Your deck is a valuable asset for your home. You probably stained or sealed it to try to protect it when you first installed it. But now, you’re wondering if the deck has gone too long without a touch-up. How often do you need to refinish your deck? While some will say every year or two years (and that isn’t a bad estimate), it is a little more complicated than that. Here’s what you should consider.

Signs You Need to Re-Stain or Reseal Your Deck

While it’s all well and good to set a rough goal of staining or sealing your deck once per year, no one really wants to do that work unless they have to. What are the signs that your deck really needs some work? First, look at the areas that are most exposed to the sun and the weather when you make your decision. These areas will wear down faster and will need stain or sealant most. So will spots that see more traffic, get sand on them, or pet claws.

Then, look for these signs:

  • Soaking: A deck that has enough sealant will look “beaded” when wet. Water will collect in droplets on the top instead of sinking in. When there are fewer or no beads, your deck needs to be resealed.
  • Fading: A deck that has enough stain will have a consistent color across it and look the color you want it to. Compare the wood under the furniture to the wood most exposed to the elements. If the color is significantly different, it’s time to add more stain.
  • Damage: Mold, algae, cracks, and other damage may all be signs that the deck is too exposed to the elements and needs new sealant to protect it. You may need to sand, repair, or replace boards before you reseal a deck that has been damaged.

If you see these signs, it is time to re-stain or reseal your deck. Likely, you’ll notice them once every year or two years.

That’s Too Often!

We hear you. Refinishing a deck is not exactly a fun task. There are things you can do to keep your deck in better condition for longer and prevent the dreaded refinishing task. That includes:

  • Sweep the deck weekly. The debris will otherwise hold moisture and wear the deck.
  • Don’t use natural rugs on the deck. Natural fibers will also hold moisture.
  • Wash the deck once per year. A quick clean can leave the deck looking good enough to go another year without stain.
  • Do not pressure wash the deck. Excessive pressure will strip the sealant and you’ll end up needing to seal it right away.
  • Use a higher quality sealant or stain. Higher quality products may protect the deck for longer.
  • Rotate furniture. Moving it around will help keep the deck’s color and wear even, reducing the need to stain and seal.

Don’t feel like handling your deck this year? You can always reach out to a professional to have your deck stain and sealed to match your railing.