How to finish the deck

The next step is to prepare the deck for staining. Ideally this should involve removing any rough edges or burrs with fine sandpaper. If you want a really impressive deck with no screw showing, then you can of course ensure that the screws are countersunk when fixing the decking and apply some wood filler. We would not recommend this second step as the filler will almost certainly not absorb the stain leaving these areas a different colour.

After sanding the rough areas, we recommend first brushing and then washing the decking to ensure that there is no dust or debris that will ruin the finish.

Once the deck is finished you can decide what to treat it with. This will depend on what budget you have and the look you are trying to achieve. Below are several options that may be worth considering.

No cost
A no cost option is to leave the decking unstained. If you have bought decking that has previously been treated this may be possible but generally not treating the wood will dramatically shorten its lifespan and result in the wood rotting sooner than it otherwise would have.

If you are on a tight budget and you like the idea of sustainability and reuse one option would be to stain the decking with used engine oil. This has pros and cons and you should consider these and do further research before taking this option.

Whilst it is generally good for the environment to reuse waste materials and several layers of engine oils (mixed with some diesel) will give good coverage, a nice look and good protection to the wood the downside is that this will need to be applied on a regular basis to build up the protection and it does take longer to try that solutions that you can buy. Also, this does make the wood flammable however this is true of most solutions.

Retail Solutions
A more expensive solution is to buy a solution to stain your deck. There are many different manufacturers of both stain and oil. So, what is the difference between the two? Firstly, oil treatments tend to be water based. And generally, do not change the appearance of the decking dramatically. Most tend to be neutral colours and will just give the deck a sheen after application.
With decking stains these come in two types, water based, and solvent based. Normally a decking stain is the way to go if you want to may the deck colour darker or even a different colour. The main difference (although this is not generally acknowledged by the manufacturers of these stains) is that water-based stains are easier to apply and dry more quickly whereas solvent based stains tend to be a little more hardwearing.

We would however strongly recommend you research these options to find the one that best suits your needs. As a rule of thumb expect to need more to cover the area that the figures quoted on the back of the tins as these are normally optimistic.

We would also strongly recommend that whichever option you take that you give the entire area at least two coats, allowing some time in between and ensuring that the deck is clean when the second coat is applied.

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