Why is my deck peeling? Well, first of all, sorry to hear this is happening to you.  Nothing is worse than a peeling deck.  Let’s go over a few things to try to help you out.  First of all, check out my YouTube video below (and my YouTube Channel with other home improvement tips & tricks):


Why Is My Deck Peeling – Deck Maintenance

I’m going to give you my experience of what I’ve seen. And what I know and sometimes you just don’t know!  Let’s take a brand new cedar deck. I’ve seen this countless times. So the homeowner called me up about a year after they did their deck. They had a deck built on their property. And they were like, “Our deck looked beautiful. We stained it and three months later it looks horrible.” Well, then four months later it was peeling. Now it looks horrible. So what went wrong? So worked through a process of trying to figure out what you did and what you didn’t do. Or possibly what your deck contractor did or what your deck contractor didn’t do.
First, I’ll ask is what product you used. And if you cleaned the deck.  And if your deck was brand new, did you let the deck season.  Most decks are made of cedar or wolmanized wood, at least in the midwest. So for a cedar deck, here it goes the questions:
  • Did you clean the cedar deck prior?
  • What product did you use to clean the deck?
  • Did you sand the deck before staining it?
  • Did you let the new deck “season” adequately before staining it?
There’s a myriad of questions there.  And when you dig down deep you’ll find the answer to the question.   And a lot of times the biggest key is people say they washed the deck down.  Most probably took the garden hose and rinsed it down. And they put the cedar deck stain right on top of the brand new deck. Most get so excited that they spent a lot of money on this deck. And they want it to look good. So they didn’t let the deck season.  I always tell folks to let your deck season for three to four months. Maybe a little longer, maybe a little less. You’ll see that kind of warm, nutty-brown color wood. Especially when it rains. It looks great. You can kind of smell that cedar. All of a sudden as it seasons, it starts to blonde the wood. Starts to turn more blondish color.
That’s when you go ahead and clean it. Give it a sanding and then go ahead and stain it. A lot of times what happens is when cedar decking is milled it has a mill glaze on there it’s kind of a thin film that’s on there. That really doesn’t allow the sealant or the stain to penetrate into
that wood. So let your deck season. That’s really a big reason why brand new cedar decks are peeling.
I know this sounds kind of funny but a lot of times you’ll see people out there on a nice sunny day. And they’re out there staining their deck and it looks really great. And then about three months to six months a year down the road it starts to peel. What people fail to understand is that when you’re staining your deck in direct sunlight that deck can hit 110 – 120 degrees. What’s really cooking is that stain. It is literally drying too quickly for it to adhere. It’s not adhering properly.  If you don’t get good adhesion you will have peeling problems with your deck. Check out my video on my Youtube channel at: https://youtu.be/KjnZw3Mr8o8