I am trying to select a good wood deck finish. I have found many info about the various types of deck finish that are currently available in the market. One thing that I cannot find info on is the type of annual maintenance that I need to do for the deck if I choose that type of deck finish. According to one of the DIY article that I find in the net, I am supposed to clean and apply a coat of finish on the deck yearly. But I am wondering if this is only applicable for some type of finish but not other. I don't think I can simply apply a coat of finish over existing finish; I believe I need to at least sand the surface first; otherwise, the finish won't stick that well, right? If I continue putting more and more coats of finish, I am afraird that the finish will be too thick, and may start peeling, right?
Currently I am considering between using "clear finish with UV protection" and "semi-transparent stain". Please tell me the kind of annual maintenance that I need to do if I choose either one of them. I will greatly appreciate if someone can tell me the step-by-step way to do this annual maintenance. Then I can evaluate whether this kind of finish is really appropriate for me.
By the way, what I want from the deck finish are: (1) prevent the pressure treated wood deck from turning grey in order to maintain the natural wood color or have a nice redwood color, (2) reduce water absorption into the wood, (3) reduce mildew on the wood surface, (3) annual maintenance is OK, taking too much time to do each annual maintenance is not OK.
The current wood deck finish that I have on the deck is semi- transparent stain. I pressure washed the deck and then applied the stain. I didn't do any annual maintenance because I don't know if I need to do this and I don't know how. By the end of the first year, stain had started coming off in the center of the deck (high traffic area). By the end of the second year, mildew started growing in where the stain had come off. Then I using stain remover to remove the stain, and did that over. But the same thing happened (just faster than before). I figure that I need to do some annual maintenance to keep the finish; this prompts me to ask around here.
Thanks in advance for any info.