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What Happens If When You Leave Your New Deck Unstained?

A deck is an investment that can pay off summer after summer in family togetherness and relaxing evenings out in the fading warmth of the day. But if that deck falls apart prematurely or its appearance decays, the result can bring down the entire look and feel of your home in a big way.

Before we answer the question (what happens to wood when it is left without a protective coating) it’s important to take a moment to talk about two terms:

  • Wood STAIN is a product that changes the color and tone of the wood—though most outdoor wood stains also include a sealer that helps defend the wood against premature weathering.
  • However, it is absolutely possible to buy a wood SEALER without stain, which will maintain the color and feel of your lumber while still offering protection.

But say you just don’t get around to applying either a stain or a sealer to your new deck. The good news is that treated lumber is generally more than ready to hold up against wind, rain, sun, and snow for quite a while before wearing down, and many home owners do choose to leave the wood untreated for one reason or another.

The bad news is that if the wood is not sealed the lumber will begin to wear at a far faster rate than it would without that protective layer. Exact figures are hard to place, as your home’s microclimate and the quality of lumber used will determine the speed of the weathering. But when it happens this wear will be evidenced by greying, as the top layers of the lumber oxidize from sun and rain, and also splintering, warping, rotting, and cracking.

It may be many years before an untreated deck becomes completely unusable. However, a deck that is properly sealed and maintained with a yearly maintenance program consistently outlive a deck that is left to its own devices by a significant margin.

If this care sounds like too much work there are higher quality wood stains or seals that can offer somewhat longer lasting protection before re-application is required, reducing the amount of hands-on work required. There are also man-made composite deck materials that will never require finishing, and a few species of wood such as cedar that (while more expensive) are naturally weather resistant and will survive far longer in the elements without the routine care other treated woods should receive.

For deck construction or repair in West Michigan – including Holland, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Rockford – contact Amber Valley Construction today! We offer personalized quotes and high quality home deck construction that you can count on, at an always fair and affordable price.

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