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Old 11-07-2007, 01:44 PM   #1
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New deck staining questions


Not sure if this is the forum I should be posting this on or not, close as I could get. Iím having a new deck put on out of the second story walk out in the kitchen. Other details Ė I live in SE lower peninsula of Michigan. Deck boards will be pressure-treated pine, fascia and trim will be western red cedar, and am going with the Deckorator aluminum balusters. Deck is on the east side of the house, therefore will not get the hot afternoon sun.

The deck contractor building it said I do not (actually he recommended I do not) stain or put anything on it until spring. He said the wood needs to thoroughly dry. From what Iíve been reading online, this is fine and recommended by most. Agree?

My questions are:

1) When spring does arrive, what is the procedure? How thorough of a cleaning/prep work is recommended on a 6-7 month old deck that hasnít had anything done to it? Power wash or just a simple cleaning with a solution and some kind of brush?

2) StainingĖ Iíve decided on a semi-transparent stain. Iíve read too many bad things about solid and clear stains so I think the one in the middle will be best. From what I understand, semi allows you to still see the grain while providing a higher degree of protection than a clear. So the question is, oil or latex? Iíve read oil penetrates the wood better than latex and generally provides longer protection. But oil based products are a pain to deal with compared to latex based. Someone also told me there are latex based products now that absorb and perform like an oil based. Is this true?

3) Brand Ė Good thing Iíve done a little research. Here I thought Behr was a great product (probably because I spend way too much time in Home Depot). Everything I read in these contractor forums says their product is junk. Iíve read to stay away from the big box stores and the products they sell, but Loweís sells Cabot. And Iíve read they have a good product. What about Flood , Ben Moore, or Wolman products? Iíve also heard the name Sikkens and Ready Seal quite a bit as quality products.

4) Underneath the deck and support beams Ė do these areas need protection? If so, what kind of product?

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Old 11-07-2007, 06:41 PM   #2
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New deck staining questions


Sikkens or Cabot stains will perform better than the others. "Penofin" is the best of all yet you will pay considerably more for it too.
1st, Check with the lumber manufacturer to understand which of these will work best with their treated chemicals.
You only need to worry about the lumber that which is directly exposed to the elements.
If the lumber is dry then let fly. Often times the newer treated lumber, which by the way no longer contains coppersulphate or other harmful carcinogens, tends to dry out sooner than the old green treated wood.
Last I heard, water based sealers work equally and often out perform the old fashioned oils.

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:04 PM   #3
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New deck staining questions


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The deck contractor building it said I do not (actually he recommended I do not) stain or put anything on it until spring. He said the wood needs to thoroughly dry. From what Iíve been reading online, this is fine and recommended by most. Agree?
Although some lumber suppliers will claim immediate coating is possible, and the wood doesn't have to "season" with their combination of chemicals, I've seen stains peel off such wood coated too soon
I'd still wait a season (three months) if possible, less depending on a visual inspection, and more wouldn't be a bad idea
In your case it's too cold now anyway, and will be until spring
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My questions are:
Actually, you started up there ^^^^
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Originally Posted by sk8z View Post
1) When spring does arrive, what is the procedure? How thorough of a cleaning/prep work is recommended on a 6-7 month old deck that hasnít had anything done to it? Power wash or just a simple cleaning with a solution and some kind of brush?
That will depend on the condition of the deck at that time, and what type of coating is going on it
I would expect at least a good cleaning with a brush and solution, or maybe a powerwash
It may need more aggressive cleaning solution, PWing, and then a brightening
Won't know till then
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2) StainingĖ Iíve decided on a semi-transparent stain. Iíve read too many bad things about solid and clear stains so I think the one in the middle will be best. From what I understand, semi allows you to still see the grain while providing a higher degree of protection than a clear. So the question is, oil or latex? Iíve read oil penetrates the wood better than latex and generally provides longer protection. But oil based products are a pain to deal with compared to latex based. Someone also told me there are latex based products now that absorb and perform like an oil based. Is this true?
Huh...no bad things about clear or solid come to mind
It just depends on what you are looking for
True clears do not provide as much UV protection as something with a little tint, that's just the nature of the beast
Oil, in reality, in most environments, does provide better protection for longer
They are not at all a "pain" to deal with
However, as they are solvent-based, less VOC friendly and need solvent clean-up
So could be considered perhaps a little more inconvenient that latex
Latex generally will not last as long or protect as well as oil-based
Although modern water-based products are much better than a decade ago, and oil-based products are losing effectiveness due to reformulations due to solvent costs and VOC concerns, oil still wins
* one could conceivably find a specific water based product that out performs a specific solvent-based product, but as a general rule it's still latex every year and oil every three for maint.
Even with the top tier products
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3) Brand Ė Good thing Iíve done a little research. Here I thought Behr was a great product (probably because I spend way too much time in Home Depot). Everything I read in these contractor forums says their product is junk. Iíve read to stay away from the big box stores and the products they sell, but Loweís sells Cabot. And Iíve read they have a good product. What about Flood , Ben Moore, or Wolman products? Iíve also heard the name Sikkens and Ready Seal quite a bit as quality products.
You must be careful with the "brand" game
Like everything else, the manufacturers have different levels of product, for different consumers and price points
For example, I can strongly recommend Cabots an excellent brand of deck product...however, I don't care for there Pro VT line, and the SPF line I've never used based on feedback from other contractors (which was so poor I never bothered to try the product myself and take the chance of looking bad on a customer's deck)
So, although I have used mostly oil-based Cabot on "clear"/semi- stained decks over the years, I can't recommend all of the "lines" they produce

