Author Topic: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?  (Read 2953 times)

Manguy888

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Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« on: August 22, 2017, 10:21:23 AM »
Last fall I had a small deck installed off the back of my house. It's all wood, pressure treated, on sonotubes and connected to the house. My only question is: do I have to stain or seal it?

Or rather my question is: if I don't stain/seal it, what's going to happen? If the answer is "your deck will last 15 years instead of 20" I probably would not do it. I'm very busy and generally do not want to take on more maintenance responsibilities if I can help it. Staining my Dad's deck every 2-3 years is not my fondest childhood memory.

However, if the answer is "you must stain your deck or disaster is imminent" maybe I will suck it up and do it.

Note that I live in New England, so leaves will fall on it, and plenty of snow.

Thanks in advance for the advice
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Cranky

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 01:07:52 PM »
I think your deck will look pretty crummy in a lot less than 15 years.

If you don't want to do that kind of maintenance, you should go for trex.

The deck is a 2 day job - power washing and then rolling the sealer stuff on, but it doesn't really take all that long once we get started.

Fishindude

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2017, 02:20:35 PM »
You could probably let the new wood go 3-4 years before sealing, then I'd seal it every other year thereafter.    I've done this with mine (Midwest) and it still looks pretty good being 20+ years old.

dcheesi

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2017, 02:28:25 PM »
I bought my house when it was about 4-1/2 years old, and it was obvious that the original owners never stained or sealed the deck. Some of the boards were already warping, splintering, and showing signs of surface mold. I was able to salvage it with a thorough pressure-washing and a coat of stain, but it was still a bit "wonky" in ways that better cared for decks generally aren't. At least one person suggested that if I had waited another year, I would have been replacing the whole thing (or at least the surface boards).

Just my experience, of course; YMMV.

bender

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2017, 02:48:15 PM »
I wouldn't wait more than 2 years to stain/seal.  PT lumber will warp depending on how much sun it gets.  If it doesn't get enough sun, it will grow mold.  The best thing to do with a PT deck is tear it down and replace with some sort of patio/pavers if your deck isn't raised off the ground too much.

paddedhat

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 03:56:32 PM »
If you want a pressure treated deck to last, you should treat it immediately after it's constructed. Now, you will often hear the conventional  "wisdom" of needing to let it dry, season, age, or whatever, from many. Fact is, treated lumber is typically soaked with moisture and just waiting to split, curl, twist and shrink as it's allowed to dry in an uncontrolled manner. For many years, I would tell new home customers that they should put some kind of finish on their deck, ASAP, to keep it looking nice. Generally, I was ignored, and by the next year, there were twisted pickets and crooked railings, and a deck that looked a lot older than it was. Eventually, I gave up, and paid the painting contractor to pressure wash and then spray a coat of Thompson's Water Seal on, as the house wash being finished. I actually failed to follow my own advice a few years back, and ignored a new deck on the west side of a new home I built for the wife and I. Two years after I built it, I had to replace all the 2x2 pickets, and much of the handrail, since it was a twisted up mess.

You can either pressure wash newer treated, or use a prep product like Behr All in One Wood Cleaner, from Home Depot, to get the wood clean and get rid of the mill glaze on new wood. Let it dry for a few days, then apply a clear sealer. Thompson's is looked down upon by some, who can't see how something that cost 1/3 of what a top notch stain does, and looks like  can of water, could be any good. Well, first, it's a water repellent finish that seals the wood well enough that it won't warp, and twist as much, as it cures in the sun. Second it doesn't build up like a stain or paint, so it's not constantly wearing through in traffic areas. It needs to be reapplied, at best every two years, but it's cheap, takes no prep other than cleaning the dirt off, and it does the job well.  Many years ago I covered a very large deck of ours with a very expensive, imported, Semi-solid deck stain. It turned out to be a huge mistake, as it was always wearing thin in foot traffic areas, and needed to be re-coated every 2-3 years anyway. ( When it comes to durability claims, there are more lies on the side of a can of deck stain, than at a campaign rally, "lasts five to seven years on decks, ten on fences"  bullshit! ) The biggest issue was that it was a permanent choice. It was essentially a paint, and the deck was going to get coated with some version of the product, at $50/gallon, pretty much forever. The other great part about a clear finish, or a lightly tinted sealer, is that you can change your mind later. If you really want something different, wait two years, pressure wash and do whatever you want next time.

