Local residents made it to Sherwin-Williams Lakewood before the hot weekend to enjoy LakewoodAlive’s latest home maintenance workshop on Thursday evening, July 18.

Led by Janatus Smith and Jason Case of Sherwin-Williams, “Knowing Your Home: Deck Refinishing” gave community members the opportunity to learn tips and explore the steps necessary to refinish their decks.

Now in its sixth year, LakewoodAlive’s Knowing Your Home workshop series draws hundreds of attendees annually to learn home maintenance best practices.  Our workshop series is generously supported by: Citizens Bank, City of Lakewood, Cleveland Lumber Company and First Federal Lakewood.

If you happened to miss this particular workshop, we’ve got you covered.  Here are our five key takeaways.

1. Preparation is Key!
If you’re looking to stain or paint your deck, it’s important to make sure your surface is ready.  If you have a new deck with treated wood, waiting 30 to 90 days before the first stain is important.  Conducting a “water test” on the wood to ensure the surface is ready to stain is a must.  You can conduct a water test by pouring a small amount of water onto the wood.  If it beads up (similar to a freshly-waxed car), it is NOT ready to stain or paint because the sealer is still active.

2. Preparation is Key, Again!
When your wood is ready to stain or paint. you have to make sure it is clean.  If your surface is dirty, the stain might not stick.  Using a deck wash or cleaner will help wash away the dirt and weathering.  After you wash your deck, make sure you give it a day or two to dry before staining.  If it seems like your wood is turning gray, then using a product like Sherwin-Williams’ SuperDeck Revive will help revitalize and brighten the wood to a more natural tone prior to staining.

3. Choose the Right Stain/Coating 
Select a stain based on the look of your deck and the amount of protection it requires.  A clear and transparent stain will show the natural beauty of the wood grain, but will not provide longevity and durability against UV rays.  Semi-transparent stains are the middle ground – they hide some grain, while showing some natural tone, but offer a bit more protection against UV rays.  Solid stains and paints will provide the greatest amount of protection and longevity, but eliminate all wood grain appearance for a more painted look.

4. Common Problems 
When it comes to staining your deck, there are some common problems that can occur.  Most are weather-related, as staining in direct sunlight or encountering wet wood can cause deck coatings to fail.  The best time to stain or paint is during periods of shade, ensuring there is at least 12 hours of a clear forecast (that includes morning dew as well) after you’ve completed your project, so that the wood has sufficient time to dry.

5. Maintenance Matters 
It’s paramount that you keep up with your beautiful deck after you have refinished it.  Wash your deck coating at least twice each year.  The best time to do this is at the beginning of the spring and the end of the fall.  This will help eliminate mold and mildew growth, while also ensuring dirt is removed from the surface prior to the harsher winter months.