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Spruce up your deck for spring

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

May 7, 2011 — Did your deck take a beating this winter? Follow these tips to fix it up right the first time and get back to enjoying the great outdoors.

Decks all over Canada are showing signs of winter wear
Decks all over Canada are showing signs of winter wear

This past winter was a harsh one across much of Canada, and many patio decks are showing the strain.

Paint or stain that's peeling away to reveal weather-beaten wood is a sure sign that your deck is in need of a little TLC.

The Weather Network's Shelley Steeves met up with Dave Garland, owner of Garland Paint and Paper in Moncton, New Brunswick. Garland shared his tips for staining success.

The biggest factor is dryness, Garland says. People who were too busy shovelling snow off their roofs and driveways to worry about shovelling their decks will notice a distinct pattern of peeling where moisture has penetrated the coating.

With that in mind, it's best to check the weather forecast before starting any outdoor home improvement project. If the daytime temperature will be below about 6°C, if there's rain in the forecast, or if there's a strong likelihood that the dewpoint will be reached overnight, save the project for another day.

“Most of our stains now are these new hybrids. They are kind of an oil base with water clean up (and) they are very sensitive to temperature, particularly the cure temperature that hits overnight when the stain is trying to dry,” Garland says.

The secret to successful staining is dry wood and dry air
The secret to successful staining is dry wood and dry air

The dewpoint -- or the temperature at which ambient moisture near the ground will condense and form dew -- is the critical number to watch in the forecast before attempting to stain.

“It may be nice enough today to stain your deck, but it may be a damp night throughout the evening,” Garland cautions, adding that most stains need about 24 dry hours to cure properly.

The wood also needs to be completely dry before you begin staining it, so never start staining the day after a rainfall.

Garland suggests dripping a little water onto the wood to test it first.

“If the water beads, your water-based stain is probably going to bead too and not penetrate in.”

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