Last fall, my neighbor replaced his deck. Rotted wood.
My own deck had no evidence of rot or distress, but I decided to have his contractor inspect it anyway. I learned that I likely had “sub-surface” moisture in my deck flooring that could easily destroy my entire deck. The moisture could potentially migrate to support beams or, even worse, to my home’s wood siding. He had his team immediately remove the deck from its footings and place it away from the house.
Before reinstalling the deck, the contractor recommended a newly formulated deck stain that penetrates beneath the surface of traditional deck stains and actually changes the properties of the lumber. Supposedly, it fully guarantees against water damage, and the stain is truly safe. I inquired about other highly rated, lower cost stains…
“Ha! They use those stains on horse barns!” he exclaimed.
I love my home and wouldn’t want to cause it any harm. So, I went ahead with the staining project. Within 90 days, my deck started to bubble, peel, and flake. It had never done that before… The contractor assured me that my observations meant that the product was working. The deck just needed a simple light sanding and second coat of the new stain. That made a lot of sense. Done.
Eight weeks later, the deck was again peeling and splintering. Wow, this product was really up to the task! A third coat, perhaps? Due to supply chain issues, I was told that I’d have to wait. Lucky for me, though, a lot of homeowners never picked up their orders. Clearly, their loss was my gain! Turns out, there was plenty of supply. Advertisements were everywhere, including overhead announcements at the big box stores. Our city even provided free gallons of the stain to low income homeowners. Yes, of course, a third coat was applied to my deck! The guys even applied it in the rain! 🙂 I bragged that I was the first homeowner in the neighborhood to have it done!
Five weeks later, in addition to bubbling, peeling, & splintering, I spotted carpenter ants and termites on the deck. Apparently, when you elevate moisture to the wood’s surface, it tends to attract wood eating pests. I thought carpenter ants didn’t eat through pressure treated wood… but when you actually change the wood’s chemical compounds… they can!! Wow, I really love the science!
To address potential insect damage, the stain company now offers a version of the stain with an insecticide additive. Their scientists developed the additive in partnership with the US-DOD. Better yet, the stain with the insecticide additive includes a generous 4 week satisfaction warranty. Plus, for a monthly fee, an extended warranty is available that includes up to 6 applications per year (of course, labor is additional). No brainer, right? “Sign me up!” I just have to remember not to walk on the deck in my bare feet. (I don’t really know what those tiny boils are.)
Did you know that termites and carpenter ants attract bats? They do. Last week, I sprayed my entire house and garden with the company’s bat and bird repellent. Although it is highly flammable, the risks can be mitigated with a fully safe and effective fire retardant spray. Plus, I read that they’re soon coming out with a bat repellent that incorporates the same fire fighting ingredient as Johnson’s Baby Powder. (Starts with the letter “a.”) The downside is that it attracts bees, ticks, mosquitos…
Sure, my deck is peeling & splintering again. After seven coats, the stain is still working, and the extended warranty is paying off in spades! There are now similar offerings on the market. In fact, you can even mix and match them, but you would likely void your extended warranty. I am so glad that I learned of my deck’s risk and found this wonderful solution!