It's important to think of wood decks as maintenance projects. That goes for both new and existing decks. As we note on our Staining Services page, wood "just doesn't hold up well to standing moisture and intensive UV. The only good news is that it generally doesn't take very long to apply a refreshing coat to bring the deck back to life." That should give you some cause for relief. So don't panic!
With Park City's abundance of wood structures, whether hotels and resorts or high end residential, and freeze-thaw cycle, it's important to keep an eye on the deck. If it needs work, don't hesitate to get in contact with a painting contractor—and one that knows what they're doing!
Clean the Wood
The first thing to do after inspection is wash the wood. You want to remove all dirt, grime, mold, etc., and achieve pH balance (measure of acid and base in the wood). Stain stripper and sanders can be used, or chemicals. It really depends on the specific condition of the deck. Certain areas can have more stain build-up than others, so it's important to remove that build-up before proceeding beyond the cleaning step.
Wood brighteners can be used on decks to revitalize the wood. A contractor should discuss this possibility with you. If not, ask them. The brightener will also put some of that luster back into the wood that was lost during stripping.
Hand Apply the Stain
Don't let a contractor apply stain with a sprayer. Big no-no. It's quick but not as lasting, so don't let a contractor convince you that a spray job is superior because of quicker application. You've really got to work the stain into the wood for it to have a great look and lasting effect; and this can only be done effectively by hand.
A number of stains exist, from traditional products to modern, environmentally-friendly ones. The eco-conscious stains won't have any fumes, so that's a great upside. If you want visible grain, go for a semi-transparent stain. Be sure that the contractor doesn't over-apply the stain, which can lead to peeling and will cost money down the road.
A Few Other Considerations
1) Don't apply in direct sunlight. Mornings or afternoons are ideal times for stain application. If there is too much sun, the stain will dry too fast, and the stain will not grab hold of the wood grain for proper adhesion.
2) Semi-transparent stains may only need to be cleaned, then another coat applied. Other times, it might need to be removed and re-stained. Ask a contractor: they will be able to tell with a simple inspection. Solid-body stains, on the other hand, will have to be removed and re-stained.
3) One more thing: sealers can be used to help the stain last longer.
If you have any other questions on staining your business or home's deck, please get in contact with Moorhouse Coating.