MrSal

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2017, 04:30:44 PM »
If you want a pressure treated deck to last, you should treat it immediately after it's constructed. Now, you will often hear the conventional  "wisdom" of needing to let it dry, season, age, or whatever, from many. Fact is, treated lumber is typically soaked with moisture and just waiting to split, curl, twist and shrink as it's allowed to dry in an uncontrolled manner. For many years, I would tell new home customers that they should put some kind of finish on their deck, ASAP, to keep it looking nice. Generally, I was ignored, and by the next year, there were twisted pickets and crooked railings, and a deck that looked a lot older than it was. Eventually, I gave up, and paid the painting contractor to pressure wash and then spray a coat of Thompson's Water Seal on, as the house wash being finished. I actually failed to follow my own advice a few years back, and ignored a new deck on the west side of a new home I built for the wife and I. Two years after I built it, I had to replace all the 2x2 pickets, and much of the handrail, since it was a twisted up mess.

You can either pressure wash newer treated, or use a prep product like Behr All in One Wood Cleaner, from Home Depot, to get the wood clean and get rid of the mill glaze on new wood. Let it dry for a few days, then apply a clear sealer. Thompson's is looked down upon by some, who can't see how something that cost 1/3 of what a top notch stain does, and looks like  can of water, could be any good. Well, first, it's a water repellent finish that seals the wood well enough that it won't warp, and twist as much, as it cures in the sun. Second it doesn't build up like a stain or paint, so it's not constantly wearing through in traffic areas. It needs to be reapplied, at best every two years, but it's cheap, takes no prep other than cleaning the dirt off, and it does the job well.  Many years ago I covered a very large deck of ours with a very expensive, imported, Semi-solid deck stain. It turned out to be a huge mistake, as it was always wearing thin in foot traffic areas, and needed to be re-coated every 2-3 years anyway. ( When it comes to durability claims, there are more lies on the side of a can of deck stain, than at a campaign rally, "lasts five to seven years on decks, ten on fences"  bullshit! ) The biggest issue was that it was a permanent choice. It was essentially a paint, and the deck was going to get coated with some version of the product, at $50/gallon, pretty much forever. The other great part about a clear finish, or a lightly tinted sealer, is that you can change your mind later. If you really want something different, wait two years, pressure wash and do whatever you want next time.

Hey paddehat,


You say the deck I built on my thread and I still haven't sealed it. I was wondering what product to get and hopefully you will be able to steer my direction.

Is Thompson seal a good choice then? I don't mind the color of PT wood since my wife and I actually liked it - at first we were going more for the browner hues. Is Thompson a seal that builds up a layer or does it get into the wood?

What would be the best choice for me? - We have so far 220 sq feet of deck give or take which is shaded for the most part and does not get much rain other than when its windy

paddedhat

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2017, 05:22:19 PM »



You say the deck I built on my thread and I still haven't sealed it. I was wondering what product to get and hopefully you will be able to steer my direction.

Is Thompson seal a good choice then? I don't mind the color of PT wood since my wife and I actually liked it - at first we were going more for the browner hues. Is Thompson a seal that builds up a layer or does it get into the wood?

What would be the best choice for me? - We have so far 220 sq feet of deck give or take which is shaded for the most part and does not get much rain other than when its windy

Thompson's basic clear product, at roughly $14/Gallon from the big box stores, is fine. It does not build up on wood, as it is a silicone based penetrating sealer.  Since it's new wood, use a deck prep. wash like I mentioned, and let is dry for at least two nice sunny days before you put the sealer on. Lots of folks make the mistake of thinking they can spray this stuff on, and since it's clear, they don't have to worry too much about over-spray. Well, it doesn't work that way, as it will leave a clear noticeable film on hard surfaces, particularly vinyl siding. I brush it on, my painting contractor sprays, but takes care to block/mask anything that might get over-sprayed.

