The Top 3 Things to Consider When Staining Your Wood Deck

Refinishing a wood deck involves 3 steps: cleaning the wood, sanding the wood, and finally, staining the wood. Staining your wood deck protects it from the elements, which for our customers in the Pacific Northwest means lots of rain. A good stain will help preserve the wood of your deck by preventing water penetration, dry rotting, and premature replacement. Here are the top 3 things you should consider when staining your wood deck: Type of Stain, Transparency of the Stain, and Time to Stain.

1. Type of Stain

At NW Surface Cleaner we recommend oil-based stains for our customers’ wood decks. Oil-based stains enhance the natural beauty of your wood deck, seal the wood from water penetration, and offer UV protection to help protect against fading. We apply stains by hand with a deck staining pad, oiling each individual board, one by one. The stains we use are comprised of a penetrating oil, so the oil actually goes down into the wood of your deck to help waterproof and preserve it. Additionally, if you have kids or dogs, oil-based stains will provide you with the extra benefit of being scuff-resistant.

2. Transparency of the Stain

When choosing a stain, there are different levels of transparency available: transparent, semi-transparent, semi-solid, and solid. As the names suggest, wood stains vary in opacity from transparent to solid, and your choice of stain will affect the look of your deck. Additionally, solid stains provide more protection to the wood than transparent stains. You should consider where your deck is located and how much exposure it has to the elements when choosing a stain. We generally recommend a semi-solid oil-based stain for an outdoor deck; this type of stain will give you a good level of protection from the elements, but still allow you to enjoy the natural beauty of the wood as some of the grain, knots, and variations in the wood will be visible.

3. Time to Stain

There are a few timing elements to consider when staining your wood deck. In general, you should stain your deck every 2-3 years. How long a stain will last depends on the condition of your wood, the exposure your deck gets, and the level of stain transparency you choose. Additionally, it is important to consider the weather conditions around the time you plan to stain your deck to ensure that the stain can dry properly. At NW Surface Cleaner, we will wait for ideal conditions to stain a deck – which in the Pacific Northwest means Spring or Summer, where there are at least a few consecutive dry days without rain. Lastly, you should know that oil-based stains take 48 hours to dry. This means you should not use your deck for 48 hours after the stain is applied. Allowing the stain to fully dry will help to better waterproof your deck and to extend the longevity of the stain.

NW Surface Cleaner is a family business and we have been refinishing decks in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 40 years.

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