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Old 04-17-2008, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Yellow Brick Road
34,510 posts, read 39,992,614 times
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Default Do you not stain/powerwash your decks?

I have been really curious about this for a long time. Where I grew up, people were meticulous about staining decking, privacy fences, etc. I moved to the midwest and was soooo surprised! Not a single person in our upscale neighborhood had done a thing to preserve or clean their decks/fences! I found this so odd. And it was everywhere! Not just our huge neighborhood. It was all over. So when we put on our deck, I stained it and my neighbors didn't say much at first. But after a few years . . . when my deck stayed beautiful . . . and my neighbors saw me power wash my deck and stain it again . . . they started asking about it. I was soooo surprised to find none of them knew they should be doing this.

So we moved . . . and again . . . I am surrounded by decks that look like they need a power washing and stain! One of my neighbors did come over and ask us how we kept our deck looking nice and he power washed his deck and stained it year b/f last. But the rest of the decks look . . . well . . . sad. Same for fences.

My question is . . . do people just not realize they should be power washing and staining their decks every so often? One neighbor told me he thought since he had cedar, he didn't have to do anything to maintain it. ????

Would love to hear your thoughts. Am I just - well - overly concerned w/ my deck??? Do other people not look at a dried out grey looking deck and think - ICK. ?????

Last edited by anifani821; 04-17-2008 at 04:18 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 04-17-2008, 05:53 PM
Status: "Bless this mess!" (set 19 days ago)
 
5,031 posts, read 7,498,113 times
Reputation: 2294
I totally agree with you. I just had a cedar privacy fence put up and am debating when and how to stain it. I've been hearing and reading all different kinds of things and am totally confused.

I hate the weathered graying look; it's so very unattractive. Where I live and even in the larger cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, the fences are so ugly around some fancy-dancy houses.

I've been thinking of using a semi-transparent stain which will allow the natural grain and wood texture to show. Is this a good idea? How soon after it's up should it be stained? What do you use and what's a good brand? Do you use a brush or sprayer? If a sprayer, what type/kind?

The style of my fence is "board on board" and I think it would be a killer to use a brush.

If you can give me any suggestions to keep my fence the "prettiest in the neighborhood, I would be so thankful. I too am "overly concerned" about my fence. I hope you don't mind my many questions.
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
2,240 posts, read 6,634,344 times
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I agree too. I am in Northern VA and am shocked at how everyone lets their deck and fances weather naturally. It is in the HOA that you can do that and that drives me insane. I am hoping when we stain ours this summer maybe it will get the neighbors inspired, lol! (We just moved here and have a lot of work to do!)
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:46 PM
 
Location: WA
3,938 posts, read 12,275,384 times
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I guess it depends upon the environment but here the deck will not last unless it is maintained. I bought a house where the deck was neglected for eight years and had to make the decision to either rebuild it or refinish it. Went with the cheapest, refinish... but it was in such bad shape I had to use a floor sander to salvage it. I used a good finish and will have to reapply the finish in a year before letting it go for a few. If I build a new deck it will be with composites.
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Southwest Pa
1,009 posts, read 2,099,230 times
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Some advice since I've never done this before. Our deck needs done but what's my best bet for a good lasting job? We have three dogs that use the deck as a landing strip and would need something that holds up well.
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Old 04-18-2008, 06:58 AM
 
11,735 posts, read 10,595,093 times
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I would like a stone deck and brick fence... never needs to be stained.. the deck may need a powerwash every now and then...
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Yellow Brick Road
34,510 posts, read 39,992,614 times
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Default Here is what we do

I just had a feeling others wanted to know what to do!

Here is what we have done. First, let me give you two scenarios - what to do for a new deck/fencing as opposed to what to do for an older deck/fencing.

New deck:

It used to be they said to wait for a season to let the wood "dry out." I have not only read that this is no longer necessary (b/c of the way wood is processed) but I have been told this by the lumber guys at Lowe's.

You buy a house w/ a new deck and/or fence. Both can be handled the same way. You have many choices but there after dealing w/ decks for over 35 years, here are the materials we have found work best.

