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Old 07-05-2014, 04:34 PM   #1
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how to prepare a new deck for staining

We live in Bay area, CA, between San Francisco and San Jose, and we are building a new deck using kiln dry cedar decking..
The deck surface is about 12” from the ground. The frame has already been completed (poured concrete, Simpson post bases, 2x6 pressure treated lumber) with ~4” space under framing for ventilation. The deck is on the NNE side of the house and so, although there is some roof overhang over the portion of the deck adjacent the house, much of its surface will be exposed to 7+ hours of sun.
Our boards had a rough surface, and our supplier sent it to mill to surface it. We are about to receive our 2”x4” cedar decking from the mill. We want to see the beauty of the wood. We will use hidden fasteners and set a 3/16 gap using CAMO NB tool.
- it a brand new boards, and kiln dry wood. According to what we read, it shouldn’t change dimension too much, and the only thing which can be there is “mill burn”. Should we wait for a month or more to let the boards become gray (oxidize), then use cleaner and brightener to remove “mill glaze” , and only after that start to stain? Or it will be enough to put a little water on the boards to see if wood absorbs the water, or if we have the “drops” somewhere on the on the surface, and use #60(or #100?) paper to “rough”it, then vacuum, and stain?
- What stain is the best? Transparent or semi-transparent, i.e. is there a difference in how long it will survive without re-staining, if we choose very light natural type stain? Which brand? We heard that Armstrong Clark, TWP, Defy are very reliable, but why Consumer reports named Bern, even we read a lot of awful stories about it?
- Should we use 1 or 2 coats?
- Should we brush it on everywhere or roll the surface and brush only between the boards? What brand of roller or brush?
- Is there anything else we should have considered?

Thank you very much,


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Old 07-05-2014, 05:27 PM   #2
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You want to clean the deck prior to it graying. Graying is dead wood fibers. Even a new deck needs to be cleaned prior to staining. Use a quality deck cleaner that has sodium percarbonate as the active ingredient. The cleaner will remove dead wood fibers, contaminants, mill glazing and open the wood pours up to accept stain. Scrub using a nylon brush and rinse with low pressure. After cleaning use a wood brightener, either oxlic, Citric or a blend of both acids. We use a blend of both acids, as citric acid is a little more gentler on the wood.
When applying stain it's best to brush it and apply only one coat. The more coats you apply you are asking for trouble, as it's over application. A semi transparent will generally last a little longer, as it has more pigment in it than a transparent stain.


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Old 07-05-2014, 07:48 PM   #3
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If you have the opportunity, staining/sealing all sided of the dry boards will be a tremendous boon to the life if your deck and the success of maintenance coats.

As far as the prep, your probably best advised to follow the directions for new wood on the stain your using. Armstrong Clark recommends washing with their one step cleaning solution, TWP 100 calls for simply wetting the wood a couple times to open the grain. Some of the stains I use regularly call for using a brightening/mill glaze removal cleaner on new lumber. There generally oxalic acid based. I've had good luck with brighteners, they work especially well on cedar or redwood.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:20 PM   #4
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Thank you both housepaintingny and Jmayspaint, much more clear now, but still (because I don't have nearly such experience as you)
1) firstly, we should choose a stain, right?. Should it be a transparent or semi transparent if we want to see the wood? How it will effect of how often we should re-stain? What is the best stain from your years of experience for a deck which has quite a lot of sun exposure?
2) Ok, it appears that we need to use clearing liquid anyway. Should I use the brightening on a new wood also? what is a role of it? will it whiten the wood? should both of them be the same company as the stain?
3) should we do all of it right after we install the deck, or wait for a 2-4 weeks? it we need to wait - what for, why it can't be done at once?
4) should we clear+brighten on all sides, then install, or install, then clear/brighten (3 sides)?
5) "nylon brush". Which company? "rinse with low pressure" means "use garden hose"?
Thank you again, how lucky we are to have such advisers!
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Old 07-09-2014, 01:14 PM   #5
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steps for a new deck staining

I am trying to finalize here what, based on my reading and your suggestions, should we do to prepare the boards for the new deck and stain it. Here it is – please, point my errors and missing steps/details.
• attach boards to the frame.
• since our cedar is OGVG kiln dry – wait only 2-3 weeks (not months as for the green wood) for wood to weather. Weathering will “settle” the wood, its dimensions and its structure.
• Use a cleaner. Cleaner will “etch” the surface level of the boards, remove glaze, thus make overall surface more porous - - > stain will be absorbed better.
• Use the brightener. The brightener is simply to neutralize the ph component of the cleaner.
• Wash intensively but gently, to remove any chemical which are still there, but not damage the wood.
• Wait 2-3 days for boards to dry (should we cover them, to protect from the sun exposure?)
• Put a stain. Do not spray, rather use brush /pad (what brands?) to avoid bubbles. The best penetrating stain is either TWP1500,which has semi-transparent stain only, or Arstrong Clark, which has both semi-transparent and transparent. I read that Armstrong penetrates the new wood better, but if it is AC - should we use semi-transparent or transparent?
• Expected re-staining -1 year? If most of the deck will be ok – should the deck be covered everywhere except the damaged areas, and only they should be redone, i.e., scrubbed/cleaned/brightened/stained? Or all the deck?

What in these steps is wrong or missing?

Thank you,
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cedar deck , mill burn , preparation , stain

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