The idea of a decking area is appealing as it is a fantastic and versatile outdoor space to have in the garden, however if it is timber or wood decking and gets old and worn out in a couple of years – something needs to be done.
The good news is, there is now an innovative new material that looks like timber decking boards but does not require the same level of work to maintain. This is worthwhile considering when getting new decking. It is also useful to know that timber decking boards can be replaced by composite decking boards directly over the same structure when the work of staining becomes too much.
This article aims to generate awareness of the work involved in maintenance if you are considering buying timber decking. It is easy to underestimate and it will of course be too late once wooden decking has been installed. If you already own timber decking, it may well be worth browsing the steps described below, packed with useful advice from composite decking experts.
1. Picking a day
Before the work of staining even begins, there may be a difficulty already… Staining timber decking requires the correct weather for at least 24 hours after staining has been completed (to include drying time) and this is only when one coat is needed. General recommendation is a cloudy day with moderate temperatures, as applying stain in direct sunlight can make it difficult to avoid lap marks since the stain will dry so quickly. It is tricky enough planning a day off your routine to do the work. Throw in the weather requirement, and it becomes quite challenging just deciding when to do it!
2. Picking the correct staining material
There are many different types of staining materials (eg oil base, water base etc). The options for staining products can be minefield. It is a good idea to first test the type of paint that has been used on existing decking before deciding what to buy. To do this, try a patch test with Xylene or a standard thinner. This is an important step, as different types of stain react differently on existing surfaces that may have been stained previously.
3. Pre-staining preparation
The timber decking first needs to be cleaned. To do this, it needs a bit of scrubbing with water, or jet wash. If there is oil stain, it will need to be washed off with detergent. Then it needs to be left to completely dry out before staining can begin. It is advisable to use a large canvas cloth to place on area where the paint and tray will be put.
4. Planning your exit strategy
This is a crucial step, where incorrect planning can ruin your day’s work. It has (of course) happened more than once: a homeowner stains himself into a corner – sandwiched between the freshly oiled deck and the adjoining house! Better to start at the house end first and work outwards. If you need to change plan, just make sure you finish at the stairs or at the end. This means you can exit the deck when the staining has been completed.
There are easier options or methods but basically whichever you choose, there are downsides and difficulties. Here’s what the expert at The Spruce says:
Staining the deck surface can be done a number of ways. You can use a pressurised sprayer (and deal with wind possibly staining the side of your house), or you can use a brush (if you like to kneel and bend over for hours at a time) or you can use a large pad applicator (the very best approach).
The paint pad applicator does a great job in providing a nice, even coating of stain and covers large areas quickly. The only downside is the possibility of poor coverage in the cracks between the deck boards if you have a deck with larger gaps.
In that case, you may have to use a brush to get the joints, wipe off the stain from the surface while it is wet, then use a pad applicator for the deck surface. Or, since you’re down there staining the joints by hand, you may just want to stain the deck boards, too, while maintaining a wet edge on the brush. If you do stain the deck with a brush, use a 3-” to 4″-wide brush.
If you have timber railing on the deck, you will need to start with staining your railing first.
6. Cleaning up
If using oil based products, cleaning up paint applicator tools requires paint thinner or white spirit. Be sure to include this in your shopping list. Paint thinner must be handled with care and oily rags disposed accordingly.
7. Drying the deck out
The deck must be kept out of bounds for 24 hours for drying. Remember to keep your pets indoors. As for bird droppings, you just have to keep your fingers crossed. This process is to be repeated if another coat is needed which means you will need good weather and the deck out of bounds for more than 48 hours!
8. Regular maintenance
According to The Spruce, your deck will be protected for 1 to 3 years only which means you will need to repeat this process after couple of Summers!
Composite decking is an ideal alternative to timber decking without need for staining. This is made from recycled wood and plastic components and all it requires is a little wash with soapy water if it gets dirty. This can take just a few minutes on a normal size decking area.
Fiberon’s solid composite decking boards are fully encapsulated with a PermaTech polymer skin so that it is totally resistant to water, stain and fade – a perfect solution for a pain free and beautiful deck.