Decking is a lovely addition to your garden or yard and makes an excellent place for people to relax and enjoy the summer months. With a canopy and perhaps a heater, you have a great place to spend warm days and evenings in the company of friends and family, and it is an attractive feature too. To keep decking in good condition and usable does not take a great deal of maintenance, but it is essential that you protect the wood from the elements. After all, it is going to take a lot of battering from rain, snow, wind, and – not forgetting – the sun, all of which result in wear and tear.
How best to protect your deck? Staining decking with a dedicated wood stain is advisable – a quality one will be available from your local garden or hardware store or at many online outlets – as it gives the wood an extra layer of protection. Staining is not a difficult job to carry out, but there are certain things you need to do before you get your brush or spray out and start the job! Let’s have a look at the preparation that is needed in advance of staining your deck for summer.
Preparing Your Deck
There is plenty of advice on well-informed websites about decking, how to lay it, and how to maintain it, which we recommend you check out. So, where do you start when preparing a deck for summer? The first thing you need to do is get rid of all the debris that will have built up over the autumn and winter months. A stiff brush is a good starting point, with which you can brush away all the leaves, twigs, and other items that have been brought in on the wind or fallen from the trees. But that’s not enough!
To get the very best effect, you need to be prepared to put some time and effort into preparing your decking, so once you have cleared the deck of debris, you need to have a good look an check that everything is in order. This means looking for broken sections of deck, screws or nails that may be protruding, or other problems that stand out. Make sure you do your best to rectify problems such as this before you start coating the deck.
One sensible piece of advice we keep reading is this: if you have access to a pressure washer, it’s a great way of getting rid of not only the debris but also any moss or grime that may build up on the deck when it’s not in use (when it is in use, a good rinse is advised every now and again). So, let’s talk about deck stain and what to look for when buying it.
Choosing the Deck Stain
There are many brands of deck stain on the market, so which do you choose? First, we strongly recommend you stay away from cheap offerings: use the ‘if it looks too good to be true; it probably is’ rule when checking out prices. Very, very cheap deck stain will not do the job, and will simply be a waste of your money. You need a quality brand, and that means checking out the availability at your local garden center or hardware store. There is some good advice here about the best brands, so it’s worth checking that out as a source of information.
Once you have found your deck stain – ask at the garden center for advice as they will be happy to point you in the direction of quality products – you can start getting ready to apply the stain. So how are you going to do it? The traditional way is with a brush or roller, but you might want to look at using a paint sprayer or similar device. This is the best method for larger areas of decking and will cut down on time it takes to do the job. You may also find that you can fit in spraying your fences and garden buildings while you have the equipment ready!
A Few Tips
To finish, here are a few sensible tips that will help you achieve the best results:
- Check for debris and dirt, and check again, as any surface problems will make a difference
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to how much to apply
- Apply the stain in dry weather, and leave it to dry completely before you start using the deck
- Keep animals and children away while you are doing the job
- Wear protective clothing when spraying or painting
Staining a deck is not a difficult job, and if you follow the advice above, you’ll find it’s one that can be done with efficiency in very little time, and you’ll have beautiful decking for the summer.