on March 5, 2014
I am getting ready to stain my deck and would like a natural finish that will last as long as possible. What is the best product to use?
We suggest that you use a high quality penetrating oil finish.
Oil restores the natural resins that give wood its natural beauty and prevents cracking, cupping and checking. Be sure that the oil finish contains a mildewcide and ultraviolet protection. Plan to spend in the neighborhood or $20 to $25 per gallon.As with painting, the key to a lasting deck finish lies with the preparation.
If the decking is new and is not kiln dried, allow the material to air dry for a few weeks since “green” lumber will prevent the finish from penetrating. If the decking has been in place for a while, it should be thoroughly scrubbed with TSP and rinsed with fresh water. A pressure washer can make easy work of the process.
After washing the deck you might also consider using a deck brightener (wood bleach) to restore the natural color or the wood. Sanding may even be required if the deck has been neglected.
Next, working in the shade during the cool time of day, apply a thin coat of the penetrating oil finish using a sheep skin pad or a short nap roller. Use a clean terry cloth rag to wipe off any excess and don’t allow the material to puddle. Apply a second thin coat after the first has had the opportunity to be fully absorbed — usually several hours or the following day. Be sure to apply plenty of finish to the cut ends of the decking. They are especially vulnerable to damage.
Finally, a light “touch up” coat each year will make your deck the envy of the neighborhood!