6 Cedar Decking Stain Tips
Cedar decking provides a beautiful surface for a deck. However, just as with other wood decking, there are precautions you must take with cedar to keep it looking bright and attractive.
1. Seal Cedar Soon After Installation
As soon as you see moisture being absorbed into the deck, you should begin staining. This will extend the life of the deck and make it much simpler to maintain over time.
If new lumber is not absorbing water after several months, it may be the result of a phenomenon called “mill glazing” where the planning process at the mill causes it to have a slick surface. In this case, you may have to sand the boards to help them absorb the stain.
2. Clean Weathered Cedar Before Staining
If your cedar decking has been exposed to the elements for a longer period of time and has weathered a great deal, then you should wash it before staining. Use a power washer or hose to thoroughly clean the surface of the deck. This will renew the decking color as well as allow the stain to be absorbed more effectively.
3. Stain All Sides of Cedar Decking
Some people make the mistake of leaving ends unsealed or the bottom of boards untreated. This simply allows moisture to soak in through the ends or bottom of the boards, causing the stain to flake and peel quickly.
If you imagine a board as part of a tree, you’ll quickly understand that the ends are exactly where the absorption of water took place when the tree was in place. Therefore, it’s vital to seal of the end grain.
If you ever need to cut the end of a board to adjust it or alter the layout of the deck, be sure to seal the end with stain again.
4. Use a Brush is for Staining
Although using a sprayer is a quick way to stain cedar decking, it is not the most effective way. Sprayed on stain does not penetrate the surface of the deck fully. Rollers are also quick, but not entirely effective.
If you use either of these painting methods, you should also run a brush over the boards after you have finished spraying. For this layer, thin the stain about 10 percent so that it penetrates the pores of the wood easily.
5. Choose a Quality Stain
The best stains for cedar decking will last between six and eight years with proper care and sealing. Paying a higher price for a stain does not necessarily mean you are getting a better quality. Read reviews and unbiased recommendations. Be aware that you may be reading a review from someone who was paid by the company, so check the sources.
Many professionals are happy to give you their recommendations. Check at several professional paint stores and online to choose the best stain or sealer for your deck.
6. Choose the Right Day
The best weather for applying stain is a warm, dry, and overcast day without bright, direct sunshine. This weather gives the cedar decking the best chance to penetrate and dry properly.