This page contains answers to and explanations of some of the questions we get asked most frequently. If you have a question or concern please feel free to see if the answer is here and if not, never hesitate to call us and ask!
Should I pressure wash my deck?
No. despite what different contractors or product manufacturers may say it is almost never a good idea to pressure or power wash your deck. At best it is a loud, time consuming endeavor; but more likely than not you will damage the surface you are washing. Pressure washing does not eliminate mildew or many other underlying issues at all while washing with an appropriate detergent and scrubbing most certainly will. Pressure washing invariably damages lignin and fiber in wooden surfaces and when done improperly will often damage and de-scale brick, flagstone and concrete, as well as voiding the warranty on many composite decking materials. Please keep in mind that washing or rinsing your deck or letting sprinklers or water from plants sit on the deck surface can often lead to hard water deposits which the stain cannot prevent and which can be very difficult to remove or remedy. It is always best to blow or sweep the deck off as often as possible and when washing the deck, do so when temperatures are cool and the water can be squeegeed or blown off afterwards.
Is it too wet to stain my deck?/ How long does my deck need to dry after rain?
Rain and weather can present challenging difficulties for even the most experienced stain experts. When trying to decide if your project is too wet to stain or needs additional drying time many factors must be taken into account. The type, species, milled finish, and age of material as well as any existing coatings along with the outdoor conditions such as temperature, humidity, and shade all play a part. For many decades most companies followed an old "rule of thumb" like 72 hours after rain or something similar. The truth is that moisture content can be easily and accurately measured with a moisture meter and very often in our climate region is dry within hours of exposure. Different processes may actually speed that dry time along and many newer stains and coatings formulations have a higher tolerance for moisture than ever before. Rest assured, we will measure and assess your project according to your exact conditions and proceed accordingly.
How long will the stain last on my project?
This is a question with a multifaceted answer that depends on the type of project, type and milled finish of the material, and the type of stain as well as exposure and usage. I'm going to answer this question with penetrating type oil based stain as our benchmark as they are the most recommended and suitable for this climate region. It's always impossible to predict with exactness how long a stain will last, but in our climate zone on smooth milled horizontal surfaces like deck floors and top-caps translucent stains will in general last from 8-16 months while semi-solid stains will last from 12-22 months. These products can perform up to twice as long on vertical rough milled surfaces and somewhere in between on intermediate types. Please keep in mind that stain is not a magical force field. Your deck finish will age during its expected life span and will not look brand new until day one of month 17 but rather will gradually wear until another coat is required. It will also not be proof against physical scratching or gouging, chemicals, animal damage, burns, hard water deposits, or getting dirty. There is not a single product on the market that can or will prevent these things so please understand and plan accordingly.