Enter your email to subscribe to future updates

Monthly Archives: May 2014

Well, it’s that time of year again! Time to consider whether or not this is the year to spruce up your deck for maintenance or just get a new deck all together!

Siding and Deck Maintenance Tips

Your deck is a rustic, natural addition to your home. All decks need protection from the damaging effects of moisture and the sun no matter your wood selection, whether it’s redwood, cedar, pressure-treated* pine or fir, or exotic hardwoods.

The appearance of your deck’s wood will change over time. Don’t expect the uniform look of a newly constructed deck to last indefinitely. Varying degrees of exposure to ultra violet rays from the sun, water and heavy foot traffic patterns will alter the appearance of all wood.

Protecting your deck with a quality finish will lessen the negative effects of these elements and keep your deck’s surface looking its best for years to come.

Tips on Deck Care

  • Allow new decks to weather 4-6 weeks. To provide adequate protection, the stain or clear finish must penetrate the pores of the wood and not be allowed to puddle or dry onto the surface of the deck. Wood grains can be very tight as a result of the milling process. Natural weathering wears down the “mill glaze” and opens the pores of the wood allowing proper penetration of the finish. A good way to test if wood is ready to be coated is to sprinkle a few drops of water on it. If the water is absorbed into the wood the substrate is ready for coating. If the water beads up, allow more weathering. If you desire to finish the surface sooner, lightly sand to remove the mill glaze and use a deck cleaner. (Pressure-treated lumber needs to dry out 4-6 weeks before applying a finish). Previously coated decks. If your deck’s wood appears to have been coated and no grain is showing, it has probably been painted or stained with a solid coating. This product needs to be removed and the deck cleaned to bring back the bare wood and grain.
  • All surfaces must be clean and dry. On older decks, use of a cleaner or wood restorer may be necessary. If mildew is present, use a deck cleaner to kill it and at the same time clean the deck. Use the cleaner specified by the brand of deck finish you will be using. Note: before applying the deck finish, the wood must be completely dry. Temperature and humidity affect drying time. Two or more days may be necessary.
  • Use a quality, oil-based deck stain. These stains provide varying degrees of UV protection as well as offers a wide selection of colors. Never use solid siding stain or paint on a deck. In this application, these will usually peel. There are, however, solid deck stains that will perform better. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label or other product specific literature.
  • Do not apply stain in direct sunlight. If possible, work during shaded hours.
  • Apply the deck finish product with a deck staining brush or painting pad. Apply just enough of the product to satisfy the porosity. Back brush to work into the grain and remove excess puddles of product.
  • Try to maintain a wet edge by staining only a few boards at a time. Avoid lap marks by applying a continuous wet film of stain.
  • Let stain dry thoroughly before using deck. Allow 12-24 hours depending on temperature and humidity.
  • Plan on periodic maintenance. Most decks, depending on use and exposure, will need cleaning and re-staining every year or two to maintain their beauty.


~This post inspired/contributed by ColorGuild. ColorGuild, the global paint and color authority, is a member based organization serves as a definitive resource on color and coatings.  As a member of ColorGuild, we welcome their contributions.


Wall coverings are coming back—in every style. From contemporary to traditional, the variety of offerings today are beautiful, artistic and can add visual pizzazz to your home. But before you can hang up wallpaper on an accent wall, in the nursery, or elsewhere in your home, you need to prep your walls. Here are some helpful tips.

wallpapered room

Eclectic Bedroom by Pittsburgh Interior Designers & Decorators alisha gwen interior design

If the room currently has old wallpaper on the walls, you have to remove it. If the old wallpaper is fabric-backed or strippable, you can carefully pull it from the walls. Start by gently pulling a corner of one strip at the baseboard until the entire section peels away. Some styles leave behind a paper backing, which needs to come off next by wetting the surface with DIF remover and scraping with a broad knife.


A broad knife will help scrape off the excess paper backing


For non-strippable wallpaper, removers are available that soak onto the old wall covering’s surface. Before you begin, be sure to turn off electricity to the room, cover outlets with tape, and protect the floors with drop cloths or towels.

You may want to score the surface of the wallpaper first to help the liquid remover penetrate more quickly and then apply the remover. Once the paper is loose, you should be able to remove it with a wallpaper scraper. Any paste residue that remains needs to be washed off with DIF stripper plus a rinse with clean water. If you see signs of mildew, it needs to be removed with equal parts bleach and water and allowed to dry.

Next up is removing outlet plates, vent covers, and other items that can be removed. Wash painted walls with a solution of trisodium phosphate, rinse it with clean water and allow it to dry. Repair any holes or cracks and prep the walls with either Uniprep (for surfaces with a sheen) or Wall Prep (for flat paint). If it’s new sheetrock, apply two coats of primer.

Check out this list of tips for even more helpful hints from the professionals. Get rid of your old paint or wallpaper and put up some new wall coverings to add new style and flair to your home.