Has your deck lost that loving feeling?
No stain lasts forever. In time the elements, sun, rain, freeze-thaw...take a toll and your decking surrenders to the inevitable.
The biggest problem in the deck industry today is that many stain manufactures are all too willing to downplay the key processes that affect the length of time between staining's.
Homeowners are that buy into the advertising find
that in a year or two, their deck needs attention again...opting for the clean & re-stain option only to face it again in another year or two.
There are three keys to a longer lasting deck restoration that many people skip (strip-brighten-quality stain). Some because they simply don't understand the science behind wood staining and preservation...others because they are price shopping. The low price contractor is usually offering a clean & stain bid, also skipping the key steps. It's the age old price versus value misdirection. These contractors are known as "splash and dash" contractors in our industry. They come and go, sometimes faster than their staining job lasts.
For example, lets say a full restoration bid that includes stripping, cleaning, brightening, and using a quality stain comes in at $750. You get another bid and it comes in at $500. In two years the fully restored deck still looks good but the clean & re-stain needs another service. Let me explain why....
Stripping & Brightening
Many decks today are stained with off the shelf stains that are what is known as a "film forming" stain. The stain does not permeate the wood, it covers it. In time, that film loses its bond to the wood and with that the wood loses it's water repellency. Water will now "wick" into the wood, causing further loss of bond to other areas. Skipping the stripping process and recovering is a band-aid fix because it only addresses the areas that lost the film. Other areas now have a film over the old film and when the base film loses it's bond, both come off.
First, keep in mind that the very best deck stains are rarely stocked in the shelves of the big box stores. Discount chains are all about price and in order to fit that model, manufactures use discount ingredients. You want to avoid any water borne fill forming stain. Look for a penetrating oil based stain. You can re-stain a penetrating oil based stain without the problems of a film forming stain.
Back to the example bids...
By the 4th year, your $500 deck bid has cost you $1500 and the "re-stain" looks worse and worse and lasts shorter and shorter. Eventually you'll have to strip the deck to get it to last more than a season. The full restoration, using a quality penetrating oil stain lasted three years with a clean & re-stain at the third year, extending the life to 5-6 years...at about 60% the cost.
Price versus (long term) value...
This is why we refer to our deck services as "deck restoration"