Pressure Treated Deck Maintenance with TWP – Total Wood Preservative

Written by on November 19, 2019 in Decks and Porches, Exterior Products with 1 Comment

Deck maintenance is a major part of my company’s annual workload. Most of the decks that we service are exotic woods, like ipe or mahogany. This is rewarding work, because we get to light up some of the most beautiful wood species on the planet.

At the humble other end of the spectrum are the good old-fashioned pressure treated decks. We do a few of those each year as well. Generally, they are older structures that were built way before the modern era of deck building science. That is when decks were more about function than form.

Avoid Peelers: Add Color Not Film

Let’s face it, pressure treated wood isn’t very pretty. Lots of folks resort to putting solid stain on pt to hide the ugly. But it usually doesn’t hang on for long before peeling. While elastomeric coatings do pretty well on pt, they also require maintenance.

Personally, on my own small pressure treated porch deck, I’ve had success with transparent penetrating oil in a dark brown pigmented tone. When I work with customers whose decks have stayed in the transparent or semi transparent stain range over the years, I always encourage them to stay with that program as well.

I am generally not a fan of film forming coatings on horizontal surfaces. It seems like a counterintuitive concept. Decks are hard enough to maintain. When they peel, the degree of difficulty amplifies.

An ugly wood species on a decent, well-built deck design should at least be easy to maintain. Its a forest and trees deal. I think pressure treated deck owners learn to see the deck as a whole, and appreciate how they can use it, rather than studying the beauty of its organic components.

TWP Total Wood Preservative

We took over a residential pt deck maintenance account recently. The deck is about 14 years old and has been maintained every couple of years during its life. The deck design puts it quite high up in the air, and the exposure is in a mostly shaded backyard.

TWP deck stain

That is kind of a mixed bag of good and bad. Good that it is up off the ground. Good that the sun doesn’t bake it very hard for much of the day. But not so good that it can stay damp for extended periods. More good than bad, though.

The customer (original owner) indicated that the deck had been mostly maintained over the years with TWP deck stain in cedar tone. Given that the customer didn’t want to make radical visual changes in the color of the wood, we decided to stay with the product for this round of maintenance.

Since we would be pressure washing, brightening and scuff sanding the deck and rail surfaces, we knew that the wood would look respectable for its age with the transparent cedar tone.

What We Thought

We used 3 gallons of the 1501 Cedar Tone. I liked that I could buy it locally, and the price point is quite reasonable for the apparent quality of the product. It is not easy to find really well-performing deck stains for under $40/gallon. The product is easy to use, brushes well and doesn’t smell too bad. Many penetrating oils give me headaches, this one did not. We applied liberally and it dried overnight, causing little downtime for the customer. We will be checking it again in the spring to see how it held up.

TWP deck stain
Not the prettiest, but well-preserved

TWP is made by Gemini Products and has been available for over 20 years. They have a really good website with lots of informative articles about how to use their products. Definitely a product that is up to professional performance standards but also user friendly enough for the do-it-yourselfer.

You can check out the TWP website here.

And please do leave comments if you have used TWP deck stain yourself and have experiences to share.



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  1. Ron Ruddell says:

    Can this stain be used over Thompson water base stain?

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