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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Finishing a Wood Deck

Finishing or refinishing a deck is on a lot of to-do lists. While this seems like a large project to take on, with a mix of the right tools and a top quality wood stain you can complete the task with a great end result. Timber decks look great on granny flats and kit homesHere are five pointers that will help stain deck wood like a professional:

1. Prep the surface – This is the most important part of finishing a deck - good surface preparation. Consider that an improperly done or insufficiently prepped surface leads to coating failures and preparation is the key step in finishing your surface correctly.

Clean the surface – this is most the important, to remove dirt, debris and flaking from the original finish. You can do this with a power washer (the easiest) or by scrubbing the surface with a stiff brush and a wood cleaner such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) or use a commercial cleaner.

Redwood, cedar and mahogany wood requires cleaners that are specially formulated for those types of woods.

If you’re stripping a finish, follow manufacturer instructions carefully. Work in small areas so the wood cleaner won’t dry before you get a chance to clean it off.

When your deck is dry, sanding may be required to remove the remaining finish and ensure a smooth surface.

2. When choosing your deck finish, consider the following:

   How old is your deck?
   What kind of wood is your deck made of?
   What type of finish is currently on the deck?
   What kind of finish are you looking for?
   What size is the deck?

Translucent or Pigmented finishes add color to the deck, while still allowing the wood grain and texture to be visible. Deck color and porosity have a direct impact on the final color and appearance.

Semi-transparent finishes add a color to the wood. Products in this category still show wood grain and texture while hiding a little of its natural appearance. Deck color and porosity have a direct impact on the final color and appearance.

Solid finishes do not show any wood grain. The type of wood on your deck does not have an impact on the final colour, it depends entirely on the finish product used.

Coverage varies according to the type of wood and the type of deck stain you’re using. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for calculating how much deck stain you need.

3. Use the right tools – Make sure to choose the appropriate brush or roller or sprayer for your finish. Rollers and sprayers cover a larger area than brushes, but not all finishes are suitable for these methods. Be sure to check the product for best recommendations.

In general, oil based products require a premium bristle brush, and for water based products a high quality nylon polyester brush is best. Brushes should be used for narrow or tight spots such as railings and steps.

4. Read the instructions – Before beginning, read all the manufacturer’s directions. This can help find trouble areas ahead of time and make the application process go smoothly.

5. Take your time – Michael King, Building Designer for the Nova Design Group says the most important point is to take your time when applying your deck finish and do it right. Shortcuts will only lead to problems down the road.

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