How Often Should I Stain My Deck?

As the weather changes and seasons pass, exposure to exterior harsh elements can cause wear and tear on your wooden deck, leading to rotting, splitting, twisting and discoloration. To minimize these effects, stains and seals are applied over the deck to protect it against pounding rains, scorching sun, and gnawing bugs.

Over time, however, these protective coatings, too, succumb to the wear and tear brought about by the persistent elements, and hence the need to occasionally re-apply the stains and sealers. But how often should you stain your deck? You might ask. Well, the answer depends on the type of stain used, among other factors.

When staining a deck, professionals have a number of different types of stain to choose from. There are solid stains, semisolid stains, semitransparent stains, and transparent stain types. All these have varying durability and protective capability. Here is a detailed look at top factors that will affect your deck staining frequency:

  1. Usage
    If your deck is used heavily, the stain coating will wear away much faster, needing more regular re-staining than normal. If not re-stained in good time, you will start noticing track marks and scuff marks. If you live near a beach, sand tracked onto the deck boards on the bottom of shoes and feet act like sandpaper and literally grind off the stain and sealer coatings. And that will require re-staining at least once a year to extend the life of your deck.
  2. Type of stain
    As hinted above, different stains will offer varying levels of protection to your deck. Transparent stains are popular on newer decks because they don’t cover up the beauty of the wood grain that homeowners like to show off. They tend to soak up in the wood with very little discoloration, but their protective value is quite low. If you’re using a transparent stain, consider using a sealer to extend your deck’s life.
    Semitransparent stains are kind of a compromise, somewhere in the middle, offering both protection and color. The stains allow some wood grain and other detailing to show through –but you should consider re-applying the stain every year.
    Solid stains don’t soak up into the woods like their transparent counterparts, instead, they form a solid film on the surface, more like paint. The downside here is they tend to cover up the beauty and character of the wood underneath. However, they provide several years of protection, and you may only need to re-apply once every 3-5 years.
  3. Sealer or no sealer?
    Applying a sealer to your deck keeps UV rays and water from getting in contact with your wood without providing any coloring to the wood. While this is an optional move, applying a sealer alongside your stain can extend the time required to re-stain your deck. Sealing offers extra protection again the elements and UV rays that cause splintering, rotting and discoloring.
  4. Weather Conditions
    As already mentioned, weather plays a vital role in how long your deck finishing will last. Wet and humid weather will begin to wash away the stain and create favorable conditions for mold and mildew to grow. UV rays from the scorching sun will also break down the protective stain film and cause dry rot, cracking and splintering. If your deck is exposed to such elements year-round, it will need more frequent re-staining.

The Bottom Line
Therefore, how often should you re-stain your deck? I believe you now know better. As a bonus tip, having your deck stained by a professional will go a long way in extending the durability and efficiency of your protective film. And if you need professional assistance staining your deck, our extremely experienced and highly trained crew can help. Simply give us a call (858)505-1361, so we can chat about your project.