upkeep for your outdoor deck

JayMantri / Pixabay

Types of Deck Material and Their Cost

Most people plan all kinds of gatherings in the summer for their friends and family, from quiet time to barbecue bashes, and many of these events take place outside on the deck. If your outdoor deck is a focal place for your family during the warm season, you need to make sure it is safe and maintained properly.

There are multiple types of decking, depending on your budget. Treated lumber is a popular and economical option but it can warp and crack. For a more natural look, cedar and redwood are excellent choices but are soft wood and more expensive.

Plastic and composite decking represent one of the fastest growing materials for outdoor decks because it is basically maintenance free, but you pay a premium price. Here is more info on these options and their cost:

Pressure-Treated Wood

One of the least-expensive decking materials you can buy, pressure-treated decking is used on about 75% of all U.S. decks. It’s chemically treated to resist rot, mold, and insects. However, it usually made from inferior-grades of pine or fir that tend to crack and warp over time, making maintenance an ongoing chore. In the past, pressure-treated wood was treated with chromated copper arsenate, a suspected carcinogen. Today’s P-T wood uses safer, less-toxic preservatives. Cost: $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot.


For aficionados of natural wood, cedar is a natural choice. Widely available, lightweight, and strong, cedar decking makes for a beautiful deck. The wood has tannins and naturally occurring oils that are resistant to rot and insects, but protecting the wood with stain and sealer helps keep the wood free of cracks and splinters. Without protection, both cedar and redwood will eventually turn a soft gray color. Cost: $3.75 to $5 per square foot.

RedwoodRedwood Deck

Similar in characteristics to cedar, redwood is the classic choice for natural wood decking material. Although redwood decking is generally available in the West, it can be harder to find in the eastern regions of the country. It’s pricier than cedar, with select, clear grades of redwood commanding top dollar. Cost: $6 to $8 per square foot.


Composite decking boards and related synthetics are the fastest-growing segment of the decking board industry. They’re made from wood fibers and recycled plastics, they won’t warp or splinter, and they’re impervious to insects and rot. Composite and other synthetic decking has the advantage of being virtually maintenance-free. Improved manufacturing has helped composite decking boards look and feel like real wood. Cost: $7 to $10 per square foot.

Read more here

Preparing the Wood for Stain

Other than composite material, staining and sealing your deck is part of the maintenance of your deck, which prevents the wood from fading, warping, and deteriorating. It all begins with cleaning the surface to assure it is grease and grit free.

You may need to sand any damaged areas that are starting to crack or splinter with fine grit sandpaper. Follow this with using a scrub brush and then apply an appropriate cleaner to remove any dirt and grease. After working the cleaner into the wood, rinse it off using a power washer and let it dry thoroughly.

This video shows the proper way to clean your deck before applying the sealer:

Applying the Stain or Sealer

Now you are ready to apply the stain and/or sealer. Most stains should be sealed to prevent the color from bleeding, There are numerous types of products, so ask an expert before using one to assure it is compatible with your project.

You can apply stain and sealer with a brush, roller, or a sprayer. Always read the directions first so you are following the manufacturer’s advice, such as how long it needs to dry and what temperature is best for the application.

Here are some good tips for staining your deck:

  • Don’t apply deck product in direct sun. The finish will dry too quickly and won’t absorb into the wood.

    Hot sun

    geralt / Pixabay

  • Use the water test to check your deck every few months to ensure the sealer is repelling water.
  • Regularly sweep off debris.
  • If you have a brand-new deck made of treated lumber (as opposed to cedar or redwood), you should wait at least a few weeks before sealing it for the first time. This allows the wood to dry so the stain is absorbed.

See the full post here:  https://www.lowes.com/projects/porch-deck-and-patio/clean-seal-stain-deck/project

If this all sounds like a lot of work, you are right. Most painting contractors in Denver are experienced at managing deck maintenance or can suggest a good company to contact, so call today to find out more.