Staining a Splintered Deck
LESLIE: Ross is calling from New York and he’s got a question about a really splintered deck. What’s going on at your house?ROSS: My problem is we had a house built about a year or so ago in Staten Island, New York and it has a deck in the back and that deck is made of treated wood.TOM: Right.ROSS: And it has a lot of areas – I don’t think they used that good of a wood. It has a lot of areas that are cracked and splintered and a lot of knots. I’d like to maybe paint that or fill in the cracks. Is there something I could use to do that?LESLIE: Well, and how old is the deck?ROSS: It’s only about a year-and-a-half old.TOM: Alright, well you don’t want to paint it. That would be a mistake. Because you know what comes after paint, Ross? Repaint.LESLIE: Yeah, but I mean whatever you put on any sort of deck that’s made out of pressure-treated lumber requires a commitment to maintaining it and, you know, Tom’s right; you don’t want to put paint on. You sort of – I mean your deck is already at a point where it’s kind of degraded enough where you don’t want to see the grain; you don’t want to put something semi-transparent on where you can really see what’s going on with the wood.Your solution is going to be something that’s called a solid stain. So it’s a stain in the fact that it sort of permeates the layers of the wood and gets into the wood itself, but it’s solid because there’s a lot of pigment to the stain so you can go any color from natural wood tones to bright pink if you wanted. And that’ll sort of set that color on top of the wood and into the wood so that you’ll still see a little bit of the grain but predominantly color is what you’ll see.ROSS: And would that make it kind of smooth? Because my wife and my sister, they’ve gotten splinters just being out there and …TOM: Well, it’s not going to make it perfectly smooth, Ross, but if you have a badly-splintered board, what you want to do is pull that board up – use a nail puller to pull it up – flip it over and then put it back down again. Because the backside of it will be as smooth and clean as the day it was purchased.And Ross, if it really bothers you, what you might want to do is think about, maybe in the next couple of years, doing sort of a deck makeover. You can pull off the pressure-treated deck boards, you can save the structure and then put composite decking right on top of that; you know, put some Fiberon down. That stuff has got like a 10-year warranty and looks as good the first day as it does ten years later.LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and I mean it’s really gorgeous. The maintenance factor – which is something to think about – is very minimal; you know, light cleaning seasonally just to get all the grit and yuck off of it. But it looks gorgeous. You will never have to sand it, paint it, stain it …TOM: Ever again.ROSS: That sounds like it’ll be a good idea. OK, let me thank you very much for letting me speak to you. I love your show; listen to it every week.TOM: Thank you very much, Ross, and good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.