Tips for Prepping and Restaining a Wood Deck
LESLIE: Ed in Minnesota is on the line and needs some help getting his deck ready for summer. What can we do for you?
ED: Yeah. I’m needing to restain my deck. Wondering what the proper prep is for that and what – most of all, what the moisture content should be before a guy stains.
TOM: That’s a great question. Is this an older deck? Something that you had on for a number of years?
ED: It is. And it’s a pine – 2×6-type pine wood.
TOM: OK. So, the most important thing is that you clean the deck thoroughly before you stain it. You need to make sure you get rid of any mildew or algae. And you can use a mildicide to clean any debris that’s off that deck.
You asked an important question about moisture content. We’d like to see the deck be a few days without rain, or certainly without it being sort of washed down, so that the new stain or finish absorbs properly. One little, quick test that you can do is if you put a cup of water on the deck and it all gets absorbed pretty quickly, then it’s probably OK to go ahead and stain it. And this way, the stain will really bite down into that.
When it comes to the stain, you’re going to have choices of clear, semi-transparent or solid color. You’ll find that if you use a solid-color stain, you’re going to get a lot more pigment. And it’s going to stay that color for a lot longer than if you use a semi-transparent, which tends to show the grain of the wood through a little bit more. But frankly, with a flat grain like pine, it’s not going to make that big of a difference. So I would recommend solid color.