In a climate like we have here in Teton Valley, and in Jackson Hole, the key to keeping your deck looking good is maintenance. Like in so many places with elevations like ours the main culprit in the deterioration of your decking is the sun.
People often ask me how to stain a deck? The answer can vary on the exposure to the sun and amount of moisture you get on them.
Personally, on my own house, I stain my decks every other year. My decks are covered though, and even though they get their fair amount of moisture on them. It is not direct. And a small amount of the boards actually receives direct sunlight. If your decks are not protected and are out in the elements the answer is, stain them every year.
The next most asked question is what do I stain them with?
There are a lot of products out there to stain with. In my experience, I have really not found one that performs better than another. That is to say that there is no miracle deck stain that will last for years. There are however different types of stain. The main types are transparent, semi-transparent, semi-solid, and solid. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of these.
A transparent stain is a stain that does not have a lot of pigment in it. Although it does have enough that it does come in different colors. I recommend this type of stain for newer decks, or decks that have been previously stained with this type of material. The advantage to this stain is that it tends to just fade over time. That makes it easier to re-stain. You can generally do a minimum amount of prep and just stain over the top of the old stain. The disadvantage because the pigment is a major part in the protection of paint and stain it may not protect your deck as well as a stain with more pigment.
Semi and semi-solid refer to stains that have more pigment in them respectively. Although they don’t have near the pigment that a solid body stain does, it definitely has more than a transparent stain. These stains are great for decks that are showing a lot more wear or a deck that has been neglected. The advantage to this stain is that it comes in more colors than a transparent stain. It also offers more protection. The disadvantage is that when you start putting stains on that use pigment, you will run into the problem of peeling. This leads to more prep time when it comes time to re-stain, and can also lead to a certain amount of unevenness when you do re-stain.
Solid body stain is a stain that has a lot of pigment in it. You could almost compare it to a paint. I recommend this on a deck that has been completely neglected and just needs a good coat of protection. The downside to this is that you will get peeling. In our climate, it is really hard to get this type of stain to last. Although it offers good protection and will look good for a while. Plan on doing more prep in between coats.
When thinking about how to stain a deck, keep in mind, deck maintenance is a yearly project here in Teton Valley and Jackson Hole.
A combination of our elevation and our harsh climate makes keeping your deck looking good a tough job. With over 20 years of experience, Phillips Painting we can make that an easier process. Let Tim know if he can help keep your deck looking like great!