Winter is a great time for doing some maintenance on your deck so that it is ready for spring. Winter is often a drier time of year which makes the job a lot easier when you aren’t having to deal with wild weather interrupting the job. If you have just built a new deck it may be your first stain, or if it is an existing deck it may have had multiple.

Due to our harsh Aussie sun it is best to stain your deck every 12-18 months. Of course this depends on your location, exposure to the elements, location. A deck which is on the coast may need treating much sooner than a deck on an inland home.

Here are a few steps to consider when preparing to stain your deck this winter:

Should I choose an oil or water based decking stain?

First step is to choose what type of stain you want to apply onto your deck. There are two types of decking stains available – oil based and water based. If you have moved to a new home with an existing stained deck, it is important to know what type of staining has already been used. An oil based coating cannot be applied on top of a water based coating, therefore a water based coating should also never be applied on top of oil based.

When choosing stains for a brand new deck you might want to consider how much time you want to spend doing the first initial stain and how often you want to re-stain. Water based has a nice glossy and quick drying finish which allows for a second coat on the same day. Whereas oil based takes longer to dry between coats, needing 24 hours, but it is much easier to apply. When considering durability, although water based looks lovely and is quick to get done in a day, it will need re-staining more often as it is not as durable as oil based.

What equipment will I need to stain my deck?

When using an oil based stain most people will choose a lambs wool applicator to stain their deck, which looks a little like a mop that is connected to a pole, inexpensive and perfect for application.

When using water based stains teflon painting pads are a good choice. They can be pole attached or handheld. For both types of staining you will need a small brush to cut in to the edges and corners to keep everything neat and tidy.

Is there a special technique when applying deck stain?

If you are a first-timer oil based is definitely the easier of the two to apply. As oil stains dry a lot slower there is less chance of runs, globs and so on. Take your time and nicely cut in with your brush first round edges and walls – just like you would when painting – then use your lambs wool applicator to fill in the larger gaps. Beware the smell can be very strong and you must wait 24 hours before reapplying your second coat.

On the other hand, water based coatings are much trickier to apply. Water based is quick drying, so you must make sure a full board is covered before drying otherwise the stain will become uneven and you will end up with permanent markings. You will need to cut in smaller spaces at a time, perhaps 2-3 boards, then applicate the stain with your pads as quickly as possible after that.

Amazing Decks deck building and design services Brisbane, The Gold Coast and Sydney.