Deck renovation: should I stain or oil my deck?

This is a question that I had when I first moved into my house, and I couldn’t find any definite answers from searching online. At the time, I didn’t know anything about decking renovations and was just in the process of building my deck when it came to staining vs. oil or pressure-treated wood vs. cedar.

Oil finishes

Oil finishes are a popular option because they offer great protection and enhance the natural look of your deck. They’ll also take some time to dry, so you want to make sure that you’re not going to experience rain in the near future. The nice thing about oil finishes is that they’re easy to apply—just use a paintbrush or roller and keep going until you’ve covered the entire deck. You may need multiple coats, but after applying the oil, you can sit back and relax while it hardens.

It’s unnecessary to strip off an old finish before applying oil; instead, just start by cleaning the wood with a wood cleaner. Once it has dried completely, you can start with your first coat of oil. As long as there’s no flaking from your old finish, this will be enough prep work for your new finish. If you’re working with brand-new wood or have an old deck that’s never been finished before, you’ll have to do some extra preparation—you’ll need to sand down the wood so that it’s smooth and perfectly clean before applying any stain or oils.

How often should I oil my deck?

It would be best if you oiled your deck about once a year. The frequency of the application will depend on the amount of sun exposure, the type of wood and the condition of your deck.

For example, if you have a cedar deck, it only needs to be oiled every two years, and it needs to be done every year if you have an oak or pine deck.

And if your deck is treated? You can go up to three years between applications because these decks are typically sealed with a stain or paint that makes them last longer between treatments.

Staining your deck

Staining your deck is a necessary evil, and it’s a little like going to the dentist: It’s not often fun, but it’s something you need to do to keep your teeth clean and your deck looking great.

If you want your deck to look good and last for many years to come, you’ll probably have to stain it every few years. But how often do you need to stain it? And when might be the best time of year actually to do it? The answer depends on what type of stain you use, the climate you live in, and how much direct sunlight your deck gets.

How often to stain your deck?

The frequency of your deck refinishing will depend on many factors, including whether the wood is treated and the level of maintenance you provide. The best way to determine how often you need to have your deck stained is to test it. The following guidelines can help you decide when you should have your deck professionally stained:

  • If your deck is treated with a penetrating sealer, it should be stained every three years. This helps prevent the wood from absorbing more water than it can handle and swelling. The sealer also helps protect against UV rays that can damage the wood over time.
  • If you live in an area with frequent rainstorms or high humidity, this could mean staining more often because rainwater is harder for a treated deck to absorb than dry air.
  • If you live in an area with fewer storms and less humidity, then a good rule of thumb is to stain every five years instead of three years like those in wetter climates might need to do.
  • If you have an untreated wood deck, it shouldn’t be stained unless you notice signs of wear, such as peeling paint or splintering edges on boards.

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