Decide if you want some "color" on your deck or if you just want to protect the wood. I highly recommend some color, as in cedar color or some natural color that enhances and brightens the wood. If you want to enhance the color a bit (wh/ really is nice as the boards age) select something like a cedar color. Get a semi-transparent penetrating stain. You do not want to get into PAINT or anything that will look like paint. There are many companies out there, but you can go to a big box store like Lowes- and get Cabot's, for example. Just make sure it is semi-transparent penetrating stain. If the label does not say this, get help. Do not get misled and buy the wrong thing!!!!

You can get a sprayer and spray it on, but you will want to use a brush to make sure you have gotten in between boards. We wash off the deck/fencing w/ water first. You will not need to powerwash for a new deck/fence. Touch up w/ a brush as needed in between boards. You may not have much touch up to do.

If you want to do a protective finish only (no pigment of color) just buy Thompson's - this will put a layer of protective finish that penetrates into your boards.

So that is your method for NEW decks/fences. You will need to put the stain on again every two or three years, depending on where you live, what kind of extreme weather, etc. You will want to powerwash everything b/f you re-stain or put on Thompson's.

For older decks/fencing . . . and anything that has started to get grey looking:

Either buy or rent a powerwasher (we own one). This can be a fun project so don't dread it, LOL. It is actually rather relaxing to blast away at your boards, Hee Hee. It is not necessary you hire someone to do this, unless you have the $$ and you don't have the time.

Powerwash your deck and fence. Wait a day or two to let it dry out (check your weather ahead if possible). Then do same as the procedure above. Choose what you will want to maintain your deck - either a semi-transparent penetrating stain (wh/ I especially recommend for older decks to perk up the natural color of the wood - and I like the CEDAR color) or use Thompson's deck sealant (wh/ has no color pigment). You will want to spray it on and then touch up in between boards.

This does take time! However, we have found that it can be a very rewarding project. Using the powerwasher is not that strenuous. If you have mold, mildew or even moss - the power washer will take it off.

If you need to break this process up over several days (or two weekends) that is fine! Even if you power wash and then can't come back and stain for two weeks - don't worry about it. It will be fine. Don't look at this as an impossible task. If you have a large fence to do - just do it in sections. Don't get overwhelmed. The wood will be fine sitting there til you stain it all. We are in the process of doing a very large (tall) privacy fence that hides our outdoor spa. DH powerwashed it one weekend . . . then during the week - has attacked some spraying/brush painting . . . and so far . . . this has strung out over 3 weeks. He will finish it this weekend.

Here are some tips of things to do to prep your deck/fenching b/f you start on this project. Check all boards to make sure nothing is warped. You may need to pull out and replace any boards on a really old deck. If you replace boards, use deck screws rather than nails. If you ever specify a deck to be built, specify stainless screws rather than nails.

If your current deck has nails, go over all areas of the deck and knock down any nail pops (well, that is my term - may have made it up!!!) Get all nails flush b/f you start. Check all handrails and stairs and do that same thing. Add any screws that might be needed. Use a hand sander (electric if possible) to sand any rough edges.

Same for fencing. Carefully check stability and address any issues. Spray hinges on gates that may attach to your fencing (WD-40). I take a hand sander (electric) and sand off any rough spots on gates. If you have rotten boards, pry them out and replace. You can get Lowe's to custom cut them to size b/f you leave the store! So if you don't have the equipment to cut things - just have them cut! If the boards have a "design" on the end, consider buying a length of fence and tear it apart and use the individual boards to match up w/ any that are rotten in your fence. Or you can replace a whole section of fence. Most common styles are available at Lowes (and probably other suppliers) If you have a rotten post, well that is a bigger job, wh/ requires a lot more work. You will need to get some professional advice about tearing that out and re-inserting a post (you will have to cement it in, etc. and I have helped but am no expert).

So that is how to keep your fencing and decking looking great year after year.

