Dos and don’ts when it comes to staining wooden decks and fences

Spring has arrived, and that means, patio, deck and backyard time is finally here! Many homeowners who have wooden decks and fences will think of remodelling and rejuvenating the wooden structure. But, this costly undergoing should be approached very carefully, especially in weather conditions Canada has.

Wooden deck

Staining decks and fences is an excellent way to protect and enhance their appearance. However, there are some dos and don’ts that you need to keep in mind to ensure that your staining project is successful. In this article, we’ll cover some important tips to help you get the most out of your deck and fence staining efforts.

Canadian weather conditions and how it effects wood stain

As we all know, Canada has some of the most extreme seasons and temperature swings. During summer months we can have temperatures exceeding 30 degree celsius and during winter, we could have cold temperatures as low as -40 degrees. This big swing in temperatures expands and retracts surfaces, making many structures not ideal for staining or painting. But there are even more things to consider when choosing to stain or seal wooden decks and fences! We have to keep in mind the wood type, age of lumber, amount of snow fall, UV ray exposure and many more.

Snow on wooden decks for instance can deteriorate stain because snow will turn into ice, it will move with wind, it will move with new snow fall, when it melts and especially when someone walks on it. This snow and ice movement will act as sand paper on wood, many homeowners are surprised to see a newly stained deck peeling in the spring.

UV rays can also damage lumber and stain that is used to prevent such UV damage. Keep in mind that air temperature of 30 degrees celsius can mean 60 degrees and more on deck surfaces. UV rays and high temperatures will speed up the break apart of solid, semi solid and even clear stains.

New and weathered lumber must be treated differently. Brand new lumber like pressure treated wood can’t be stained the way and weathered lumber can. Weathered lumber will have more cracks and grooves, newly installed wood planks will instead have chemicals protecting the surface which will on the other hand prevent certain stain type to adhere properly.

Vertical and horizontal wooden surfaces will not be exposed to weather the same way. Snow will not sit on upright surfaces while horizontal surfaces will be covered in snow for the most of Canadian winter.

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Firstly, let’s start with the dos of staining decks and fences:

  1. Do choose the right stain for your deck or fence. Different types of wood require different types of stains. Ensure that you select a stain that is suitable for your wood type and the location of your deck or fence. For example, if your deck is exposed to direct sunlight, you may want to choose a UV-resistant stain.
  2. Do prepare your deck or fence properly before staining. Proper preparation includes cleaning, sanding, and removing any previous stains or sealants. Failing to prepare your wood properly can result in an uneven finish or an insufficient level of protection.
  3. Do apply the stain evenly. Apply the stain with a brush, roller, or sprayer, depending on the type of stain and the size of the project. Apply the stain in the direction of the wood grain and ensure that you don’t leave any drips or puddles.
  4. Do allow sufficient time for the stain to dry. Depending on the type of stain, you may need to wait for several hours or even a day before applying a second coat or using your deck or fence.
  5. Do apply a sealant after staining. A sealant will help to protect your wood from water damage, mold, and mildew. Ensure that you select a sealant that is compatible with your stain and wood type.

Now, let’s move on to the don’ts of staining decks and fences:

  1. Don’t rush the staining process. Take your time and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Rushing can lead to mistakes, uneven application, and an unsatisfactory finish.
  2. Don’t apply the stain in direct sunlight or on a hot day. Direct sunlight and heat can cause the stain to dry too quickly, resulting in an uneven finish or even peeling.
  3. Don’t apply too much stain. Applying too much stain can result in a sticky or tacky surface that won’t dry properly. It can also lead to peeling or flaking in the future.
  4. Don’t apply stain if rain is in the forecast. Rain can wash away the stain before it has a chance to dry properly.
  5. Don’t neglect to maintain your deck or fence after staining. Regular cleaning and resealing will help to extend the life of your stain and protect your wood from damage.

Staining a deck or wooden fence could exceed $2000 in cost, making this project a costly one for many, therefor this project needs careful planing and need to be done taking all the influences in account.

Keep in mind that staining and sealing deck or fence could take up to a week when done properly because stain can only be applied on dry surfaces at certain temperatures. Failing to do so will shorten the life of stain and sealant adhering to lumber.

Should this process be to much hassle for you, calling deck and fence maintenance professionals would be a great choice.

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