What Is the Best Treatment for Redwood?

a redwood deck with black railings

Treatment is required if you want your redwood to last longer and retain its beautiful hue and finish. With proper staining and care, you can prevent your redwood from cracking and rotting, especially when exposed to water.

The ideal sealant for maximum protection of any redwood deck is a semi-transparent stain. Before applying the stain, here are some tips on how to protect your deck or other redwood surfaces and make it look new after years of wear and tear.

Clean the Deck

pressure washing a deck

A cleansing solution specially made for spot-treating wood should be used. Do not dilute it and make sure to follow label instructions. A mild-washing detergent can be helpful when dealing with oily spots.

Since redwood is a resilient and durable type of wood, you can scrub the exterior surfaces with a stiff broom or hard-toothed brush. Rinse thoroughly the brushed portion before moving on to another portion of the deck. It is normal to see a small layer of redwood removed after rinsing.

Use 1 gallon of warm water in a non-metallic container mixed with 4 oz. of oxalic acid crystals for severe mildew infestations.

Proper drying after rinsing the deck is very important. It may take days before the redwood deck will completely dry.

To restore your redwood’s color, use a bristle brush to scrub the wood’s surface. You can use a solution of 1 cup trisodium phosphate and 1 cup of household bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water.

Choose the Best Treatment

Redwood tends to crack and peel when treated with exterior finishes such as varnishes and polyurethanes. They are also difficult to apply and remove at the same time. On the other hand, oil treatments for redwood should also be avoided because of its susceptibility to mildew which contributes to wood darkening.

Semi-transparent stains are perfect for treating your redwood. These stains do not peel or flake off like some solid stains. You can either choose to buy a semi-transparent stain that resembles the color of your redwood or match the stain color to that of your house.

Apply the Stain

water beading up on a deck

Now that you’ve chosen the ideal stain for your redwood, you can apply it to the wood itself. It is important to remove previous finishes first before applying the stain. Sanding is recommended to remove pigmented stain finishes and also improve the surface of the deck. Paint and varnish removers can also help you remove finishes before applying your new stain.

To prevent nail stains, nail heads should be set, or counter-sunk, below the wood surface before sanding. Tap in any nail heads or screws that rise above the surface. In applying your redwood stain, you can either use a paint sprayer or a roller. A large brush can help you apply the stain to the wood’s interior surfaces and seal the wood off at the same time. Combining the use of a large brush and a roller will make the job easier and faster.

Pro Tip

It should be noted herein that sealing Redwood up completely has the effect of sealing moisture into the lumber. This will inevitably cause the water to stagnate and the Redwood decking will rot from the center outward over a relatively short period of time.

Treatment for Redwood FAQ

What is the best preservative for redwood decks?

Both linseed and tung oil are popular choices for redwood in particular. These oils create extra protection for the deck, helping it to withstand weather and moisture and resisting mildew and mold.

What is the best way to restore redwood?

Clean redwood that is used outside with a simple garden hose, rinsing it off regularly. If you notice grime or dirt, this can be scrubbed away with a stuff-bristled brush and a few drops of liquid soap in water.

Adding a new finish, such as paint or stain, will give the redwood a new, fresh look.

Should redwood be stained or sealed?

Redwood can be stained, which seals and protects the wood. You can change the way the wood looks with paint. Plain sealant with no stain can al ob e used to add a coat of protetion to the wood.

Choosing between the two is entirely a cosmetic and stylistic preference.

How long does treated redwood last?

With a water-repelling sealant and with regular maintenance, redwood used outdoors lasts for about 30 years before it needs to be replaced.

Does redwood need to be pressure treated?

Redwood is durable wood that is highly rot-resistant, and even more so when it is pressure-treated. Redwood is naturally strong and good for outdoor building projects even without this treatment, but the treatment does make the wood even more weather-resistant.