The most “Frequently Asked Question” that I get the most from potential customers is: “How often should I have my deck/fence stained or sealed?”.
Well, my answer is quite simple. First of all, YOU SHOULD NOT NEED A COMPLETE DECK RESTORATION EVERY TWO YEARS! That is ridiculous! The contractors who tell you this lacks the knowledge and experience necessary for deck restoration. Can you imagine paying that expense every two years?
Some companies would like for you to have your deck or fence re-stained every two years, its more money in their pocket. If your deck is peeling or chipping after one or two years then who ever stained your deck last is using an inferior stain and they failed to sand the deck as a part of the preparation work. If your deck is properly restored and properly maintained, you should never have to have a complete deck restoration again. The whole purpose of deck restoration is to restore the deck to its original look or as close to its original look as possible and then maintain it from there. Its no different than lawn care.
Every spring I hire a reputable lawn company to weed and feed my lawn as part of maintaining my yard, I particularly like Funk. Deck restoration is no different. Don’t let these companies talk you into paying hundreds of dollars for something you don’t need. Call me and I will gladly come out to your home and explain to you exactly what you need.
Is J.K. Schwartz, Inc. insured?
Yes! Our company is fully insured with both New York State workers compensation insurance as well as general liability insurance. You are taking an enormous risk if you let a contractor on your property with out being properly insured. Most contractors will tell you that they are fully insured hoping that you wont ask to see certificates. If a worker is injured on your property and the contractor does not carry workers compensation insurance, the customer is liable for medical bills and time off work. Its against the law to work on peoples property without compensation insurance. DEMAND to see certificates. Our company includes all certificates with our proposals. Please see our “insurance” page of this website for more information.
Are pressure washers safe when used on vinyl siding?
Of course they are. All power washer pumps are equipped with a pressure control valve that allows the user to adjust the pressure for the desired job. For vinyl siding you should always use low pressure and good cleaning agents that contain detergents and mildew-cides.
What is the difference between soft washing systems and pressure washers?
Not much. Soft washing systems are equipped with power washers and cleaning agents. They are the same as the traditional pressure washing method. The only difference is soft washing systems use solution tanks to hold the cleaning agents. Soft washing systems are selling gimmicks, and the customer should be aware. Power washers contain a detergent ejection system that allows the right combination of water and detergent to pass through the pump. It does the same thing as solution tanks. The only way to successfully clean vinyl siding is to use low pressure, cleaning agents, and soft bristle brushes to scrub the vinyl siding. Soft washing systems are a near worthless method.
How long should I wait to stain or seal my new deck?
You are being misinformed if a contractor informs you to wait one year to stain or seal your deck. During this time, your deck will be exposed to all of the elements and will promote premature warping and cracking. Think of your deck as your skin. How long would your skin last unprotected if you were to lie in the sun all day, every day? Your deck of fence should be stained or sealed within a few months. Just long enough for the wood to dry out.
How often should I re-stain my deck?
Recommendations vary by product manufactures, but as a general rule, you should re-seal your deck when the stain breaks down from normal ware or from UV rays. Decks and fences should NOT need to be re-stained every year or two. If your deck is peeling after one or two years, the contractor is using a cheap and inferior stain. In most cases, the contractor did not sand your deck as a part of the preparation process and as a result, the deck peeled.
Why doesn’t my deck bead water?
Certain sealers contain paraffin wax as a protective ingredient. If the sealer used on your deck contains this wax, you will see water bead for a period of time after the sealer is applied. Other sealers use oils as their protective ingredients. Although decks sealed with an oil-based sealer will not always bead water, they are fully protected from any damage that may be caused by water. Please keep in mind, products that contain a lot of wax will usually cause your deck to darken quickly. This is the result of the sun breaking down the wax thus causing dirt to be trapped in the wax. After one season, your deck will look old and worn out.
Are 2 coats better than one?
In most cases, yes. We found through many years of experience that our winters are just too harsh for one coat of stain. Therefore, we always use two coats. In some instances, we may use a third on the floor of the deck depending on its condition and the amount of traffic it suffers. Inexperienced contractors will sometimes use just one coat of stain. This is done to cut cost and corners.
How long does it take to restore a deck?
Deck restoration usually takes 3 days to fully complete depending on the size of the deck, its condition and of course, weather conditions at the time. If a deck is stained before it is totally dry, it will usually peel or chip within the first year. Some contractors will get the job done in 2 days. They forget that the wood needs to be completely dry and free from deep moisture. Decks usually don’t fully dry in 1 day. It is best to wait for optimal weather conditions instead of rushing the job.
Do power washers damage the wood while cleaning?
This is a good question. Most commercial power washers are designed to deliver very high pressure, sometimes exceeding over 4000 PSI. You should never need this much pressure when cleaning wood. In most cases, 1000 PSI to 1800 PSI will be sufficient. If you use too much pressure, you will damage the wood usually beyond repair. Before power washing a deck, an experienced contractor will in all cases use an environmentally safe deck cleaner. This is a must when cleaning a deck. Power washing wood is not as easy as some home owners think. This process is best left to a professional.
I have a red wood color on my deck. Can I change the color to cedar or grey?
Sure can! We can change your deck’s color from red to blue if you like. We can also change it from semi-transparent to solid. This is not an unusual request.
Are oil based stains better than water based stains?
Please don’t be fooled by some inexperienced contractors who use only oil based stains. New laws by the EPA went into effect several years ago in relation to alkyd (oil) based products. New regulations that significantly reduce the allowable content of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in most paints and stains took effect 5 years ago. Yes, we still have an oil based stain, but the EPA has taken most of the solvents out of the stain that are essential for wood restoration. Manufactures are now making water based stains much better , and in our opinion, some water based products exceed the performance of the new oil based products. We have found that the “new” oil based stains will not properly adhere to some decks, especially newer decks. The drying time is very long and the overall appearance is not that of the old oil based stains.
Do I have to stain the under part of my deck?
No! Wood needs to breath. If you seal off the wood, the wood cannot let out moisture. There is enough pressure treated compound in the wood already from the manufacture. You are hurting your deck if you seal the underside. Some contractors will tell you to seal the underside of your deck. This is another way to charge you for more labor and product. Don’t be taken in by these contractors.
Can you re-stain over old stain?
You are being misinformed if another contractor tells you that you can’t re-stain over old stain. Solid stains will adhere to old stain perfectly well. These old stains are already deep into the pores of the wood and they still provide protection. However, you must still sand the floor of the deck to open the pores to insure adhering. Why would you remove stain from the deck only to put more on? Contractors will often advise the customer to remove the old stain. This is a common way to charge the customer for more material and labor.