The ABC's & D's of Deck Care


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Round Up Tools and Products

Here are the tools and products most commonly used for a deck staining project. All of these items are readily available at any home improvement store.
Personally, we don't recommend a power washer unless you know how to use one. You can actually damage the wood if the pressure is too high. Even if you use a power washer, begin with a ready-to-use deck cleaner and use the power washer for extra rinsing muscle, keeping it at 1,200 - 1,500 PSI. 

Choosing a Deck Cleaner

Remember when we "assessed" what was on the deck? That will guide you in choosing a deck cleaner. If there is dirt and stains from mildew but no coating, then a general purpose cleaner like Thompson's® WaterSeal® 3 in 1 Wood Cleaner will work on any type of wood.
If there is an old peeling coating, you have two options - Thompson's® WaterSeal® Heavy Duty Deck Cleaner will remove anything but a solid deck stain. Thompson's® WaterSeal® Maximum Strength Deck Stripper is the strongest option and will remove any coating - even a solid stain. If your deck is made of redwood or cedar,Thompson's® WaterSeal® 3 in 1 Wood Cleaner will help restore those wood's natural color.

Tools for Staining

Here are the additional tools you will need for your deck staining project:
  • Painter's Tape - tape off any areas of the house that are right up against the deck
  • Paint Pad - this will go on the end of the same pole used for scrubbing the deck
  • Brush - for railings or tight areas
  • Paint Pan - to hold the stain
Many deck stains clean up with soap and water, but check the label instructions and pick up paint thinner for clean-up, if needed.

And of course ...

A waterproofing coating. Thompson's® WaterSeal® offers several choices, from a clear waterproofer to a solid deck stain. A clear waterproofer does not change the wood's natural color. A transparent stain adds a hint of color and shows the most wood grain. A semi-transparent stain adds medium color and shows medium wood grain. A solid stain adds the most color and shows the least wood grain. Thompson's® WaterSeal® Waterproofing Stains combine stain and sealer in one - there's no need for an additional sealer or protective coating over the stain.

Selecting the Perfect Color

It's a matter of personal choice if you want a light or dark shade of deck stain, but we like to suggest that you try to contrast with the color of your house. If your siding is light-colored, it will look great with a darker shade of deck stain.

Applying the Stain

You can use a roller or a brush to apply deck coatings, but we recommend the pad on the long pole. This keeps you from getting down on your hands and knees. Some - not all - deck coatings can be sprayed on, but if you use a sprayer, be sure to go back over the deck stain with a paint pad, brush or roller to work it into the wood and help keep the color uniform.
DON'T FORGET TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS on your product! Not all products work exactly the same, so be sure to read and follow the instructions found on your can.