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Topic # 229023 4-Feb-2018 11:38
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Hi all,

 

We have a two story house on an angled slope in Wellington with large amount of wodden decking on the both levels cconnected with wodden steps in between. This was added sometime in the late 90's and I think it's pine but I can't be certain.. (it's the standard bevelled style decking you see everywhere). Also, the upper level gets more or less all day sun. 

 

Our access is horrible so if we ever have to repalce this much decking it will be a nightmere. In this context collgues have told me that I should really be staining it in order to prolong its life but this isn't something we have done since buying the house in late 2014.

 

Now that the rest of our rennovations are finished, i'm contemplating taking on the staining task before this summer is over. However, having done some research it seems that no one is happy with the stain they have used. Either it's still tacky a year on, or it's faded and patchy looking a year on, or both. This seems true of various products, not just one type. My parants are so upset with their stain that they are going to flip the planks and start over. 

 

So i'm a bit spooked by all these bad experiences, generally worn out by 3 years of rennovating and wondering if this is something we need to do?? Can anyone provide some perspective about whether staining a deck of this age would materially add to its life? 

 

Many thanks!


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Wannabe Geek
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  Reply # 1951333 4-Feb-2018 12:00
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I am interested in this as well. I've just completed a macrocarpa deck and have 90% decided to leave it unstained/unoiled. I like the driftwood grey look so unfinished will work for me. Your deck must be pushing 20 years old so, if it's still sound, you could probably continue doing your current maintenance. If you're trying to get a few more years from the deck you could just use a clear oil, so no colour choice to be disappointed in, and little chance of it being patchy.

 

If it was me and I was happy with the look, I would put my feet up after all the renovations and enjoy a few BBQs on the classic looking kiwi deck.


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  Reply # 1951344 4-Feb-2018 13:27
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We had our deck rebuilt a few years ago by a builder mate and we asked him about staining it - he said, to be honest, staining pine decks only adds on a few more years of life. If you want it a particular color, then fine, but to keep it that color you need to restain it every so often - so said it comes down to how much work you want to put into it. 

 

Weve left ours "naked' for now.

 

 





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  Reply # 1951379 4-Feb-2018 13:40
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Some tips for exterior wooden things I was given by an old bridge carpenter;

 

Place the planks with heart of the wood to the bottom. The heart side often has a smoother appearance tempting you to place it on top, don't.

 

Paint the ends of planks or boards with enamel paint.

 

You say you live in Wellington which has a maritime climate. My choice would be to stain.

 

Use an oil based rather than a water based stain. It will cost more but gives a better long term result.

 

My advice leans toward durability rather than appearance. Keeping exterior wood surfaces as new can absorb a lot of effort. My choice would be to aim for durability and not worry about appearance.


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  Reply # 1951443 4-Feb-2018 15:22
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We have a 1994 pine deck (H2 above ground, H4 in ground). The tread surface was breaking up and it was getting much harder to clean - to preserve the surface we only waterblast at low pressures.

 

We stained it with 2 coats in 2013 and it has been given a new lease of life. It is easier to keep clean, the surface has stopped breaking up. It is more pleasant to walk on. We would have made 30 years without the stain but the deck would have looked terrible. Now I feel confident that the tread decking will last as long as the posts and reach 35-40 years.

 

We restained it with 2 more coats in 2015 and it will be restained again this year, 2018. It would look pristine if restained annually but biannually is sufficient for to keep it looking really good. After 3 years it has lost its shine.

 

We used Cabots Aquadeck both times. After a few days of sunshine it hasn't felt sticky to walk on. We didn't like using the recommended woolen applicator the first and second time so we've used brushes for a better finish without using as much stain.


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  Reply # 1951444 4-Feb-2018 15:24
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Meh I dunno. We've been staining (typical grooved pine) and it's expensive maintenance, needs done every 2 years at least. Looks nice, matches the house. Darker is supposed to protect better. Mine is light. Mates leave it to grey, looks fine to me. Staining probably does add some life, in pine at least but I reckon as long as the framing stays sound the deck planking might very well be cheaper to replace than stain. Stain is not cheap.

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  Reply # 1951448 4-Feb-2018 15:48
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I should have added why we use a water-based stain. Our deck is quite heavily used with many people walking up and down the ramp each day. So we needed the stain to dry quickly - water-based stain can be walked on within a couple of hours. If we'd used oil-based then we wouldn't have to stain as often but we wouldn't be able to use it at all for at least a day.

