The nice Spring weather is finally here in southern Ontario and if you are like me, there is a lot of exterior work to be done around your house. My battle is which takes priority: my deck or my fence? Like the classic Bugs Bunny/ Daffy Duck bit “Duck Season! Rabbit Season! Duck Season! Rabbit Season!”, I have to decide if it is “Deck Season!” or “Fence Season!”. After a bit of thought, I made a decision: why not do both?
My deck currently has many layers of solid stain & floor paint (UGH!!!) on it that I have been slowly removing from my deck by power washer, deck stripper & sanding. My fence has a very cheap solid stain that was applied by the previous owner and I have been slowly removing it by power washer & sanding. My plan was to paint over the deck with a floor paint in a solid cedar colour and to use a translucent cedar stain on the phone. The prep work would be less, I would have a complimentary two tone look and it would look worlds better than what I have now. However, I knew that once it was done, I would be kicking myself for not putting the time & effort in to make it look fantastic. Follow along with me as I guide you through the steps to staining your deck & fence.
- Power wash your fence & deck to remove loose stain, dirt & grime. I like to use a deck cleaner along with my power washer to get as much of the grime off as humanly possible. The cleaner the deck is, the better it will look. Warning: do not use a gas powered power washer as the psi (Pressure per square inch) will be too high & will damage the wood. Use an electric washer and make sure that you are using a tip with a lower power setting. Practice in some inconspicuous areas prior to tackling the main areas. Give 3 dry days after washing before sanding.
- Sand the wood. I do this for a few reasons. A) It removes the “fuzzies” on the wood which is left behind after power washing and smooths out the surface, B) it open up the grain of the wood to accept the stain better and C) helps to remove any debris left over after power washing. For decks, I usually sand 2X using a 36 grit to really open up the grain of the wood & then 80-100 grit to get the wood ready for staining. For a fence, I usually use 80-100 grit for one sanding as vertical surfaces do not get the exposure or traffic of horizontal surfaces.
- Sweep/ dust/ vacuum the surface. For a deck, I like to get my leaf blower out, blow the dust off the deck and then run my vacuum over the whole area. I find it gets the most dust off and dust can inhibit both the look & performance of your stain. For fences, I usually use the leaf blower and then an old paint brush to sweep the dust off. Again, dust can cause a bad looking finish so it is important to clean it off the surface to be painted.
- Staining or “Let The Fun Begin!”. After all of that prep work & I won’t lie, prep is tedious and hard, you actually get to see the fruits of your labour. I always use Sico Proluxe (formerly Sikkens) for my exterior wood. A quality oil-based, VOC compliant product, CETOL SRD from Sico Proluxe, can be used on just about any exterior surface. It is one coat application, dries to a breathable matte finish and will hold up on both vertical & horizontal surfaces. For application, I always recommend brushing the product on. I like to use a 4″ brush that attaches to a pole for staining my deck so that I don’t break my back & knees by crawling around all day. It makes life much easier as it saves time & strain on your body. I prefer a 3″ or 4″ brush with a comfortable handle to stain fencing as it covers a wide area & isn’t too heavy, causing hand fatigue through the course of the day. For any tech-y types that want to spray the surface, you can do that but I highly, highly, highly recommend back brushing the product so that it penetrates into the wood. Why spend all of this time & energy on proper prep to cut corners on the final step?
Now, you get to enjoy the finished product. Whether it is the deck that wows every BBQ visitor this summer or the fence that draws “Ohs” & “Ahs” from the neighbours, enjoy it because while it is hard work, it was your hard work and the results are something to be proud of. If this sounds like too much work for you, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We offer a professional exterior staining services & will be happy to give you a free quote. Take a look at our stain work in the Portfolio section or at our renovation website at decoratedesignbuild.com .After all, your home is your castle so you should enjoy your royal surroundings!