Wood rot is most commonly caused by an infestation of fungi. These unwanted visitors thrive in warm, damp conditions and feed on the fibers of your wooden features. When wood is exposed to moisture, then, it’s only a matter of time before decay sets in. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent rotting wood. If you’re looking to protect your wooden deck, coating it with deck stain or sealer is the best way to keep moisture (and therefore rot) at bay. That said, even the best deck stains have expiration dates. But how long on average do deck stains prevent rotting wood? And how can you get the most out of your deck stain?

Choose Your Stain Wisely

The first step in ensuring the longevity of your deck stain is to choose a high-quality product. Not all stains are created equal, and some work better for different materials. Behr’s Premium Semi-Transparent Weatherproofing Wood Stain is useful for various applications and can hold up for about four years. Brands like Cabot, Sikkens, and Wolman also provide durable, long-lasting deck stains. Be sure to do your own research or consult licensed exterior painting contractors before choosing a product for your purposes. Skimping on your deck stain means you’ll have to apply a new coat somewhat frequently, perhaps once a year or more. This is a waste of time, money, and energy, so choose a reliable stain from the start.

Proper Application is Key

It doesn’t matter how great your stain is if it’s not applied properly. Your deck must be completely and evenly covered. Otherwise, moisture will find a way to get inside the wood’s pores, and fungi will soon follow. There are plenty of instructions and video tutorials online for the DIY-minded homeowner to help with stain application. But if you’re not confident in your abilities, hire licensed exterior painting services to do it right. These professionals will know the basics and nuances associated with proper deck staining so it retains its usefulness for as long as possible.

Maintain Your Deck for Added Longevity

The work isn’t done after the stain has been applied. Deck stain will do its part to protect your wood from moisture intrusion, but it’s your responsibility to keep your deck clean and free from unwanted materials. Proper deck maintenance includes sweeping, scrubbing, and dusting on a regular basis, and pressure washing every 6 to 12 months for a deeper clean. Your deck should also be thoroughly cleaned before applying a new coat of stain or sealer. If you take good care of your deck after it’s been stained, you’ll help keep the stain from wearing down.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the short answer to how long deck stains prevent rotting wood, it’s about two to three years on average. Those numbers assume that the stain is of decent quality, that it’s been properly applied, and that the homeowner cleans the deck somewhat regularly. If you want your deck stain to last even longer, go above and beyond by purchasing the highest quality product, hiring exterior painters to apply it, and taking excellent care of your deck year-round. If you do all of these things, your stain might prevent wood rot for four years or more.

If it’s time to stain your deck, or if you think your deck may be rotting in places, reach out to All American Painting Plus. We’re more than just your average painting service. We also offer wood rot inspection, repair, replacement services, and much more. To learn more about all that we can do for our clients in Northern Virginia, give us a call at (703)-620-5563!