 

Our deck is also exposed to the weather being north-facing which is towards the sun and the predominant wind. I inspected it just now and the surface is unchanged from five years ago which makes me think that it will now last 40 years and still look good.


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  Reply # 1951569 4-Feb-2018 19:22
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adds on a few more years of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you go.

 

Have to rot quicker - or not.


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  Reply # 1951592 4-Feb-2018 20:21
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ObidiahSlope: ... Use an oil based rather than a water based stain. It will cost more but gives a better long term result ...

 

This. Wouldn't cracking be (partially) a result of the timber losing water content? So oil-based might be more stable because less subject to evaporation. 


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  Reply # 1951604 4-Feb-2018 21:24
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Oiling / staining a deck will stop it greying off. I don't like the grey look so always oil. It does require a fair bit of upkeep; I got to the point where I did ours each summer since it looked so good once done. Goes on pretty quick with a lambswool applicator and the proper bucket though.

 

Pretty much all stains and oils are oil-based; however for some, clever chemists have figured out a way of making the solvent water based with an oil stain. So you can get products that leave an oil stain behind but you clean up your brushes in water. e.g. Resene Waterborne Woodsman (don't use that on decks though) and Cabots Aquadeck.

 

I've used Aquadeck on a Vitex deck before and was really happy with it.


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  Reply # 1951649 5-Feb-2018 00:02
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Are they decks (uncovered, useless space in rain or summer sun) or verandahs? We have ungrooved verandahs that are going on 40 years that are perfectly sound but also bits and pieces of exposed grooved decking that starts deteriorating quickly. I'd say the best protection is a roof, opaque and at a height that allows the midday sun's angle of exposure to most of the surface only a fair time before and after summer solstice.

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  Reply # 1951810 5-Feb-2018 09:43
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rhy7s: Are they decks (uncovered, useless space in rain or summer sun) or verandahs? We have ungrooved verandahs that are going on 40 years that are perfectly sound but also bits and pieces of exposed grooved decking that starts deteriorating quickly. I'd say the best protection is a roof, opaque and at a height that allows the midday sun's angle of exposure to most of the surface only a fair time before and after summer solstice.

 

Your grooved decking is upside down - this is why it's deteriorating faster than your ungrooved verandahs.

 

This article explains it pretty well, but essentially the grooves aren't for traction when walking on it, or to look pretty. According to manufacturers, the grooved side is actually designed to face downward and channel water away from the boards preventing moisture and mould build up.

 

Placing the grooved side up actually holds water on the top surface, extending drying times and allowing more moisture absorption. This leads to more expansion/contraction cracking as well as faster overall deterioration.

 

Another article on the same issue here

 

 


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  Reply # 1951819 5-Feb-2018 09:58
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Wheelbarrow01:

 

rhy7s: Are they decks (uncovered, useless space in rain or summer sun) or verandahs? We have ungrooved verandahs that are going on 40 years that are perfectly sound but also bits and pieces of exposed grooved decking that starts deteriorating quickly. I'd say the best protection is a roof, opaque and at a height that allows the midday sun's angle of exposure to most of the surface only a fair time before and after summer solstice.

 

Your grooved decking is upside down - this is why it's deteriorating faster than your ungrooved verandahs.

 

This article explains it pretty well, but essentially the grooves aren't for traction when walking on it, or to look pretty. According to manufacturers, the grooved side is actually designed to face downward and channel water away from the boards preventing moisture and mould build up.

 

Placing the grooved side up actually holds water on the top surface, extending drying times and allowing more moisture absorption. This leads to more expansion/contraction cracking as well as faster overall deterioration.

 

Another article on the same issue here

 

 

Ooh, now you've done it. There are plenty of articles arguing the reverse (if it were true, the reed shape is an odd one to pick. 40mm decking uses a triangular pattern on the "back". Grip tread does offer better grip *across*, although not along the tread. If it is really necessary, why is hardwood decking finished with smooth faces on both sides? etc. etc.).

