Deck Care FAQ: Your Questions Answered

Deck Care FAQ: Your Questions Answered

In this article, PPC Ask Your ProPartner™ columnist Rick Watson answers five questions pro painters asked about deck care.

  1. How long should I tell my customers to wait before they use their deck?
  2. What’s the best way to stain a concrete deck that is old and porous and has never been coated?
  3. How can I convince my customers of the importance of proper deck protection?
  4. Can I apply a water-based stain over a deck coated with an oil-based formula?
  5. Can I just use bleach to clean a deck?

How long should I tell my customers to wait before they use their deck?

As a general guideline, if conditions are mild — the weather is dry and the temperatures are in the 70s — you should be able to walk on a deck finished with SuperDeck exterior deck stains in a half day to overnight. Again, that depends on which SuperDeck finish was used and weather conditions. I would wait at least 24 to 48 hours before moving patio furniture back on the deck and returning it to active use.

The exterior concrete deck I plan to stain is old and porous — my customer says it has never been previously coated. How should I handle this situation?

As always, you want to make sure the surface is completely clean and free of any grease or contaminants that could interfere with the adhesion. To make sure there is not a sealer on the concrete, just sprinkle some water on it in multiple areas.

If the water soaks in, that is the indication there is not a sealer on the concrete. Once clean, dry and sound, stain away.

If the water beads up, that indicates there is a sealer present and you’ll need to remove it. If not removed, your new stain, sealer or coating will likely not adhere.

Some of my customers understand the value and importance of deck care. Others think a “less-than-premium” finish every few years will keep it looking and performing as good as new. How can I convince them of the importance of proper deck protection?

You can start by reminding them that in the battle of nature vs. under- protected composites and wood, nature invariably wins. You can also remind them that maximizing their investment in a deck – and for that matter, their home – depends on a deck care program suited to their deck. And there’s a SuperDeck® deck care system that can be customized specifically for their unique needs.

Whether a deck has been recently pressure-treated or previously coated, the SuperDeck line of products and stains offers the right formula to not only protect your customers’ investment, but to complement and enhance its natural beauty. And one of our most popular products – SuperDeck Waterborne Semi-Transparent Stain – is now available with a three-year warranty, further providing your customers long-term assurances and satisfaction that their deck will withstand the elements and retain its appearance.

If a deck is already stained, does the stain I put on it have to be the same kind – in other words, is a water-based stain compatible with an oil-based formula?

Normally there are a lot of reasons for re-staining a deck. It may be worn-out, discolored, peeling and flaking. Or, you might just want to freshen up what was on the deck previously.

Since some stains and sealers do not adhere well to others, it’s best to start by removing any old stain or sealer with SuperDeck Stain & Sealer Remover. This will remove stains and sealers that could prevent a new sealer or stain from adhering.

The next step would be use SuperDeck Revive Deck and Siding Brightener to neutralize the surface and to bring back the natural color of the wood. Then test the absorbency of the wood by sprinkling water on the surface. If the water penetrates into the wood quickly, the wood is ready to finish. If the water beads up or does not soak in, you’ll need to do the process over again until the stain or sealer is completely removed. If not completely removed, your new stain, sealer or coating will likely not adhere.

Can I just use bleach to clean a deck?

We do not recommend bleach for cleaning decks, as it tends to be too harsh on the wood substrate and vegetation typically found around decks. We recommend the use of the SuperDeck line of cleaners.

The type of cleaning needed depends on which SuperDeck cleaner we use. As always, read the application instructions carefully. Your Sherwin-Williams representative can guide you as well.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of PPC magazine. Rick Watson, Product Information, Sherwin-Williams, answers contractor questions in the Ask Your ProPartner™ column of PPC magazine. Read more of his answers to pro painters’ most pressing questions.

Got a question not answered here? Stop by your local Sherwin-Williams store or contact your sales rep. Their employees are trained to have the product knowledge and application expertise to solve your toughest coating problems. Find a store near you.

If you don’t need an immediate answer to your question, you can also email your question to us at Questions submitted to PPC may be published in a future print and/or digital edition of the magazine.