These days, decks are mainly constructed of two types of materials: Wood or Composite. Both require regular maintenance.

But the maintenance required is different for each type of material.

Wind, water, and sun all are hard on wood and over time wood will rot. Manufacturers of the wood materials treat the wood with rot resistant treatments. This slows down the rot over time. Wood still needs to be stained with an appropriate coating.

Oil based stains are recommended for wood because they soak in and are absorbed by the wood. This allows the stain to get down deeper into the wood fibers; the deeper the better. The stain protects the wood from all the natural elements mentioned earlier.

Wood decks that are maintained with stain should be re-stained, on average, every 3-5 years. Some decks somewhat protected from the elements. Others are more exposed. Shaded areas that do not get a lot of sun or rain are a form of protection. Protected decks can go longer between re-stains. Deck areas that are more exposed will need re-stained sooner.

When wood decks are re-stained- they need to be cleaned really well first. This usually involves pressure washing and often times stripping of the previous stain. Sometimes homeowners will mistakenly “paint” a deck, only to find over time that the paint peels. In that case, the deck should be completely stripped of the paint and stained with a high quality stain.

Stains come in three finishes: transparent, semi-transparent and solid. Generally, the older the deck, the more solid the stain should be.

Composite decks also require maintenance. Composites will require cleaning. They are made of man made materials that resist the weather. While at the same time, they tend to collect mildew. The water on the service does not get absorbed, rather, it sits up on top of the composite. That’s the contributing factor to the mildew. As a result composites must be cleaned with special cleaners. It’s best to follow the deck manufacturer/supplier’s guide lines for cleaning.

If you are uncomfortable trying to figure all this out, it’s best to have your deck cleaned and/or stained by a professional. The best time of year is spring and summer. Lansing Handyman Service can help with your staining needs in the Lansing, Michigan area.

Visit our website to learn more about our handyman services and how we can assist.