Refinishing decks is actually fun for us. We see all kinds of decks and all kinds of conditions. Once we accept that a deck can be restored to its original surface condition (or near new), we attack the job. The deck pictured below was not in the worst shape but it had aging problems with deeply embedded stain and weathering in cracks that had formed. Some decks we see look worse but are easier to sand as the damage is more surface oriented.
First we clean (moderate power wash) the deck entirely to get rid of loose material from peeling and flaking, we also make sure splinters are removed and all deck screws are back into the wood and making the deck secure. In this case we had to go a bit deeper to get at the aging gray areas knowing we would need to sand deeper to get to the fresh wood.
Once the deck is ready we begin with sanding. Those with experience will know that sanding is a labour intensive process if you want to have a beautiful finish, the entire top layer of the wood needs to be shed to allow the stain to penetrate the wood. Some of you might be thinking, "why not avoid the sanding and just paint the deck"? Sure, there are limitless colours and a lot of labour could be avoided.
But, this is a mistake. We at King City Decks have seen countless surfaces, new and old, ruined by the smothering properties of latex paint solid stains. Wood needs to breathe and expel moisture to prevent rot and decay. With a solid covering the rate of decay is exponentially increased and can often spread into the deck frame itself.
When we are sanding it sometimes necessary to begin with rough grit paper when deck hasn't been looked after for years, but we usually finish up with 80/100 finer grit paper to best prep for staining as we did here on this deck. The wood looked new and ready to receive the protective oil stain finish.
The deck is prepped, we now wait for weather to behave with about 3 nice sunny days in a row, and apply the stain/sealer in the tint selected by the customer. We use Cutek premium stain because it is simply the best available coating and sealer on the market. It's time to apply some stain. with Cutek products, the colour tones are added to the oil by us so there are actually many options to tint your surface to your personal taste. Adding the colour tones also increases the UV protection for the wood keeping your deck looking newer for longer.
When applying stain we always complete full deck boards continuous one end to the other and we don't allow partially stained wood pieces to dry, otherwise there is a risk of lines or uneven spots showing up on the finish. We rarely use a roller and prefer a deck brush - typically the width of a deck board with many bristles to allow for maximum stain penetration and even distribution. The oil-based stains work by soaking deep into the wood fibers to provide lasting protection and a breathable surface. In fact, Cutek is designed to build up protection over years with a compounding effect the more staining that is done. Less stain is needed in subsequent applications as part of a long term preservation program.
Voila! Your deck is looking brand new and is much more protected from the elements. We recommend cleaning the deck regularly with a light cleaner and garden hose, and reapplying stain every two years to maximize the lifespan of your deck. With constant upkeep, no further sanding is required.
Durability and Maintenance
Let's start with one of the most important factors to consider: durability and maintenance. You want your deck to be able to withstand the elements and the wear and tear of regular use without requiring constant upkeep. Some materials, like wood, require regular sealing and staining to protect against rot and decay. Others, like composite decking, are virtually maintenance-free and only need occasional cleaning to look their best.
If you're looking for a material that is both durable and low-maintenance, composite decking is a great option. Made from a blend of recycled plastics and wood fibers, composite decking is resistant to mold, mildew, fading, and stains. It doesn't require sanding, staining, or sealing, making it a hassle-free choice for busy homeowners.
Aesthetics and Design
Your deck is an extension of your home, so it's important to choose a material that complements your home's style and your personal taste. Wood decking is known for its natural beauty and warmth, and it comes in a variety of colors and finishes. Composite decking offers a more uniform look and is available in a range of colors, textures, and finishes.
When selecting your deck material, think about the overall design aesthetic you're going for. Do you want a traditional wood deck, or are you looking for something more modern? Consider your home's architectural style and color scheme, as well as your outdoor furniture and décor.
Of course, cost is an important factor to consider when choosing your deck material. Wood decking is generally less expensive upfront than composite decking, but it may require more maintenance over time. Composite decking, on the other hand, can be more expensive upfront but may save you money in the long run due to its low maintenance requirements and long lifespan.
When thinking about cost, don't forget to factor in installation costs, as well as any additional features you may want, such as built-in seating or lighting. You want to make sure you're getting the best value for your investment.
If you're environmentally conscious, you may be interested in choosing a deck material that is eco-friendly and sustainable. Wood decking can be a sustainable option when sourced from responsibly managed forests, but it may also contribute to deforestation and the carbon footprint associated with transporting and treating the wood.
Composite decking, on the other hand, is often made from recycled materials and can be a more eco-friendly choice. Many composite decking manufacturers are committed to reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
Consider the environmental impact of your deck material and choose a product that aligns with your values.
Safety and Code Compliance
Finally, it's important to ensure that your deck is safe and up to code. Different materials may have different load-bearing capacities and requirements for railings and other safety features. Make sure you're aware of any local building codes or regulations that may affect your deck design and construction.
When choosing your deck material, keep these five factors in mind: durability and maintenance, aesthetics and design, cost, environmental impact, and safety and code compliance. By considering each of these factors, you can make an informed choice that meets your needs and enhances your outdoor living space.