Freshly Stained Cabin Deck

North Georgia is fortunate to have year-round moderate temperatures making deck use a favorite past-time.   Indeed, many cabins are designed with outdoor use in mind with dining and living areas featuring hot tubs, fireplaces, play areas and even flatscreen TVs.  Decks probably take more abuse than any other area of your mountain home.  Decks are susceptible to high levels of surface abrasion caused by foot traffic and dragging objects around such as furniture and grills.  They handle all the weather extremes such as full sun exposure, rain, and the occasional snow and ice.  Even the buildup of leaves in the fall is problematic causing staining and holding dampness (need to keep those decks blown off!) which can penetrate the deck finish.

Film-forming finishes that provide a furniture-like glossy or satin appearance like primers, deck paints, and heavily pigmented stains are most prone to failure.  Non-film forming finishes that penetrate deeper into the wood will provide a better protective and longer-term attractive finish.  Film-forming finishes will need to be physically or chemically removed to get back to the bare wood but non-film forming finishes can be recoated periodically anywhere from one to three years depending on sun exposure and usage.

The experts at recommend using a non-film forming stain such as TWP 100 “Total Wood Preservative” Deck Stain which protects and maintains all exterior wooden surfaces highlighting existing grain patterns.   TWP 100 products offer an excellent selection of stain colors that penetrate deeply without excessive film buildup. TWP Wood Stain is a unique blend of chemicals in a contractor grade formula that safeguards and protects exterior wooden surfaces. TWP Exterior Wood Preservatives are the only wood and deck stains on the market that are registered as exterior wood preservatives by the EPA.   As always, follow the manufacturer’s directions when preparing wood and applying a finish for all your log cabin deck maintenance projects.  

To prepare your previously finished deck, it is recommended that you use a power washer to remove any caked-on dirt, fungus, mold, flaking finish, etc.   Use a lower pressure washer such as a 1500 psi pressure washer.   Higher pressure is unnecessary and may damage the wood.   Start off with the lowest pressure and build up to find the right pressure needed for the job.   For optimal cleaning, use a low-foaming detergent peroxide bleach such as CPR, KleenStart, or Wood ReNew.   As a reminder, chlorine house-hold bleach is not friendly to the environment and can create hazardous substances when used on CCA (chromated copper arsenate) treated wood. For this reason, CCA pressure-treated lumber was removed from the market in 2003.

Depending on what previous finish was used and how bad it is peeling or flaking, you might need to use a paint stripper or media blasting process to prepare the wood for the new finish.  It’s rare that the wood cannot be prepared to take a new finish. Moreover, a new finish is generally cheaper than laying down brand-new pressure-treated lumber which will also need to be finished in the near future.   Not to mention the fact that fresh lumber sticks out next to old finishes.  Thus, in most cases, refinishing is a better and less expensive alternative to re-decking.   Cabin-Keeper can help you decide how best to handle your log cabin deck maintenance.