Maintenance and Safety


No maintenance is needed to maintain resistance to decay fungi and termites. However, protection is required to maintain the wood’s appearance against weather. Sun and rain cycles cause stresses in lumber and result in swelling, shrinking, warping, and cracking.

• The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) recommends yearly deck safety checks. For a checklist, see

• To help protect against moisture damage, apply water repellent after your project is completed and the wood has had a chance to thoroughly dry.

• You can use a deck cleaner/brightener every couple of years to freshen the look of your deck. Bleach is not recommended since it contains chlorides and can cause hardware corrosion.

• After cleaning the deck, reapply a water repellent or water repellent stain to restore color to the deck.

Painting, Staining, & Coating

Wolmanized® Wood can be stained or painted and it should be coated with a water repellent to help maintain appearance.

With any coating, always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the product label. How long must you wait before the wood is dry internally depends on the climate and the wood’s exposure. In summer in the American Southwest, deck lumber open to sunshine can dry in a few days. In cool, damp weather or when shaded by an overhanging roof or tree, it will take much longer for wood to dry. On average, we recommend waiting six months before applying paint or solid color stains and three months before applying semi-transparent stains. Too dry is always better than too wet!

Choose which of the following applies to your situation:

1. Typical Treated Wood

When wood is pressure-treated, it is saturated with a liquid solution of preservative diluted in water. In a typical situation, the wood you buy is still very wet.

PAINT AND SOLID COLOR STAINS — Do not apply until the wood is dry, both on the surface and internally. Otherwise, as the wood dries out, escaping moisture will cause blisters and poor adhesion in the paint. As with painting untreated wood, application of a primer is suggested for best results.

SEMI-TRANSPARENT STAINS — Semi-transparent stains do not block moisture movement like paint and solid color stains, so they can be used after the wood has dried long enough to ensure that they will be absorbed evenly into the surface. Be sure to test an inconspicuous area to make sure that application does not result in uneven color or blotchiness.

WATER REPELLENTS — Most water repellents can be applied immediately. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Treated Wood with Built-in Water Repellent

To help protect against moisture damage, some Wolmanized® Wood has built-in water repellent. The water repellent helps minimize the tendency of wood to warp and crack while providing improved dimensional stability.

PAINTS & STAINS — If the wood is dry, oil-based paints and stains may be applied immediately. To apply a water-based coating, wait for the surface of the wood to weather to allow even penetration and adherence to wood. Hint: If water beads on the surface, it is too soon to apply a water-based coating.

Always test the coating on the most shaded part of the deck to make sure it absorbs evenly without blotching.

WATER REPELLENTS — It is recommended to apply a water repellent or combination water repellent and stain coating every year or two thereafter initial installation, depending on the product used. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Treated Wood that Is Dried after Treatment

In some areas you can buy treated wood that is Kiln Dried After Treatment (KDAT) or Air Dried After Treatment (ADAT). In these processes, moisture is removed from the wood before shipment to a lumber dealer. KDAT or ADAT will be marked on each piece of wood on either the end tag or an ink stamp.

PAINT, STAIN, WATER REPELLENT — The moisture content of the wood is already in balance with atmospheric moisture levels, so coating can proceed immediately, unless wood has built-in water repellent (then see above).

Deck Safety

It is important to continue to inspect and maintain your deck after the build in the same way you would maintain your automobile. Plan to spend some time during the outdoor season taking care of your deck and it will last you for years to come. Some items to watch out for include:


The number one enemy of your deck is decay. Check for these signs of rot and decay on your deck:

Soft Spots - Take a screwdriver or awl and press into the wood. If soft spots are found - replace the affected boards.

Mold/Slime - Fungus can take many forms, from fuzzy mold to veiny fungi to slimes. These agents of decay can spread throughout your deck without your notice. When you see signs of fungus, clean the spots with deck cleaner.

Flaking wood - This is the most obvious kind of decay. If you see wood flaking off the deck boards, the deck has likely gone a while without any kind of maintenance. All affected wood should be replaced, and you should check the structural members and joists for decay as well.

Carpenter Bees / Carpenter Ants - These insects burrow into your wood, making inroads for fungus, rot and termites deep within. If you find evidence of these pests, treat the area appropriately and check the wood for soft spots.


Termites don’t sleep. This allows them to eat untreated wood all day, every day of their lives. They cause more damage to homes and decks in the US than fire, floods and storms, combined. According to the National Pest Management Association, $1.5 billion is spent on control and $3.5 billion in damages per year. Wolmanized® Outdoor® Wood protects against termites and decay, but regular inspections for termites are still recommended.


Flashing is a protective barrier that is usually installed where the deck and house come together in order to keep moisture from seeping between the house and the deck’s ledger board. Check to make sure the flashing is connected properly and sealed well. Replace flashing as needed.


Nail pops Nails that come loose and protrude from deck boards (often called nail pops) are not only structurally significant markers of an aging deck, but they also really hurt when you step on one. Luckily they’re easy to fix. Remove any nails you see protruding above the deck surface and replace them with deck screws.


Check stair stringers and treads for cracking, twisting, nail pops and soft spots. Stairs are an integral part of the deck’s structure and accessibility and should be inspected and maintained along with the rest of the deck. Replace treads and stringers as necessary.


Railings not only make your deck your look beautiful, but they also keep your friends and family safe. Proper baluster spacing ensures the safety of your smaller deck guests. Check with your local building codes for appropriate spacing and replace if necessary. Also check for the stability and strength of your railing and shore it up with proper hardware if you notice any movement.


Dirt and debris can build up on your deck over time. This time of year is ideal to remove debris and use a deck cleaner to brighten and rejuvenate your deck. Pressure washing, adding a water repellent or staining/painting can also help liven up your outdoor space.

Grills and Firepits:

Grills and firepits can add utility and fun to your outdoor living space but it’s important to make sure they’re properly kept away from any flammable surface and protected by a high-heat mat to ensure the safety of your deck.

Outdoor Furniture:

Check outdoor furniture to ensure that it’s safe to use after being stored all winter. Now is also a good time to clean the cushions and make sure that there are no issues with mildew, rips or moisture. Also check for insects, decay or dry rot that can make outdoor furniture unsuitable for use.

Lighting and Electrical:

Check all your light covers and bulbs to make sure they’re in good working condition. If you don’t have outdoor lighting, now is a great time to add it, as it increases the safety of your deck and adds ambiance to your yard.

Surrounding Trees:

Make sure to trim any encroaching trees and shrubbery and see that large limbs are cut back to avoid fall damage, and make sure that shrubs and bushes are trimmed back to allow ventilation and drying.