When Should I Stain My Deck?

When Should I Stain My Deck?

August 12, 2021

An attractive deck is often the centerpiece of a relaxing outdoor living space, but decks can take a beating due to the elements. If you’re wondering “How often should I stain my deck?”, the answer’s a little more complicated than you might think. Whether you’re staining a new deck or painting an existing one, read on to learn about the ideal times to give your deck a new coating.

New decks

All new wooden decks need a proper coat of paint or stain to enhance their appearance and ensure their longevity. As a general rule, you should wait at least 30 days after installation before staining a new deck. It gives the wood a chance to dry out so it can effectively absorb the coating of your choice. Your climate will dictate the best time for staining or painting a deck, since wood in moist, humid environments takes longer to cure than wood in a dry climate. You’ll also need to take into account the type of wood you’ve used for your deck. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Pressure-treated lumber: Pressure-treated wood should dry for about six months before application of any coating. An easy way to know whether the wood is ready for stain is by performing a “sprinkle” test. Sprinkle some water on the deck, and if it soaks in without beading up, the deck is ready to be coated.
  • Kiln-dried lumber: Kiln-dried wood is typically dry when you purchase it, but it’s still a good idea to let it cure for one to two months.
  • Green lumber: Fresh-cut green wood is inexpensive and sees widespread use in decks due to its affordability. Give your deck about 90 days to weather before applying a paint or stain.

Existing decks

Your deck is exposed to the elements 24 hours a day, and the effects of precipitation, temperature and the sun will take a toll on the paint or stain on a deck. Follow these general guidelines if your deck is looking worse for wear:

  • Painted decks: Give your deck a new coat of paint whenever it’s showing signs of peeling, bubbling or flaking. Since wood on decks shrinks and expands regularly, you’re going to need to paint the deck on a regular basis, because the paint can’t keep up with constant movement. Most people repaint every year or two, lightly sanding the surface of any peeling areas before applying a new coat.
  • Stained decks: The answer to the common question “How often should I stain my deck?” depends entirely on the condition of the deck, but generally every two or three years is a good benchmark. Look for mold or mildew buildup, stain color that’s wearing off or water that absorbs into the deck and doesn’t bead up. Have your deck professionally stained in any of these cases.

From staining a new deck to repainting an existing one, maintaining this important outdoor entertainment feature can be a hassle. It’s usually best to consult the professionals for any paint or stain project for best results. Contact Fresh Start Painting Inc. today to learn more about proper deck maintenance, including long-lasting painting and staining.

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