What To Do If Unexpected Rain Damages Your Newly Stained Deck

Staining your deck isn't merely about aesthetics; it also plays a crucial role in maintaining your wood's integrity and structure, preventing rot and pest infestation. However, any inclement weather change, like an unexpected rainfall, can damage your newly stained deck, leaving you to wonder if there is a way to salvage the wood. While immediately covering your patio with a waterproof tarp upon rainfall can help, you will need to explore other solutions to mitigate the damage already dealt to the wood.

The right method to deal with a compromised deck varies depending on the type of stain used and how badly the lumber is impaired. As water-based stains dry out within four to six hours of application, a light drizzle may not impact the lumber much in contrast to oil-based stains, whose longer dry time makes them more susceptible to damage. If your patio develops small white spots and blotches after the rain showers, you can try retouching with the stain after sanding the discolored spots. But more severe flaking and peeling cases may require a complete staining redo.

Repairing minor damage

Before you contemplate your next step, it is ideal to allow the deck to dry completely, possibly for about 48 hours, and then take stock of the rain's wrath. Any cosmetic impairment, such as minor pockets and discolored patches, can be fixed by lightly sanding the area and reapplying the stain to those areas. Ideally, this should eliminate all problem spots and leave your deck looking smooth and uniform again.

However, it's best to first use this technique on discreet spots to get a better idea of its veracity. Usually, this method is successful and ensures that your rained-on spots completely blend into the surface, which helps restore your patio's even tone. Be careful to reapply the stain only when the wood is fully dry, as any moisture remnant will inhibit the curing process— the deep rooting of the stain into the wood. Consider applying a sealant to your deck for added protection and as a precautionary measure.

Fixing major damage

There may be times when reapplying the stain to specific spots is insufficient to restore your patio to its former glory, particularly when it has undergone massive peeling and flaking. Under such circumstances, removing the old coat and starting fresh is the only way out. To do this, first apply a sodium hydroxide stain stripper to the compromised wood. Once the stripper dries, pressure wash the area by holding the nozzle at a 40-degree angle. The water pressure should range between 500 and 600 pounds per square inch (psi) for softwoods and can be raised to 1,500 psi for hardwoods.

After washing and drying your weather-beaten deck, coat it with a wood brightener to restore its pH levels that went haywire due to stripping. Follow it up by rubbing 80-grit sandpaper all over the lumber to smooth it out and make it more receptive to stain penetration. Vacuum the subsequent dust build-up and apply a new stain coat. Though weather can be unpredictable, aim to do this process when you know it's going to be dry out for a solid few days.