Friday, May 14, 2010

Deck Staining (Answer)

Hey Mark,

It is difficult to put a time factor on when it is safe to seal, paint or stain newly constructed porches or decks. What really matters is the moisture content of the material. The moisture content for paint, sealer, and stain applications should not exceed 14 percent. To determine the moisture content, you will need to rent a moisture meter. Some of these meters have probes that look like pins; they are only intended to touch on the surface for the moisture reading, not actually inserted into the material.

For older decks, it’s a bit easier to determine when to stain or reseal. A simple test would be to check the deck after a short or moderate rainfall – or pour a half-cup of water on slowly. If water is beading on the surface, the deck is sealed and protected. If the water is absorbed quickly, it’s time to reseal.

There are many brands and types of deck finish; none is perfect for all situations. Their success lies not in the type of ingredients – or the price – but in how well they penetrate the wood. The more they soak into the wood, the longer the finish will last. Be sure, however, to get a sealer with ultraviolet protection, since sun can be your deck’s worst enemy.


Thanks for your question.

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