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Deck DIY Tips and Tricks

Deck DIY Tips and Tricks

Helpful Deck Maintenance Tips and Tricks

Regarding Deck Stain

- The darker the stain, the slower it will break down and the more UV protection it will provide.  Darker stains last a little longer and provide more protection because most of the UV protective qualities are found within the pigments.

- Avoid film building stains that "seal" from moisture like Thompson's WaterSeal.  In Central Oregon it's very important that your finish be penetrating and permeable.  Film building stains fail quickly on the High Desert.

 - Stir your stain often with a stir stick. Shaking or swirling the can doesn’t get the pigments off the bottom of the can.  If you forget to stir, your stain will appear darker and darker as you get closer to the bottom!

- In Central Oregon, due to our climate, oil-based products are recommended over water based stains.  


Cleaning Tips for Your Deck

- Your deck should receive some light cleaning once to twice a year- after winter (or after pollen falls) and before your deck is covered in snow for the winter.  This cleaning can be performed with a soft bristle brush and mild deck cleaner.  The idea here is to remove dust, dirt, and pollen from the surface, not to deep clean the deck.  Think of washing your car versus cleaning grout in your kitchen.

- Your deck should be swept free of debris like leaves, pine needles, birch tree flowers, and pollen.  Do this often before stains on your deck can form. 


Keeping Your Deck Looking Beautiful

- Pick up deck furniture when moving chairs and tables to avoid scratches on your deck.

- Keep pots and plants raised and rotate them around the deck to avoid stains on your deck.

- Adjust sprinkler heads to avoid watering your deck.

- Sweep your deck when snow accumulates rather than shovel.  The hard shovel can easily scratch and damage your deck.

- Review the condition of your deck each year and determine if a maintenance coat is necessary.  Occasionally we'll skip a year of maintenance, but most people with exposed decks need annual maintenance.


Pollen and Your Deck

- Avoid staining when pollen levels are high.  Pollen can get sealed into the stain, later blooming into small black spots.  We generally take the month of June off from staining decks for this reason.

- Clean pollen off your deck and stained surfaces regularly.


Safety When Staining Your Deck

- Always wear protective gloves and eye wear when working with stain.  One drop in your eye from stirring your container or pouring from the bucket can be a serious problem.  

- Wear respirators to avoid prolonged exposure to harmful stain fumes.  Common ailments from prolonged exposure include headaches and dizziness.

- Never leave any wadded or folded stain rags left unattended.  Every year multiple fires are started from people leaving stain rags out.  It can take just a few seconds for a stain rag to combust.  Soak your rags/brushes in water when finished staining.


Other Helpful Deck Tips

Rental tip: If you rent equipment after 3 pm on Friday and return it by 8:30 am Monday most companies only charge a one-day rate ($57.50 at Hooker Creek for a big box sander).

- Vacuum up sanding debris to protect sensitive pets from potential harmful exposure.

Sanding tip: make sure all surfaces are sanded down to the same grit level.  This will ensure a nice even tone.  Generally the more coarse areas will appear darker because the roughness holds more stain.  

Sanding tip: too fine of sandpaper is actually worse for your deck.  Stop at 100 grit, you want some openness to the wood so stain can penetrate.  A polished piece of wood absorbs less stain and will require greater maintenance.

- Don't leave too much stain on the surface!  It should appear even throughout, so buff out those knot holes and dense areas with a dry rag.  Too much stain can lead to shiny sticky areas that collect dust, dirt, pollen, and pet hair.  

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