Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.
What should I do to finish my cedar deck? It’s been up for eight years but I have yet to find a deck stain I’m happy with. I’m really getting tired of applying a finish and then pressure washing it off the following year.
Maintaining a wooden deck finish is one of those jobs that turns out to be more work than meets the eye at first, at least for most people, for two reasons. First, deck surfaces are a harsh environment, with lots of stress from sunshine, moisture and abrasion. And to make matters worse, most deck stains don’t actually perform very well, even when applied properly after the right kind of prep work. I know because I’ve been testing deck stains since 1990.
I’ve put together a free list of four different deck staining products that I know work well. You can download a copy at my Real Rural Life blog. I’m sure other reliable deck stains are out there, but I know for sure these work.
After choosing the right product, you’ll need to prep the surface correctly, and this is where many people mess up. Both new wood and older wood needs to be prepped. Even a good deck stain will fail prematurely without proper prep.
The best approach involves pressure washing with plain water, and then sanding the wood after it’s completely dry using a 60- or 80-grit abrasive in a random orbit sander.
Are you building a new deck? Would you like it to last twice as long as average decks? Check out my video ebook on deck designs that last and resist rot.
Steve Maxwell and his family have homesteaded on Manitoulin Island since 1985. You can learn more about Steve’s mortgage-free homestead story at the Real Rural Life blog.