I use (mostly) Cabots for "clear"/semi-, Sikkens (Rubold DEK) for solid..both in oil (if at all poss.)
Wolman's has the best true clear (Cabots has the slightest tinge of brown and gold that works great, but is not a true clear)
The Ben Moore oils work fine, especially the semi-solids
I have less love for the BM acrylics, but for water-based they are better than most

Sherwin Williams, at least around here, doesn't have oil-based deck products and their acrylics are poor

Behr is truly horrible and much worse then anything else I've listed so far

I've not used Flood or Ready Seal
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4) Underneath the deck and support beams Ė do these areas need protection? If so, what kind of product?
Couldn't hurt, will only help
The same stuff you use on the deck is fine
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:21 AM   #4
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New deck staining questions


Thanks for the very informative response Slickshift. Actually the "bad things" I was referring to with solid finishes was the maintenance issues. Seems like i've read numerous accounts of the solid finishes peeling and generally just more of a PITA to keep up. Main reason I don't want solid though is I don't want to cover the wood grain. And the transparents (as you also stated) don't give UV protection.

I do have a question on the Cabot line. If you go to their website under deck finishes, it lists natural, semi-solid, and solid. I don't see a deck product for semi-transparent (I find one for fences/siding). Is their semi-solid deck product the same as semi-transparent?
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Old 11-08-2007, 06:24 PM   #5
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It's only a matter of time Slick. Sikkens has a waterborne SRD in the works as we speak.

I don't know a great deal about Cabots but it looks to me based on the website that the Semi-solid would be what you need, but it doesn't look like a traditional semi-transparent to me. It looks like they are using a clear base but putting opaque pigments in it. These types of stains tend to obscure the wood more than a product like Sikkens SRD which used translucent pigments to allow a more natural color appearance. However, opaque pigments do offer better UV protection.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:04 PM   #6
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Actually the "bad things" I was referring to with solid finishes was the maintenance issues. Seems like i've read numerous accounts of the solid finishes peeling and generally just more of a PITA to keep up. Main reason I don't want solid though is I don't want to cover the wood grain. And the transparents (as you also stated) don't give UV protection.
Not applicable to you for other reasons, but perhaps a good place to point out for others reading that I have never seen (or even heard of from) a solid stain peel, unless it was put over improperly prepped wood (esp. over mold/mildew), was actually a paint (not a stain), or was Behr...which is pretty remarkable as it is extremely difficult to get a stain to peel
They tend to dull and wear, but if a stain is actually peeling, there's some serious, serious, issues at work there


Quote:
Originally Posted by sk8z View Post
I do have a question on the Cabot line. If you go to their website under deck finishes, it lists natural, semi-solid, and solid. I don't see a deck product for semi-transparent (I find one for fences/siding). Is their semi-solid deck product the same as semi-transparent?
Pretty much yes
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Old 11-14-2007, 12:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk8z
I do have a question on the Cabot line. If you go to their website under deck finishes, it lists natural, semi-solid, and solid. I don't see a deck product for semi-transparent (I find one for fences/siding). Is their semi-solid deck product the same as semi-transparent?

Pretty much yes
I emailed Cabot directly the same day I asked the above question. Here was their response:

"Cabot does not make a semi-transparent
decking stain. If you want to achieve a semi-transparent look, you can
mix one gallon Decking Stain (1400/7400) tinted to the
color of your choice with one gallon Decking stain 1400/7400 clear."

So how "solid" is their semi-solid compared to a semi-transparent? My concern is Cabot's semi-solid covers too much grain detail. I could mix as recommended by Cabot, but i'm trying to avoid the hassle of something like this. I'd like something I can just open the can and apply.

On another note, has anyone ever used Baker's Gray Away stain? That stuff gets absolute rave reviews on various message boards, but I can't tell if it's just a concerted effort by the distributors of the product to push their product. It appears that everyone that is doing the raving on the product is someone who sells it as well. I'd love to hear an independent review from a pro.
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Old 11-14-2007, 06:45 PM   #8
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Ah...that's interesting
Well, yes, I would say that a semi-solid is more solid than a semi-trans
Keeping in mind that both are in between an opaque and a solid

I would suggest dropping by your local Ben Moore dealer
They have quality decking stains where each color comes in solid, semi-solid, and semi-trans
Might be worth checking out

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