MrSal

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2017, 08:47:16 PM »
according to their bottle 1 Gall covers 290 sq feet... so 1 can should be good for me ... for 15$ that's a steal ...

Manguy888

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2017, 07:33:55 AM »
Thanks for the replies everyone-

PaddedHat - Do I need to seal the whole thing including the railing spindles? The joists underneath? Or just the horizontal surfaces that get foot traffic? My deck is about 4 feet up, off of the back of the house, and has some stairs and a railing.
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paddedhat

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2017, 11:20:07 AM »
Thanks for the replies everyone-

PaddedHat - Do I need to seal the whole thing including the railing spindles? The joists underneath? Or just the horizontal surfaces that get foot traffic? My deck is about 4 feet up, off of the back of the house, and has some stairs and a railing.

Everything but the underside. If it can get sun, weather exposure, or foot traffic, it should be sealed.

gooki

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2017, 06:06:20 AM »
If you leave it as is, your timber will grey off and form its own protective coating over the next 2-5 years.
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paddedhat

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2017, 08:56:45 AM »
If you leave it as is, your timber will grey off and form its own protective coating over the next 2-5 years.

This conversation so far has been limited to pressure treated lumber, as per the OP's post. Your comments might be applicable to cedar or redwood material, keeping in mind that most currently available stock is pretty low quality, and will not perform well at all, if you built it and forget it. With the second and third growth Cedar in particular, I have seen decks that were essentially shot after 15 years, since the owner believed that it would "turn grey and be maintenance free"

When it comes to pressure treated  material, If you leave it as it is, the wood will dry out, twist, splinter and look like shit over the next 3-5 years. By that point you will either DIY, or hire a professional carpenter, to remove and replace various parts. Typically, a significant amount of the railing and ballisters will be unsalvageable, and at least a few deck boards will be unusable due to splintering and warping. The deck will have to be pressure washed, or chemically bleached, prior to installing the sealer/stain that you should of done within a few months of it's original construction.  "Grey off" is the process of UV damaging the outermost cell structure of the wood. There is no "protective coating" magically being produced by a piece of dead lumber. Some woods are inherently resistant to rot, but none produce coatings.

Source:  Thirty years of building, and/or paying other contractors to build treated decks on new home and remodel projects. I started with treated when it was a novelty, as many were still debating if they should move away from the tried and true cedar posts and fir structure, decking, rails. 

meghan88

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2017, 01:09:57 PM »
If you leave it as is, your timber will grey off and form its own protective coating over the next 2-5 years.

This conversation so far has been limited to pressure treated lumber, as per the OP's post. Your comments might be applicable to cedar or redwood material, keeping in mind that most currently available stock is pretty low quality, and will not perform well at all, if you built it and forget it. With the second and third growth Cedar in particular, I have seen decks that were essentially shot after 15 years, since the owner believed that it would "turn grey and be maintenance free"

When it comes to pressure treated  material, If you leave it as it is, the wood will dry out, twist, splinter and look like shit over the next 3-5 years. By that point you will either DIY, or hire a professional carpenter, to remove and replace various parts. Typically, a significant amount of the railing and ballisters will be unsalvageable, and at least a few deck boards will be unusable due to splintering and warping. The deck will have to be pressure washed, or chemically bleached, prior to installing the sealer/stain that you should of done within a few months of it's original construction.  "Grey off" is the process of UV damaging the outermost cell structure of the wood. There is no "protective coating" magically being produced by a piece of dead lumber. Some woods are inherently resistant to rot, but none produce coatings.

Source:  Thirty years of building, and/or paying other contractors to build treated decks on new home and remodel projects. I started with treated when it was a novelty, as many were still debating if they should move away from the tried and true cedar posts and fir structure, decking, rails.

Right, as always.  We opted for treated wood instead of cedar for a new deck, and within a month, the 4x4 railing posts were twisted, cracked and warped.  Just awful.  Happily we've since moved and I no longer have to look at it any more.  The only saving grace was that the new deck was built from funds paid out by a claim (previous owners didn't pull a permit for the deck they built, and it was not to code).

The shittiness of most materials these days never ceases to amaze me.

