Angie's List: Top deck staining mistake

Angie's List

If you're having second thoughts about planning a backyard barbeque because your deck is drab, September is a great time of year to stain your deck. 

It preps it for winter, and the weather tends to be warm and dry, perfect for stain to set.

Paint vs Stain

Should you stain or paint? John Nearon with Exterior Wood Restoration advised homeowners to stain.

"As the wood shrinks and expands with changes in moisture and temperature, the paint doesn't always have the ability to move at the exact same rate. The only thing it can do at that point is release and let go of the wood, and that manifests itself in cracking, peeling and chipping of the coating," Nearon said.

Painted areas can hold water, while a stain and sealer allow moisture to escape the wood. Also, stains won't chip, peel or crack.

Although the better choice, deck staining isn't always a simple weekend DIY project.

Many people don't do it correctly, which means it has to be done again the next year, according to our partners at the consumer guide Angie's List.

Top Deck Staining Mistake

The biggest mistake homeowners make, according to Angie's List: not thoroughly prepping the deck.

That means scrubbing it of dirt, mold, and algae. If your wood deck has algae on it (common in shady areas), the stain will not adhere, and will wash off during the winter rains.

Consult with a home improvement store as to the best way to clean your deck:  simply hosing it off is not enough.

If you don't have time to do the proper prep work, Angie's List founder Angie Hicks suggests seeking professional help.

"Find out what types of materials they are going to use and remember, if they are going to have to do a lot of prep work, like stripping old paint or stain, that's going to cost extra," Hicks said.

Keep in mind that wood decks need to be re-stained every few years because even the best stains will fade, especially in high-traffic areas.

But if you do it well,. it won't need restaining for 3 or 4 years, and that way you don't waste your money.

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