How tough is your deck? It has to withstand the harshness of Mother Nature on a regular basis. Depending on where you live, it’s exposed to extreme cold and/or extreme heat. It’s periodically bombarded with rain showers, snow, wind, or maybe even hail. The sun’s powerful UV rays beat down on it for hours on end.
Since harsh elements weaken your deck over time, it has to be tough. It’s your job to keep it that way with periodic staining. When professionally applied, a stain on your deck floor can last anywhere from 1 to 3 years, and stain on railings and vertical surfaces can last up to 8 years.
But when is the best time to stain a deck? Let’s review seven of the most common signs your deck is ready to be stained.
When to Stain a Deck: 7 Tell-Tale Signs
1) Water Soaks Through
The best way to know if your deck needs staining is to try the wood test. Pour a small amount of water on the deck. If the water beads up, it doesn’t need any new stain. If the water is absorbed immediately, the deck could use some TLC with high quality stain.
2) Wood is Faded
How does the current stain look? Is it faint and unattractive? If it’s faded in spots, all over, or no longer looks appealing, it may be time for a fresh coat. This is more of a subjective sign, so it’s up to you to decide when you feel your deck could benefit from professionally-applied stain.
3) Splitting or Splintering Wood
If you notice splintering, cracked, or loose boards that need replacing, it’s likely a prime time to give the entire deck a fresh new stain. Replace the unsightly boards with strong, new ones, then hire professional painters to apply a cohesive stain. You’ll want the new wood to match the old wood so the entire deck looks seamless.
4) Uneven or Peeling Wood
Is the old stain peeling or coming off? Does it look uneven or unsightly? No one wants an unattractive, dilapidated deck. If you find yourself cringing when you look at your deck, or you’re embarrassed for others to see it, you know it’s the best time to stain your deck.
5) Wood Looks Dry
Refinishing your deck with new stain can restore the old wood to its original beauty. Stain keeps the wood protected and hydrated without allowing water to penetrate and warp it, so it’s important to protect dry wood with stain.
6) Loose, Rusted Screws
Over time, building materials like bolts and screws can rust and loosen. This impacts the structural integrity of your wooden deck. If you notice rusted screws and bolts, replace them pronto.
7) Wood Feels Spongy and Soft
When you walk on the deck, do the boards feel firm and strong? Or do they give a little and have a spongy feel? If it’s the latter, now is the time to strengthen them with a professional stain job. If you wait too long, the wood will be too far gone to protect with fresh stain and you’ll have to replace the wood boards (or in some cases, the entire deck.)
Ready to Stain Your Deck?
When your deck is exposed day in and day out to the elements, it can quickly look worse from wear. If it needs a facelift, a refresh or a full-on overhaul, deck staining professionals are the better choice compared to tackling the project yourself.
If you have a wood deck, it’s crucial to keep it stained properly to ensure longevity. When you hire professionals for your deck staining project, they will use one to two coats of proper, high-quality semi-transparent, semi-opaque or solid deck stain to keep your deck looking just the way you like it.