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2017, 01:19:45 PM »
My deck is 13 years old and I only ever sort of half ass sealed it once and never bothered again. It looks like crap, but it's on the back of the house and it doesn't seem like it's about to fall down, so I will live with it. When I replace it, I'll probably either do an addition (if I can afford it) or use the artificial stuff to build another deck. Does anybody know how that holds up? Does it require any care?

gooki

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2017, 04:24:52 AM »
If you leave it as is, your timber will grey off and form its own protective coating over the next 2-5 years.
When it comes to pressure treated  material, If you leave it as it is, the wood will dry out, twist, splinter and look like shit over the next 3-5 years. By that point you will either DIY, or hire a professional carpenter, to remove and replace various parts. Typically, a significant amount of the railing and ballisters will be unsalvageable, and at least a few deck boards will be unusable due to splintering and warping. The deck will have to be pressure washed, or chemically bleached, prior to installing the sealer/stain that you should of done within a few months of it's original construction.  "Grey off" is the process of UV damaging the outermost cell structure of the wood. There is no "protective coating" magically being produced by a piece of dead lumber. Some woods are inherently resistant to rot, but none produce coatings.

I don't know what crap lumber their using in the USA, but here in NZ our pressure treated lumber is fast growth radiata pine. Cheap softwood, don't think you can get much worse.

This is our deck after five years with no stain just before we sold our house. We get all four seasons here in Christchurch, NZ, its sat covered in snow, we have some of the highest UV levels in the world during summer. Yes there's some minor defects caused by the drying out process, but it was still in great condition and I'd expect it to last another 20 years with virtually no maintenance.

I have a outdoor table I built from hard wood. It gets oiled every year, but that's because I care significantly about how it looks. If I'd spent a lot of money on a hardwood deck, I'd probably seal it every couple of years as well. But on a cheap deck it's not worth the time/materials to me.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 04:44:51 AM by gooki »
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aperture

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2017, 05:03:55 AM »
I bought our home with a 10 year old deck.  It had PT joists and composite decking boards that were probably too close together.  I soon discovered that the joists were rotted out from under the composite where ever snow and moisture accumulated. I had to replace the whole deck, even though it was made with great materials and was only 10 years old. When I rebuilt it, I used a product like this https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Vycor-Protector-Adhered-Flashing/dp/B000IUL9NOon the top of all the joists.  I also spaced my decking boards with 1/2" gaps to assure that water/snow would drain.  I have not had a problem with the joists rotting since. 

I also chose the solid stain for my PT decking and was rapidly disappointed at the wear that developed in the high traffic lane.  Next time I build with PT, I will follow PH's advice and try the Thompson's. 
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paddedhat

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2017, 12:20:41 PM »
Gooki, Radiata is literally many magnitudes about North American pressure treated material when it comes to quality. Here Radiata is reserved for high grade pine board stock for trim and furniture work. Roughly speaking the eastern half of the states use Southern Yellow Pine, which is some really sorry stuff. It is grown like a row crop, on big southern timber lands, and is a fast growing, low grade, soft wood. I have used 4x4 posts that literally has seven growth rings, which were 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. It rots quickly if it isn't treated. A lot of the west uses Fir for treated stock, and frequently it is "pinch rolled" with a serrated roller that puts divots in the wood to encourage the treating liquid to penetrate. Pretty nasty stuff, IMHO, as it often rough and ugly looking.

Aperture, you mentioned deck board spacing. I doubt your issue was only spacing, probably also something to do with a hard plastic preventing some pretty questionable joists from drying properly. The smaller treated stock generally doesn't rot too easily if it's above grade, since the chemicals typically penetrate through the entire piece. The bigger stuff always amazed me, since notching a 4x4 or 6x6 often resulted in exposing untreated wood, that will rot pretty quick in many situations. When it comes to spacing, it's important to never space wet (green) treated deck boards, only plastic, or kiln dried woods.  If you keep them tight, treated deck boards will shrink and give you 1/4 to 1/2" gaps after they have dried.

