Many properties now have outside areas of decking. This leaves many of us with the question of ‘how often should you stain your deck?’ We will look at the question of the frequency of staining a deck as part of a regular maintenance program.
It is important that your deck is maintained and cared for properly once installed. This serves to preserve the timber and prevent deterioration and staining whilst keeping it looking and functioning at its best.
If you are new to the property and don’t know when it was last treated then the accepted test to see if it needs doing is to check out your decking after a rain storm – if the deck still repels water then you are ok to put the job off slightly longer – if it isn’t, then you need to re-treat your deck.
How often should you stain your deck?
The accepted advice is that the horizontal surface will need re-staining every two to three years, but, like all advice, it then depends on individual circumstances:
Is the deck in an exposed location? Does it get subjected to full sunlight? Driving rain? Or is it protected by the house from the brunt of the weather? Most damage to your decking will come in the form of weather damage. The staining will age much quicker as a result of weather damage, making the deck underneath vulnerable. If the location is exposed, decrease the time between re-treatments.
How much wear does your deck get? If the deck is crossed to get to the property, continually, then certainly the tracked areas will wear much quicker – and the treatment time will decrease. If it is a separate area at the back of the property which sees little use then you may be able to extend the life of the treatment a little.
If the decking is underneath trees or shaded then it is more likely to grow algae, fungus or mould and go green and discolor. This will need regular cleaning and will mean that the integrity of the stain will need to be maintained. If the trees shed leaves then they should be cleared from the decking area – they will retain moisture and prevent the decking from drying out, again, something that means that you need to be more diligent with the re-staining.
The product previously used
All products have slightly different guidelines – the product you have used, and how carefully you applied it, will both have a bearing on how long the stain will last. Doing a thorough job, stripping the old stain before re-applying, and following the manufacturers, instructions will all lead to a job that increases the time before you have to repeat it.
The surrounding area
In extreme conditions such as adjacent to beaches, the sand tracked onto the decking will scour away the stain much quicker. Looking at the approach to the decking, and considering what is being tracked onto it may well help you to extend the time between coats of stain.
So how often should you stain your deck? You should stain your deck as often as it needs. A good rule of thumb would be every two to three years, regular maintenance, cleaning, and observation will help support this and maybe take it to the three-year mark, depending on the location of the decking.
If you neglect your decking, don’t maintain it or clean it, and it is in a location that increases wear, then you may need to do it every year or two.