Make a Plan Before Attacking Outdoor Projects
With our looong Minnesota spring, you might be anxious to dig into some major outdoor home improvement. Decking and landscaping are two of the most popular summer projects. But along with these sweat equity feats can come some pretty significant fails. So while you’re creating your lumber store and garden center shopping list, take a little time to do a little research too.
It’s a common myth that new deck wood needs to cure 3 months or more before finishing. If you are building new or replacing decking, it can be stained as soon as the wood is dry, as long as it is properly prepared. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and don’t skip the cleaning a pre-finish conditioning step- this is what will make the stain go on more evenly.
- More appeal with less peel. Properly preparing a deck will help with adhesion, but the other major reason decks peel is over application.
- Avoid over application. More is not better with deck stains. You want a light coat that will absorb into the wood. Then recoat according to product drying instructions, again with a light coat. Wood absorbs moisture from rain and snow. When it dries out, the moisture needs to escape. Too much stain prevents that, and can loosen the finish from underneath.
- Changing chemical composition. Regulations to improve air quality required paint and stain manufacturers to create products with less (Volatile Organic Compounds). While good for air quality, low VOC water-based stains are more inclined to peel than solvent-based predecessors. Which leads to the next point…
- Don’t cheap out on product. We bought a quality product at a big box store, and had a big fail. What was really aggravating was having to sand the entire, large deck down, recondition it and start over with a Sherwin Williams oil-based product. The results were beautiful.
- Time of day matters. Avoid applying stain in direct sunlight or in the heat of the day because the stain will dry too quickly. Not only will hot conditions prevent absorbtion, the application may be streaky if it is drying as you are applying it. Do the project in the shade, in the morning or late afternoon. Work in small sections down the grain of the wood.
- Use a Brush. It may be tempting to mop the stain on like some sites suggest. We followed Sherwin Williams suggestions and used a brush. The fibers of the brush work the stain into the wood and also give you more control to get into cracks and avoid getting stain on the adjacent row.
Gopher State One Call
800-252-1166 or dial 811
- Make sure to call at least two business days beforeyou need to start excavations or digging. Be prepared to give the type of excavation being performed and the specific location.
- Remember, you’re responsible for marking your own private lines. Private lines include facilities located after the electric meter such as private electric drops, invisible pet fences, sprinkler systems, yard lights, gas grill lines, etc.
According to the MN Department of Health, 652 Minnesotans went to the emergency department and two died from heat-related illness in 2015. When it’s hot outside, make sure and stay hydrated and take a long break in the middle of the afternoon with the heat index is high, or go jump in a lake and cool off!