 I knew another builder who had a customer show up at his new home, as it was being built, and threw a fit over the finished, treated pine deck. He told the builder he was an idiot, and everybody with half a brain knows that deck boards should always be spaced. The builder had enough of the guy, so he had his carpenters pull all the treated deck boards up, flip them, space them a 1/2" and re-nail.  A few months later the guy moves in, and calls the builder demanding that he repair the deck since there are 1" gaps between boards.  He was then reminded that the work was done to his demands, and now he has learned why you don't space wet treated deck boards.

neo von retorch

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2017, 12:46:58 PM »
If you've previously stained, do you need to powerwash and then use deck cleaner to further get any remaining badness/mold out of the way? Or does the deck cleaner work on existing stain as well?

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2017, 03:22:50 PM »
If you've previously stained, do you need to powerwash and then use deck cleaner to further get any remaining badness/mold out of the way? Or does the deck cleaner work on existing stain as well?

Too many possible variables to give you a good answer. Some "stains" are just watery paint, and will need to be either coated with a similar product, or removed entirely. Semi and transparent stains are another story. You should have better luck with those. Take a look at this link:
https://www.deckstainhelp.com/deck-stripping-removing-an-old-deck-stain/

Good luck, it may be an easy task, or it could suck. Ah, the joys of home ownership.

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2017, 03:33:19 PM »
Ok, thanks! Last year we used Thompson Semi-Transparent water seal, but I think we sealed too soon after power-washing to let it dry properly...

aperture

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2017, 04:17:56 PM »
Aperture, you mentioned deck board spacing. I doubt your issue was only spacing, probably also something to do with a hard plastic preventing some pretty questionable joists from drying properly. The smaller treated stock generally doesn't rot too easily if it's above grade, since the chemicals typically penetrate through the entire piece. The bigger stuff always amazed me, since notching a 4x4 or 6x6 often resulted in exposing untreated wood, that will rot pretty quick in many situations. When it comes to spacing, it's important to never space wet (green) treated deck boards, only plastic, or kiln dried woods.  If you keep them tight, treated deck boards will shrink and give you 1/4 to 1/2" gaps after they have dried.

Thanks for your insight paddedhat - glad to have the opportunity not to repeat errors of the past.  Best wishes, aperture.
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paddedhat

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2017, 05:48:25 PM »
Ok, thanks! Last year we used Thompson Semi-Transparent water seal, but I think we sealed too soon after power-washing to let it dry properly...

If I found myself in this situation I would first liberally sprinkle water all over the deck boards and railing tops. Does it bead up like water on a car hood? Yes. Well, you can either wait until it weathers for another year or two, and test again, or try a commercial stripper to remove the finish. It doesn't bead up, I would mix up a homemade deck cleaning solution of three parts HOT water, one part Clorox brand bleach (I don't know why but it works better than generic) and enough Dawn, or cheap clothes washing soap to make a sudsy mix. Now keep in mind two things as you go forward. First, any piece of clothing you slop this mix on, will be trash, so do the job naked (just kidding) and second, you need to completely rinse any grass or plants, as the mix will kill vegetation, if it's left on the plants. Now wet the deck completely with a hose. Next use a deck/siding scrubbing brush (Lowes - Quickie brand soft scrub brush $8) and a broom handle to slop the mix on. Scrub it in, and let it stand, wet, for at least 10-15 minutes. Do everything, deck boards, rails, pickets, exposed framing, etc...Now thoroughly rinse and let it dry. After a few hours most treated wood will be a clean, even light gray color. If it's warm and sunny, two days of drying time should be enough, then re-stain.

For anybody that has an old, shitty looking treated deck that has never had a finish on, this home brew can really do a mind blowing job of making it look 1000% better. Just be sure to put a sealer, like Thomson's, or at least a semi-transparent stain on, as soon as it's gotten a chance to dry properly.

MrSal

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2017, 06:01:31 PM »
Ok, thanks! Last year we used Thompson Semi-Transparent water seal, but I think we sealed too soon after power-washing to let it dry properly...

