The ABC's & D's of Deck Care


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Create the Look of Your Outdoor Living Room

The last step is the most fun of all - it's where you get to begin creating the look of your outdoor deck. Remember you have options. Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Waterproofing Wood Protector - Clear doesn't change the color of the wood. Transparent deck stain adds a hint of color and shows the most wood grain. Semi-transparent deck stain adds medium color and shows medium wood grain. Solid deck stain adds the most color and shows the least wood grain.

Don't Forget to Read the Label

Again, read the label directions one more time before you get started. The label will give you weather guidelines, such as recommended outdoor temperature for application. It's also a good idea to avoid windy and rainy days.
Also, check the label for the recommended waiting time between deck cleaning and staining. Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Waterproofing Stains can be applied to damp wood, so you only have to wait about two hours to begin applying stain. Some of our other products require that the wood dry for 48 hours before applying a deck coating.

Almost Time to Stain

Last step - put painter's tape along any areas where the deck is right up against the house to avoid getting stain on your brick or siding.
The color of the wood can actually affect the look of some stains, so definitely test the stain in an inconspicuous corner of the deck or on scrap lumber to ensure you like the color. If it looks good, go ahead and get started!
If you have railings, you should start with them first. You won't want to walk on the main deck for a few hours after it's stained.

Applying the Stain

When you're ready for the main deck, dip the paint pad into the stain and squeeze out the excess by pressing it against the top edge of the pan. Start applying the stain to just a few boards at a time. Don't put it on too thick. One thin, even coat does the job.
Keep working in small areas before moving on - this way, the leading edge of your stain stays wet, avoiding lap marks when the stain dries. It's okay to go back over your work and catch any spots you missed and to be sure the stain is worked into the wood.
It's exciting to see the change taking place right in front of your eyes! 

Some Other Things to Note

Usually your deck boards are close enough together that you don't need to worry about getting in between them - but if they are further apart, you can take a paint brush and smooth any stain that goes down the sides.
Also, if the bottom of your deck is accessible, you can apply a coat of stain to it. Staining all exposed wood gives your deck maximum protection.

You're Almost There

Don't be surprised if it's actually faster to stain the deck than to clean it. Just keep adding more stain as you need it and moving down the deck.
One coat is enough, but if more color is desired, a second coat can be applied within two hours before the first coat has dried.
With Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Waterproofing Stains, you can clean your tools with soap and water. Let the deck dry for at least 24 hours and you're ready to replace the furniture.

How Long Will Your Stain Last?

You may be wondering how long the stain will last. That's going to vary with the environment and how you use your deck, but the more pigment or coloring in a deck coating, the longer it will last. So a solid stain will last longer than a semi-transparent or transparent stain, but you give up seeing the natural wood grain. And a stain will last longer on a vertical surface, like a fence vs. a horizontal surface, like a deck. Remember to perform the splash test to determine when you need to clean and seal again.

But Until Then ...

Enjoy the good times on your deck! Thompson’s® WaterSeal® waterproofers will be working to protect your favorite outdoor space. 
Remember - if you take things step by step, you can get a beautiful end result even on your first deck makeover!

There you have it—the ABCs and Ds of a deck makeover. Assess The Deck, Begin Gathering Tools, Clean and “Deck”orate. Four steps to beautiful deck—even if it's your first try!