How to Refresh a Deck
LESLIE: Toba in Georgia needs some help with a decking project. Tell us what you want to work on.
TOBA: I have bought a house and the deck on the house probably has not been stained or pressure-washed in seven, eight years.
TOBA: What product could I use on – the wood is good; it’s just discoloration and you know …
TOM: Well, that’s actually a good problem because a lot of folks call us when they’ve got, you know, unknown layers of stain on their deck. Yours just has never been done so you’re pretty much starting from scratch.
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean – which is a really good situation to be in because, you know, you’re able to sort of put on whatever it is that you want.
What is the condition of the deck? Is it splitting? Is it cracked or do the planks look like they’re in pretty good condition?
TOBA: In pretty good condition.
LESLIE: So, are you looking for something that gives it more of a color; almost as if it looked like it was painted or just want to keep it kind of natural and just sort of bring it back to life?
TOBA: Kind of natural; bring it back to life.
LESLIE: Well, at this point, I mean because of the age, you’re kind of past the point where you could do a clear coat, which would be like the most neutral thing you can put on there. But you can pick something that’s called a semi-transparent stain, which is sort of a light coating of color. You’ll still see some color and you can go in a natural-wood tone. There’s lots of things from sort of like a yellowish pine to more of a reddish cedar.
So you can pick something that would be in a wood-tone family but it’s almost sheer enough where you really can see the graining. And if the decking is in good condition, this is great for you. For somebody whose deck is in far-worse shape, we always recommend a solid stain, which is like super-saturation of the color. But if you go with a semi-transparent, that’ll really do a great job of protecting it from sun damage, protecting it from cracking and checking, from mold growth. I mean it really will do a lot of good for the deck and sort of extend its life even more.
TOBA: Should I pressure wash it first?
LESLIE: You might want to just to give it a nice, fresh, clean surface. Don’t be too aggressive; a lot of people get really excited with a pressure washer and go super-heavy really close down to the surface and that ends up splintering and damaging the wood planks themselves. So just sort of be gentle with it. Step back about a foot-and-a-half with the wand itself and give it a nice cleaning; then let it dry very, very well.
And the autumn is the perfect time because the humidity is low. You’ll have that moisture dry out very, very quickly and once it’s really dry and you know it’s not going to rain for three to five days, put the stain on.
TOM: And you’re down there in Atlanta so you can use this well into the fall. You should take a look at Home Depot. They have the Behr products there – B-e-h-r – and they have premium weatherproofing wood stains and finishes that are really, really excellent. And they also have deck cleaners that you can use to prep the surface of the deck. So it’s a good line of products. Take a look at your local Home Depot. It’s Behr – B-e-h-r – products.
TOBA: Thank you. Thanks so much. Enjoy your program.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome, Toba.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thank you.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.