Real Estate Q&A: Staining Your Deck?

Q:

The Nest Q&A

A:

A dirty, dull deck is to your house like ring around the collar is to a crisp, white shirt: It makes the whole thing look dingy. Now is the time for a deck re-do, before summer temperatures skyrocket, making it too hot for staining (stain won't dry properly if done in extreme temperatures -- above 85 or below 55 degrees). A great looking deck is also an asset to homebuyers. If you're thinking of putting up a "For Sale" sign, a great deck adds curb appeal and value.

How do you do it? First, wash the deck. You can rent a power washer at a home rental center, but you can also do it by hand (get the kids involved!). Use a long-handled bristle brush and warm, soapy water (a cup of bleach added to two gallons of water will remove mildew and moss). After you've scrubbed the deck, rinse it off using the jet setting on a hose sprayer attachment. Let the deck dry completely. Pour deck stain -- in the hue of your choice -- into a paint tray and use a long-handled roller to apply the stain to the deck. Apply it lightly and try not to overlap edges. Use a brush on railings.

Let the stain dry for 24 hours -- and then enjoy a long, cool drink with your friends on your just-like-new deck!