You may be surprised how your neighbors come and ask you - what did you do and how do I do it???? I think homeowners just don't know what is involved and how easy it really is to keep that deck and fence looking great!!!

Maybe others will post their methods. These are just my methods that I have devised over decades of home ownership. We have built new decks as well as inherited some really awful decks!!! We thought one was so ugly it had to be removed (but it was stable) so we powerwashed and it was like a miracle - the wood turned out to be beautiful. We did some hand sanding (w/ electric sander, of course) then stained it and wow - a beautiful new looking deck. In a case of an old deck, I would ALWAYS choose a semi-transparent penetrating stain to take the color up a level.

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you put paint on your deck and fencing! Do not listen to anyone on this!!! You will live to regret it as it does peel over time!!! If you want color (and I have even done a dark grey before) stick to the semi-tranparent penetrating stains. Go to Benjamin Moore's if you are not sure what to do - and get the best advice on what to use if you want to add a color.

If you have painted "white picket fence" then that is a wholly different discussion and you need to seek out the best advice on how to care for and rejuvenate this type of look.

.

Last edited by anifani821; 04-18-2008 at 07:13 AM.. Reason: added underlining; typo
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:43 AM
Status: "Bless this mess!" (set 19 days ago)
 
5,031 posts, read 7,498,113 times
Reputation: 2294
Thank you, anifani821. This will be my next project and hopefully, I'll be able to get to it really soon. I did buy two little samples from Lowe's of Olympic semi-transparent stain (maximum penetrating oil formula) in the cedar naturaltone and sierra colors. I'm going to use it on a extra piece of cedar board and see which I prefer.

So basically, I can use the sprayer and then when it dries, see what needs to be touched up with a brush. Correct?

I did see some fences in Arlington, Texas that were stained and oh my heavens, they looked worse than the gray color. I'm concerned that I may ruin my fence and make it look all uneven that I hesitate to even attempt the job. I know I must though to preven that ugly gray. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out well.
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:44 AM
Status: "Bless this mess!" (set 19 days ago)
 
5,031 posts, read 7,498,113 times
Reputation: 2294
Quote:
Originally Posted by evilnewbie View Post
I would like a stone deck and brick fence... never needs to be stained.. the deck may need a powerwash every now and then...
This is definitely my preference as well, but my bank account wouldn't allow it.
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Old 04-18-2008, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Yellow Brick Road
34,510 posts, read 39,992,614 times
Reputation: 17919
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canine*Castle View Post
Thank you, anifani821. This will be my next project and hopefully, I'll be able to get to it really soon. I did buy two little samples from Lowe's of Olympic semi-transparent stain (maximum penetrating oil formula) in the cedar naturaltone and sierra colors. I'm going to use it on a extra piece of cedar board and see which I prefer.

So basically, I can use the sprayer and then when it dries, see what needs to be touched up with a brush. Correct?

I did see some fences in Arlington, Texas that were stained and oh my heavens, they looked worse than the gray color. I'm concerned that I may ruin my fence and make it look all uneven that I hesitate to even attempt the job. I know I must though to preven that ugly gray. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out well.
CC- you are on the right track w/ your products you selected - very nice quality and will penetrate well! The samples you got will be perfect -either one!!! Okay - how we use the sprayer - we spray and touch up w/ brushes as we go. You can spray a section and come back a while after it has dried, but to me, it is easier to spray - and if any of it drips - you catch that with your brush, and use it to get into the sides of the boards. You will figure out your own method . . . but yes, you can spray and then go back w/ the brush - even if you wait a matter of days.

Remember - the type of wood will also affect how the finished product looks. So something w/ a lot of knots - like pine - is going to take the stain different than redwood or cedar. That is why I like the cedar on treated pine - it seems to even out the knots. But anything in that color family will be very pleasing to the eye.

Also, the fences/decks that didn't look good to you - they may have chosen too dark a color or may not have used the semi-transparent penetrating stain. Or, if they were older, they may not have powerwashed b/f staining. It is ESSENTIAL that you power wash b/f staining if the boards have any age to them. This freshens and prepares the surface.
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