Learn how to stain a deck made of pressure-treated lumber. Find out why you should stain your deck on a dry day, and how to clean a deck.
LESLIE: Winona in Maryland, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
WINONA: I just got a new deck  put on my home.
WINONA: And I want to know how to finish it.
LESLIE: OK. What material did you make it out of?
WINONA: It’s wood.
LESLIE: Is it pressure-treated? Is it cedar? Is it …
WINONA: It’s pressure-treated.
LESLIE: It’s pressure-treated. OK, generally what you want to do with pressure-treated lumber is you want to leave it raw for a year so that it has time to cure before you put anything on top of it. If you decide that you can’t wait and you’ve got to do it and you’ve got to have it now, there is a product from a company called Flood  and it’s called DEKSWOOD and it removes that mill glaze that’s on fresh lumber.
LESLIE: And if you clean the deck with the Flood product – the DEKSWOOD – I think you have to wait six to eight weeks and then you can finish  it; which is a heck of a lot better than waiting a year.
WINONA: Oh, OK.
LESLIE: But it’s really up to you. It depends on what your level of patience is. And when you’re ready to finish the deck  you want to make sure you do it on a dry, not humid day at all. Then you want to make sure you give it a good cleaning  at first. Let it dry again. And then you can finish it in any way you like. There are semi-transparent stains that allow you to put a color on there while still seeing the grain. And because your deck is so new you don’t want to cover it up with a solid stain because that’s sort of like a last resort when it’s really got a lot of wear and tear. Or you can just go with like a natural sealant that’s in a natural wood toner; even something clear. You have to decide if you want to see, you know, a lot of a natural wood presence or if you want to bring some color into there while still seeing the graining. Both are great options; it just depends on your décor and your taste and how you want to enjoy your outdoor space.
WINONA: Well that’s good to know. I thought I had to do it right away.
LESLIE: No, no, no.
TOM: Winona, you’re better off waiting a bit of time for that – those pressure-treatment chemicals to sort of evaporate out. You could probably even wait until next year before you do this.
WINONA: OK. And it should be a dry time?
TOM: Yes, absolutely.
WINONA: Like maybe early summer?
TOM: That would be fine or even the fall.
LESLIE: Even the fall is good. And then the only thing you would have to do after the winter season – because this is your first time having a deck?
LESLIE: The first thing you want to do once the weather warms up and you’re dealing with all of that debris and that ground-in dirt from the winter months on the deck …
LESLIE: … same product; that DEKSWOOD . Because if you try to just use water it’s just going to push the dirt around. But if you go with the DEKSWOOD it’s actually a cleanser which is meant to sort of get rid of all of that dirt and that ground-in debris. And you’ll see it restore the color and the look of the wood automatically. So you want to make sure you use a product seasonally that’s really meant to clean the surface. You can use a power washer . If you do, just don’t be too aggressive with it. You don’t want to be too close to the wood because it tends to damage the wood itself and cause it to splinter. So, you know, have fun with your pressure washer but just be gentle.
WINONA: OK. Thanks so much.
LESLIE: Enjoy it.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.