If I found myself in this situation I would first liberally sprinkle water all over the deck boards and railing tops. Does it bead up like water on a car hood? Yes. Well, you can either wait until it weathers for another year or two, and test again, or try a commercial stripper to remove the finish. It doesn't bead up, I would mix up a homemade deck cleaning solution of three parts HOT water, one part Clorox brand bleach (I don't know why but it works better than generic) and enough Dawn, or cheap clothes washing soap to make a sudsy mix. Now keep in mind two things as you go forward. First, any piece of clothing you slop this mix on, will be trash, so do the job naked (just kidding) and second, you need to completely rinse any grass or plants, as the mix will kill vegetation, if it's left on the plants. Now wet the deck completely with a hose. Next use a deck/siding scrubbing brush (Lowes - Quickie brand soft scrub brush $8) and a broom handle to slop the mix on. Scrub it in, and let it stand, wet, for at least 10-15 minutes. Do everything, deck boards, rails, pickets, exposed framing, etc...Now thoroughly rinse and let it dry. After a few hours most treated wood will be a clean, even light gray color. If it's warm and sunny, two days of drying time should be enough, then re-stain.

For anybody that has an old, shitty looking treated deck that has never had a finish on, this home brew can really do a mind blowing job of making it look 1000% better. Just be sure to put a sealer, like Thomson's, or at least a semi-transparent stain on, as soon as it's gotten a chance to dry properly.

would this recipe work for new PT wood that needs to get a treatment on? to strip the new wood out of the film coating that comes from factory? or some other stripper would be better? planning on doing it this weekend

paddedhat

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2017, 05:08:28 AM »
Sal, for new wood, I would use a commercial wood prep product. The Behr all-in-one Wood cleaner from Home Depot works great. It's actually a mild acid, as compared to a bleach or detergent product. On new treated wood, "Mill Glaze" can be a big issue. This is a condition where high speed planing of the surface actually burns the surface, giving it a hard "finish" that does not accept stains, or sealers well.  The wood cleaner removes the glaze, as does pressure washing. One of the reasons that you read or hear recommendations that treated should be allowed to weather for six months to a year, is to give it time for the sun to break down the surface of the wood, which removes the glaze.

MrSal

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2017, 03:22:44 PM »
Sal, for new wood, I would use a commercial wood prep product. The Behr all-in-one Wood cleaner from Home Depot works great. It's actually a mild acid, as compared to a bleach or detergent product. On new treated wood, "Mill Glaze" can be a big issue. This is a condition where high speed planing of the surface actually burns the surface, giving it a hard "finish" that does not accept stains, or sealers well.  The wood cleaner removes the glaze, as does pressure washing. One of the reasons that you read or hear recommendations that treated should be allowed to weather for six months to a year, is to give it time for the sun to break down the surface of the wood, which removes the glaze.

Gotcha!

So in order to avoid waiting that long we use the commercial wood cleaner to remove the glaze finish!

Ill do that route then thanks so much for your input :)

The Fake Cheap

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2017, 08:02:40 PM »
When we bought our house new we were advised to let the Pressure treated deck weather for a year or two.  We stained after the 2 years.  We restained again this year, 4 years later, the deck is still in great shape.  I also clear the snow off it after large snowfalls (I'm in eastern Canada). 

MrSal

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2017, 10:26:29 AM »
Sal, for new wood, I would use a commercial wood prep product. The Behr all-in-one Wood cleaner from Home Depot works great. It's actually a mild acid, as compared to a bleach or detergent product. On new treated wood, "Mill Glaze" can be a big issue. This is a condition where high speed planing of the surface actually burns the surface, giving it a hard "finish" that does not accept stains, or sealers well.  The wood cleaner removes the glaze, as does pressure washing. One of the reasons that you read or hear recommendations that treated should be allowed to weather for six months to a year, is to give it time for the sun to break down the surface of the wood, which removes the glaze.

Hi paddedhat, sorry to ask you again... unfornutaly Lowes doesn't carry Behr products and the closest HD to me is 30+ miles away ... any alternative you would recomend from Lowes? I saw their olympic one but wasn't sure...

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Olympic-128-fl-oz-Biodegradable-Deck-Cleaner/3033984

or this one too:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Olympic-RESCUE-IT-128-fl-oz-Deck-Cleaner/999985858

$200k

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2017, 03:40:07 PM »
Paddedhat:

I am looking to build a large level deck in my backyard that gets moderate sun in moderate California weather.  I want to go with cedar materials.  I understand I would have to finish it and perform maintenance every couple of years.  Is there any reason why I should go with composite materials instead?  Thanks!