 

BUT regardless of who was right or wrong initially, you need to decide in advance and buy your decking timber accordingly. Almost all timber will be graded or faced with a better and worse side, in particular the number of knots. If you buy timber graded/faced on the grip tread side and install it face down, you will be looking at a lot of knots (and vice versa). So far as I can tell, most pine decking timber you buy off the shelf in Bunnings/Mitre 10 will typically be graded/faced on the grip tread side. If you want a smooth finish, it will be a special order.


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  Reply # 1951841 5-Feb-2018 10:32
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Wheelbarrow01:

rhy7s: Are they decks (uncovered, useless space in rain or summer sun) or verandahs? We have ungrooved verandahs that are going on 40 years that are perfectly sound but also bits and pieces of exposed grooved decking that starts deteriorating quickly. I'd say the best protection is a roof, opaque and at a height that allows the midday sun's angle of exposure to most of the surface only a fair time before and after summer solstice.


Your grooved decking is upside down - this is why it's deteriorating faster than your ungrooved verandahs.



Fully agree, it wasn't my decision to have uncovered grooved decking in this situation.

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  Reply # 1951880 5-Feb-2018 11:08
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Wheelbarrow01:

 

rhy7s: Are they decks (uncovered, useless space in rain or summer sun) or verandahs? We have ungrooved verandahs that are going on 40 years that are perfectly sound but also bits and pieces of exposed grooved decking that starts deteriorating quickly. I'd say the best protection is a roof, opaque and at a height that allows the midday sun's angle of exposure to most of the surface only a fair time before and after summer solstice.

 

Your grooved decking is upside down - this is why it's deteriorating faster than your ungrooved verandahs.

 

This article explains it pretty well, but essentially the grooves aren't for traction when walking on it, or to look pretty. According to manufacturers, the grooved side is actually designed to face downward and channel water away from the boards preventing moisture and mould build up.

 

Placing the grooved side up actually holds water on the top surface, extending drying times and allowing more moisture absorption. This leads to more expansion/contraction cracking as well as faster overall deterioration.

 

Another article on the same issue here

 

 

Plus promoting the growth of lovely slippery algae on the top surface in shaded areas if the grooves are facing upwards.


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  Reply # 1951992 5-Feb-2018 13:44
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mdf:

 

Wheelbarrow01:

 

rhy7s: Are they decks (uncovered, useless space in rain or summer sun) or verandahs? We have ungrooved verandahs that are going on 40 years that are perfectly sound but also bits and pieces of exposed grooved decking that starts deteriorating quickly. I'd say the best protection is a roof, opaque and at a height that allows the midday sun's angle of exposure to most of the surface only a fair time before and after summer solstice.

 

Your grooved decking is upside down - this is why it's deteriorating faster than your ungrooved verandahs.

 

This article explains it pretty well, but essentially the grooves aren't for traction when walking on it, or to look pretty. According to manufacturers, the grooved side is actually designed to face downward and channel water away from the boards preventing moisture and mould build up.

 

Placing the grooved side up actually holds water on the top surface, extending drying times and allowing more moisture absorption. This leads to more expansion/contraction cracking as well as faster overall deterioration.

 

Another article on the same issue here

 

 

Ooh, now you've done it. There are plenty of articles arguing the reverse (if it were true, the reed shape is an odd one to pick. 40mm decking uses a triangular pattern on the "back". Grip tread does offer better grip *across*, although not along the tread. If it is really necessary, why is hardwood decking finished with smooth faces on both sides? etc. etc.).

 

BUT regardless of who was right or wrong initially, you need to decide in advance and buy your decking timber accordingly. Almost all timber will be graded or faced with a better and worse side, in particular the number of knots. If you buy timber graded/faced on the grip tread side and install it face down, you will be looking at a lot of knots (and vice versa). So far as I can tell, most pine decking timber you buy off the shelf in Bunnings/Mitre 10 will typically be graded/faced on the grip tread side. If you want a smooth finish, it will be a special order.

 

 

 

 

I have heard arguments for both sides on this. But from my experience, decks that have the grooved side up, are actually more slippery. Possibly because there is less surface area in contact with the shoe, and slime gets stuck in the grooves, making a natural lube along the length on the grooves. Mine are smoothside up, and IMO it also looks better. All new decks on new builds I have seen recently are smooth side up to. When buying pine for a deck, I didn't notice any difference between the knots on either side, but if there is a knot on one side , it will usually be on the other as well due to the shallow thickness.. 


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