveling or pet paws constantly trotting in and out.
Even the tiniest cut in the deck stain’s protective film provides the perfect opening for oxygen and moisture to get underneath the stain coating. Once that happens, it is only a matter of time before the peeling proliferates to larger sections.
There are two easy ways to care for your wood deck’s natural beauty without going to the trouble of having to stain the entire thing all over again. Not only will they keep your deck’s surface looking brighter and fresher between stain jobs, they’ll help prolong the time between staining.
A specially-formulated wood cleaner can remove pollen, mildew and fungi (not so fun) that eat away at deck surfaces. Giving your deck a yearly bath with a recommended cleaning agent can wash away these gnarly, gnawing biologicals, while helping to slow down the aging process and extending the life of your wood stain.
Reserve some original deck stain to do regular touch-ups, the way you would save paint to cover scuff marks on the walls of your home. Adding a new layer of protective coating to small trouble spots can prevent peeling and a much bigger stain restoration project.
Once a year, inspect the deck surface for any scratches, gouges or peeling spots. Wash the area with a mild solution of wood wash, then wait at least 48 hours to thoroughly dry. Use a little bit of sandpaper if you need to even out the scratches or edges of the peeling, and then brush on a thin coat of stain over the spots that need touching up.
There may be a slight difference in colour between your fresh touch-up job and the weathered deck stain due to UV fading, but not to worry. The prolonged lifespan of the overall deck far outweighs a little variation in touch-up colour.
Take it from us – a little preventative maintenance throughout the season goes a long way. After all, summer’s far too short to spend an entire weekend staining the deck. Get out there and enjoy it!
Get all the paint, stain, tools and tips you need to do the job right! Visit us in store or buy online at BarrydownePaint.com.