MrSal

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2017, 05:17:56 PM »
Paddedhat:

I am looking to build a large level deck in my backyard that gets moderate sun in moderate California weather.  I want to go with cedar materials.  I understand I would have to finish it and perform maintenance every couple of years.  Is there any reason why I should go with composite materials instead?  Thanks!

hey check www.advantagelumber.com

They have ipe and tiger wood which are much better than cedar and withstand a lot of weather ... no idea how much you can get cedar for, but these prices are pretty good when comparing...

1.30$ ln foot for tigerwood is pretty good - around 3,5 dollars per sq foot

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #30 on: September 10, 2017, 04:34:41 PM »
What about the PT lumber used for the structure (posts/beams/joists)?  Doe that also need to be sealed?

Poundwise

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2017, 10:40:44 AM »
In our deck, the structure is not sealed, but every time we replace a board, we cover up the joists with stick-on flashing as below (as should have been done when it was originally constructed.)

For the actual deck, I didn't like Thompson's so we now use Ready Seal. It works great on PT boards... easy to apply and looks like a more expensive wood. I have heard that Thompson's sits like a paint on top of the boards, so will peel over time, as opposed to a penetrating oil stain like Ready Seal.
https://www.lowes.com/search?searchTerm=ready+seal


I bought our home with a 10 year old deck.  It had PT joists and composite decking boards that were probably too close together.  I soon discovered that the joists were rotted out from under the composite where ever snow and moisture accumulated. I had to replace the whole deck, even though it was made with great materials and was only 10 years old. When I rebuilt it, I used a product like this https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Vycor-Protector-Adhered-Flashing/dp/B000IUL9NOon the top of all the joists.  I also spaced my decking boards with 1/2" gaps to assure that water/snow would drain.  I have not had a problem with the joists rotting since. 

I also chose the solid stain for my PT decking and was rapidly disappointed at the wear that developed in the high traffic lane.  Next time I build with PT, I will follow PH's advice and try the Thompson's.

paddedhat

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2017, 01:17:54 PM »
In our deck, the structure is not sealed, but every time we replace a board, we cover up the joists with stick-on flashing as below (as should have been done when it was originally constructed.)

For the actual deck, I didn't like Thompson's so we now use Ready Seal. It works great on PT boards... easy to apply and looks like a more expensive wood. I have heard that Thompson's sits like a paint on top of the boards, so will peel over time, as opposed to a penetrating oil stain like Ready Seal.
https://www.lowes.com/search?searchTerm=ready+seal


Thompson's standard "water seal" product is on the opposite end of the spectrum, compared to finishes that sit on the surface, like paint. It is essentially a clear silicone that penetrates the wood. Before current formula changes to meet EPA rules, it was a popular old school water proofer, used on canvas tent material.

Poundwise

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Re: Do I have to stain/seal my new deck?
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2017, 07:47:56 AM »
Hmm, maybe I was working with an older formulation. Though the Thompson's product I tried last year produced a thin clear coat on the top that I sanded off (just tried it on a couple of boards before deciding to go with the other product.)  I have heard that clear/semitransparent stains don't provide UV protection like a solid stain. After sanding off the Thompson's, the Ready Seal went on with no apparent problems. I did a lot of reading before I chose those two products to try. I really preferred the natural wood look, but in the end I thought that the semitransparent might last longer.

Some sites that might be of interest:
https://www.thespruce.com/seal-a-deck-with-thompsons-water-seal-2131998
http://jillcataldo.com/quest-find-great-deck-stain-bonds-one-time-review/

One year later, on our deck, the water is still beading up so I think the Ready Seal is still doing its job. But the boards are looking a little worn again. It's an older deck, at least 10 years old and was grey and splintering before I sanded it with a belt sander, replaced some boards, and stained last year. It looked almost new after last year's work, but I would guess that my kids aged it again with their soccer cleats and roller blades.  I'm thinking about topping it off with another can of Ready Seal as it really is the easiest thing to apply.