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We  favor water-based, UV-resistant toners over traditional stains. Toners give you the advantage of adding a rich, natural color to your deck without the hassle of "stripping" the existing product off with each subsequent treatment.

The thing to keep in mind with toners, as opposed to stains, is that they allow more of the wood grain to show through. This results in your wood structures having a pleasing blend of natural colors after being sealed. These translucent tones will vary depending upon the angle from which you view the wood, as well from the reflection of sunlight off it. Knotholes (especially those leaking sap / pine resin), will dry a chalky, whitish color. Short of board replacement, there is no preventative against this type of occurrence.

While our typical treatment lasts 2 - 3 years on horizontal surfaces, certain situations may require a maintenance coating the following year. They are as follows:


  • CEDAR & REDWOOD: These types of lumber are known as "softwoods" and generally cannot hold stain for more than one year. Once desired for their natural resistance to termites and dry-rot, they are now known to be high-maintenance decking. Due to cedar & redwood's lack of density, stains and toners tend to peel / flake off prematurely -- particularly when the boards are exposed to direct sunlight. In addition, these softwoods contain an extract known as "tannin" which, when combined with an oil-based stain, generally turns the wood black from the growth of mold spores. In short, the woodgrain of cedar & redwood is gorgeous, but the upkeep is annual.

  • SOLID STAINS: Some homeowners prefer the look of a solid (opaque) stain. Others have acquired a home where the deck was previously coated with a solid stain which cannot be removed. It must be noted that in Illinois' climate this type of stain typically peels.

We do not warranty against peeling when a solid stain is requested. Snow & ice essentially act as "glaciers" during the winter, causing lifting of the product. Expansion & contraction of the boards due to variations in temperatures and moisture levels also contribute to the problem. We leave extra stain with you, upon completing your job, enabling you to perform touch-ups as necessary.

Our advice when you must opt for a solid stain is to pick as dark a color as you can tolerate. Lighter colors cast shadows over defects in older boards. They also highlight the areas where the previous coating could not be removed from the wood.

CARLSON.  BEST SERVICE.  BEST PRICE.  Of course, it's our Scandinavian Heritage!

After The CARLSON Restoration   

After The CARLSON Cleanup 

Deck Stripping 

We use a POWER WASHING system, and occasionally a 100% biodegradable stripping enzyme. Be mindful that no stripping agent, no matter how heavily or how many times applied, will remove 100% of the old stain from your deck. In most cases, 90% - 95% is the norm. Vertical surfaces such as spindles and/or heavily-coated floor boards may not completely come clean. However, when the sealant is applied to these areas the sealant typically blends in quite well. 

PLEASE NOTE: After being stripped, it is not uncommon for your deck to require a maintenance coating the following year.  While we apply two to three liberal coats of sealant to your deck, most of those oils and pigments make their way down to the CORE of the wood rather than remaining on the surface.  Thus, your deck may appear light or uneven the following season. 

If you so desire, CARLSON will apply a maintenance coat of toner at a fraction of your original price the year after your deck has been stripped.  This treatment will optimize color retention and allow you to wait two to three years before restoring your deck again.

CARLSON...the friendliest, most trustworthy service company in the stateline area...period!

Deck Restoration

Before The CARLSON Restoration