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stain for redwood deck and fence

can anyone recommend an exterior oil based stain for a new deck and fence built from rough cut redwood. behr water based stain was used on a fence built two years ago and it did not hold up.the stains i've been considering are cabot's ,sikkens, and trw, thanks

Re: stain for redwood deck and fence

The longevity of outdoor stains depends a lot on the amount of solids in it. This means that a transparent water sealer will have to be re-applied every year to keep up its protection. Then you have semi-transparent which will most likely give you a little more protection (longer on vertical surfaces than horizontal surfaces). You would have to re-apply every 2 to 3 years. Solid stains will give you the longest protection but will not show any of the grain through the color like transparent and semi-transparent finishes will. A solid stain will give you 4 to 5 years of protection usually before needing to be re-applied. Also keep in mind that if the area you are staining gets a lot of strong sun the finish will need to be re-applied more often.

That being said cabot and sickens are both good name brands and I have not heard of TRW stains. I would stay away from the big box store brands and Olympic and Thompsons. I have not tried it yet but Benjamin More has a new water based stain that I may try when I stain my cedar shed. I hope this helps you out and you are able to enjoy your new deck.


Re: stain for redwood deck and fence

I've used both Cabot's and Sikken's during my contracting years and have actually used them on my own house with good results. I have also heard good reports about Penefin.

The good news about oil stain is that properly applied, it will never peel. The bad news is that I know of no manufacturer of oil semi-transparent or transparent stains that don't require a yearly maintenance coat.

Rough cut timber is not normally a problem. It is the smooth planed wood which often causes failure due to a condition called "mill glaze". The high speed blades of the milling machine creates heat and polishes the surface of the wood, sealing the grain. If you do not open the grain, your stain will merely sit on the surface. It will look great initially, but will probably fail the following spring. If the stain has not grabbed deeply into the wood, it will not withstand the vapor pressure created when the winter's accumulation of water into the wood tries to rapidly escape. FAILURE results, and of course, the customer blames the stain manufacturer!

You can test for mill glaze with this highly technical meathod - poor a little water on the wood and watch what happens. If it beads on the surface and is still standing the the better part of an hour later, you have MILL GLAZE! That water should have immediately started to penetrate into the wood, darkening it and have disappeared within a few minutes.

How do you get rid of mill glaze? Either by natural aging, sanding or with chemicals.

In years past, a new deck would be allowed to weather for the better part of a year, allowing the sun and water to slowly open the grain.

You may also sand the deck, but sanding with too fine a sandpaper can actually cause mill glaze. I would restrict the sanding to about a 100 or 120 grit. Obviously, this is not a pleasant task.

Lastly, you can treat the wood with a solution of oxylic acid. Many deck cleaners contain this. The deck is thoroughly wet down with the solution and kept wet with it for at least 30 minutes. A vigorous
scrubbing with an old fashioned bristle scrub brush with the grain is also a good idea.

Whichever meathod used, re-test to see if the mill glaze has been sufficiently removed before staining.

Personally, I would opt for natural aging. Cedar and redwood are very rot resistant woods which will not be damaged by allowing them to naturally age. Neither will they significantly gray in a years time. Any marks or stains in that period should come out with minor sanding or cleaning. Both woods contain natural oils which protect them for a considerable time.

I have over 250 feet of cedar fencing surrounding my house and I have chosen not to stain it at all. Every other year, I spend a Saturday with my pressure washer and oxylic acid renewing its natural cedar tone. It does not take any more time than staining, and costs hundreds of dollars worth of stain less. Staining is largely for aesthetics - it makes it look nice, but if the fence is kept clean and not allowed to contact the earth below, it will last just as long as that which has been stained periodically. I know, this is heresy coming from a life long painting contractor! :)

Re: stain for redwood deck and fence

I've been using HD's brand (Behr) for years for decks, patio covers and redwood/cedar fences. No complaints. It's "rental grade" and not too costly, easy to apply with a brush and a roller and lasts the expected 4-5 years.

It's all about what you want to use the stain for. For rental properties, Behr will fly.

Re: stain for redwood deck and fence

I don't know squat about decks or their maintenance, but almost all of the comments I've read about Thompson's WaterSeal on these DIY'er Q&A forums have been negative.

Cabot seems to garner more respect.

Re: stain for redwood deck and fence

it's all about the prep work p/wash with a stripper to remove any old material i use a rotating blasting tip for best results my sealer of choice is DEFY has the longest lasting finish the epoxy in it holds up under all conditions FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS all waterborne sealer dry in under 1 hr can use 4 or 5 hrs later cabot's is my second choice when i can't get defy most decks i've done last 3 to 5 yrs surface railing 4 to 6 yrs b/moore new arbor is a 2 step system you would need to redo the topcoat every 2 yrs

Re: stain for redwood deck and fence

The biggest determinants of the longevity of a deck are the interaction of rain and sun. Eliminate either, and your longevity will greatly increase.

Here in Portland ,Oregon, we have an absolutely horrible climate for exterior wood, especially for decks. The winter temperatures rarely go below freezing during the day. Add to this that it rains at least every other day on a average.

The "advantage" that the Mid-West or very cold climates have is that their precipitation is mainly frozen during the winter months. Snow sits on the deck for awhile and then rapidly melts and disappears. Plus, when it is 10 below zero, the deck is being freeze dried when the relative humidity is also zero!

Add to this the typical construction of decks with numerous unreachable joints, laps and hundreds of surface nails or over torqued deck screws. How many carpenters stop to at least stain the tops of the joists and the bottom of the decking before it goes down, or the butt joints which cannot be reached with stain after it is assembled? There are also rain caps which can go over the joists, somewhat like snow guard on roof edges.

What this all means is that by spring time, the deck probably has about 30 percent moisture content. If the stain is not thoroughly bonded to the wood with deep penetration into the grain, it will fail when the hot sun beats down on it and creates vapor pressure which wants out NOW!

To this end, the single most important thing to do is make sure the grain is open before staining! Even the best of stains will fail if not properly applied. I am also amazed at how many customers come back complaining and it becomes subsequently clear that they never read the instructions on the can!

I had one customer complain that half way down the fence, the stain began to get darker. "Did you stir it," I asked? "Nope, no one told me to!" "Did you just fall off the turnip truck," I thought?

Re: stain for redwood deck and fence

woolmans carries a large selection, they are the supplier for all door and window manufactures

Re: stain for redwood deck and fence

if it was my choice i say go with a product call DEFY then cabots waterborne only i've been using defy here in mi for 12yrs with only 1 complaint it will last up to 5yrs if applied right what i mean most people won't follow the simple instructions on the can NO OIL CAN MATCH THESE PRODUCTS been doing deck for 28yrs used them all & defy is the best first use a deck cleaner apply with a roller let set for a few minutes then p/wash till clean you don't have to wait until completly dry your deck can be damp when you apply these products the best part is you can use your deck in 2hrs but wait 24hrs to put furniture on it

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