My Cedar Deck Rotted After only Eight Years

Don't Wait Too Long to Add
the Initial Stain Coat

Eight years ago, I added a cedar deck at the rear of the house. I used cedar as I was led to believe that its expected life was much longer than pine that's been pressure-treated. The deck was completed in April and allowed to season and dry at least a year, as instructed by the builder, prior to adding stain.

cedar Deck

The next spring, The deck was treated using a semitransparent stain, which allowed the grain of the wood to show through but resembled paint. A few months down the road, the paint started peeling. Large flakes started coming off the wood. I got a hold of the painter, who returned the following spring and repainted the deck and didn't charge me anything.

This new finish lasted for two summers, and then started to peeling again. As it was the decking only, I refinished it, and again , it lasted for two more summers before peeling. I employed another painter who completely stripped down all finish from the deck, primed it, and repainted. While stripping, he discovered several spots that were soft along with some areas of rot on the railings, steps and benches,

Now after eight years, the deck has started peeling once again, and several large areas are completely rotted and the benches are not safe to sit on. The stairs have become hazardous, and total sections of the rails and deck are rotted through. The initial builder is out of business. Next summer, I plan on tearing down the deck and install composite material.

Any thoughts on the possible causes of the cedar rotting out so quick? How about the numerous paint additions? Is there a relationship?

A: You may have initially waited far too long to add the initial coating of semitransparent stain. Cabot, which makes deck stains and sealers, recommends only two or three weeks, not a whole year, based upon recent tests by the Laboratory of the American Forest Products.

A quote suggests "coating the new cedar decking just as soon as water begins soaking directly into the wood." During the first year waiting period, was the deck cleaned? It would have needed a thorough washing prior to the stain being applied to eliminate any mildew that might have been an effect on the application.

Preparation of the surface is the forever the key a paint job quality.
Did you wait a minimum of three days subsequent to the last rain prior to staining the deck? If you stained the deck during a day with high humidity, it may not have properly adhered. Experts suggest using oil-based instead of water-based stain. From the reading and field experience I have seen over the years, is that the initial application is what determines the effectiveness of subsequent ones applications, and thatís where your problem seems to lie. it's probably the best decision you have decided replace the deck with a new one.

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