Deck maintenance is something every homeowner should stay on top of. Not only is a well-maintained deck a nice addition to your home, but ensuring the wood is properly treated and refinished on a regular basis can help the wood last longer.

On average, a deck should be refinished every 2-3 years. However, the exact scheduling will depend on the type of wood that was used when your deck was originally constructed. Some wood may be able to go up to 5 years between refinishing, while others will need regular bi-annual maintenance.

Wood Types for Deck Refinishing

A newly constructed wood deck should be given 30 to 60 days after construction to dry out. This gives the wood time to also compress and expand as the temperatures change across that month or two. After the 30 to 60 days time, the first stain finish can be added to the wood.

Upkeep and general maintenance will depend on a variety of factors including the wood type used in construction, the climate in your location, and whether or not the wood was pre-treated with preservatives or insect repellant.

Pressure treated lumber is one of the top choices when it comes to building a deck. This type of lumber will need to cure for several months before stain can be added. In order to determine whether or not this lumber needs refinishing, try pouring some water on it or watching how rain reacts. If it continues to bead up and roll away, the deck is still properly treated. If it soaks in, the deck can be refinished.

Green lumber is freshly cut wood that has not yet been properly cured or treated. It can sometimes be mistaken for green treated lumber which is wood that has been coated in a decay and rot preventative. In most cases, green lumber can take up to one year to properly cure before it can be stained or refinished.

Kiln dried lumber is another popular choice, however it may be expensive when compared to standard pressure treated lumber. It’s commonly used for lodgepole type buildings and can take around two months to cure before it can be stained for the first time. Afterwards, it can go for around three years between refinishing.

Signs to Watch For

If you aren’t sure when it might be time to refinish your deck, there are some signs you can look for which may help you determine how soon you need to refinish the wood.

  • You notice mold or mildew
  • The stain or other coating is flaking off
  • Some of the wood is not uniform in color
  • Rain is soaking into the deck instead of beading

If you notice any of these signs, you might want to consider having your deck refinished within the next couple of weeks to a month. Staying on top of regular deck refinishing and general lumber maintenance can keep your deck looking its best for many years to come.

Need more help? Reach out to your local deck builder in Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, and more.