Avoiding lap marks when staining a deck

This is a “before” video of what we normally have to deal with. The deck shows significant lap marks from the previous contractor’s errors. We were able to ease out some of the mistakes, and by carefully applying a new stain, to substantially reduce the uneven contrast without having to resort to prohibitively expensive sanding. A very satisfactory solution for the client at a modest price.

How to stain an Ipe deck

A lovely mountain deck owned by a former Apple Inc Executive. The deck is ipe, a hardwood that traditionalists say needs to be stained every 6 months with a nasty oil-based stain. Well, we used a hybrid oil/water stain and it still looked great 3 years later. A lot less effort and hassle; difficult to get right, tho.

How to stain multi-tier handrails on your deck

The answer is threefold: start at the top, use masses of dropcloths, and spray. You need to start at the top because Gravity will pull any spray or drips downwards onto a deck below; you don’t want to be putting a dropcloth on a fresh deck because it will leave remnants on it. You want to use lots of dropcloths against the walls and everything below and along the ground for some way because overspray can go far. Be careful, also, of oilbased stains which are so thin that they will travel along a dropcloth and then slide underneath. Also, oilbased finishes will stain stone and concrete for many years with a single drip; so be very careful with the dropcloths! Lord help you if you kick a whole can over! Obviously skip windy days. Finally there is no way you can get a neat job and done without vast time by handbrushing; the answer is to spray. Considering the complexity of spraying handrails above stone and walls, we did it very well and it looks lovely, without spills or drips.

Our new Book “Deckology” which tells you about the three most important ways of maintaining your deck.

Yes, we really did write the book on Deck Finishing and Carpentry! It’s called “Deckology’. It’s a 90 page book; you can buy it on amazon.com for $10 – all proceeds go to the Loma Prieta Education Fund. This short video tells you the three most important things you need to know about maintaining your deck: Preparation (repair, cleaning, other prep work), Staining (choosing a stain, applying a stain, when to apply stain) and Getting it Done (Do nothing or get it refinished; Hire a contactor or do it yourself; Working with a contractor). Get the book!

Should you Pressure-wash under Your Deck?

It’s expensive, messy and labor-intensive to pressure-wash and fungicide under a deck. Is it worth it? When should you do it? This short video helps you decide.

Why you should Choose Summit Deck Doctor

Summit Deck Doctor is a Bay Area leader in deck finishing and carpentry. We recognize you have a choice and we would like you to choose us. This short video features a deck whose stain is still intact 10 years later (yes, amazing!), and a chat with our favorite client, Barbara Morgan, talking about her experience with Summit Deck Doctor. If you are thinking of hiring Summit Deck Doctor, you should watch this video. Yes, it’s an unabashed promotional video, but a real client’s words are worth 2 minutes of your time!

The 4 types of Fungus under Your Deck

There are 4 different types of fungus under a deck. Each of them poses a different hazard. This short video helps you figure out what you have and how problematic it is.

Spring cleaning of Decks: How to keep your Deck free of fungus

Many decks get slippery in the winter and this causes a very serious hazard for you, your parents, and your kids. The answer is to carefully scrub in fungicide and destroy the fungus that causes the hazard. This short video explains how to do this.

Why decks go gray

Ever wondered why decks go gray? What is that gray stuff? Is it dirt, sun damage, or fungus? Find out!

Keep It Stained: How often to re-stain your Deck

Keep it Stained


It might seem self-serving for us to say this, but we really believe that keeping your deck stained is the best thing you can do. The wood has to remain protected from UV and water.


Get it refinished when it starts to go gray.

That gray is mostly fungus and it’s eating up the soft tissue between the tree rings (“grain”) which exposes the harder grain which leads to splinters. The wood has lost its waterproof coating as the stain has been damaged by the UV and rot starts to penetrate and weaken the wood. The UV from the sun is also drying the wood out. Don’t leave it the deck; it’s just not worth it. Plan on having it stained every 3-4 years (or every year or two with oil based stains which are much less resistant to UV).