All Hands on Deck! Answers to Your Deck Care Questions

In this article, Pintor Pro answers five questions pro painters frequently ask about deck care.

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 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 to 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.

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.

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.

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.

Get more answers to paint product and application questions in the Pintor Pro magazine archive.