The care and maintenance of mahogany decks – a staple of South Shore homes

Mahogany decks are common on South Shore, Plymouth, and Boston-area homes. Here are some things you need to know about maintaining them:

Water resistance is imperative for Mahogany Decks in New England.

water on mahogany deckMahogany deck floorboards need staining at least every 2 years:

Because water puddles on horizontal surfaces, your mahogany deck floor will look worn out and weathered long before the vertical mahogany spindles around your deck. Vertical surfaces tend to shed water and dry faster than horizontal surfaces, and you’ll often see a difference in color between the spindles (darker) and the deck flooring boards (faded).

Consider Trex or another Composite material for your deck’s floorboards to prevent the need to stain your deck.

If you are putting in new deck floorboards and don’t want to worry about constantly staining them every 2 years to keep them protected and beautiful, consider installing composite floorboards like Trex, which are maintenance-free.  Installing a composite deck means you won’t need to call us to stain your mahogany deck every 2 years and can enjoy a deck that looks like mahogany.  Our carpenters can install Trex floorboards – just tell us when we’re at your home quoting your project.

Best stains for Mahogany decks in the Boston area:

mahogany deck staining

We use Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Translucent Oil Stain for mahogany decks.

Most customers choose the translucent formula, but you can also choose the semi-transparent stain if you’d like more pigment. If you go to Curry Ace Hardware in Hanover or Quincy, they will have samples from which to choose the correct stain formula and color.

If you’re restoring your deck yourself, test the stain color in a small area first.  Different mahogany will absorb the stain and pigment differently, and you want to ensure you’re getting the color you like.

Best cleaners for a Mahogany Deck

We like Simple Green Deck and Fence Cleaner to remove the green growth that plagues shaded areas of decks.

Can you pressure wash a Mahogany Deck?

Yes, but be sure you use the pressure washer on the lowest setting that cleans the deck.  Add Simple Green to your pressure washer for even better results.

Should I oil my Mahogany Deck?

Oiling a deck is not as common in New England as staining it because oils need more frequent application, and do not dramatically change the color of the Mahogany deck.

Most customers also enjoy the darkish-red look of a stained Mahogany deck.

Oiling a deck, especially with a transparent oil will result in a color not much different than the natural Mahogany wood and an oiled deck will likely gray over time.

Sunlight fades Mahogany Decks.sunlight on deck

The more sunlight hitting your deck, the more often you’ll have to re-stain it.

If your deck is in direct sun, consider using a semi-transparent stain with more pigment than a transparent stain.  Or better yet, consider having our carpenters replace the mahogany deck boards with Trex – a maintenance-free composite material that looks like mahogany.

Patio furniture, outdoor carpets, and grills “shade” your deck from the sun but can cause “dark spots” on your mahogany deck. If you stain over these areas, the new stain will often appear darker than the rest of the deck. We use a special product during the washing phase of your project to help ‘break up the stain’ in the darkened areas that haven’t been exposed to as much sunlight. This allows the new stain to absorb more evenly.

Foot traffic also wears away at the stain, but not as much as sunlight and puddling water wear it away.

What to know when installing a new mahogany deck:building a deck

If you are installing a new mahogany deck and if the boards are NOT YET installed on the deck, apply the stain on all SIX sides of the decking boards, including the cut ends (the places where the saw cut the wood).

If the boards are already installed and nailed in place, it’s harder to stain the underside of the wood because of access. You’ll have to decide if the access issues are worth it to you to protect the wood on the underside.

If you have not bought the mahogany for your project, re-consider using mahogany and consider using Trex instead of wood. This maintenance-free composite floorboard looks like mahogany but does not need staining every 2 years as mahogany wood requires.  I know this advice seems counterintuitive coming from a painting company that might be hired every 2 years to stain the deck, but our clients find it just plain easier to install Trex and be done with maintenance altogether.  And yes, our carpenters can install the new Trex deck for you.

How long does a new Mahogany deck last?

mahogany deck half stained and half raw wood at South Shore Country Club in Hingham, Massachusetts

With proper maintenance, a Mahogany deck will last about 40 years in New England, comparable to cedar, another common deck material.

Pressure-treated decks will last 50 years as a comparison.

If you’re comparing Mahogany to Trex, a composite material that’s virtually maintenance-free, Trex offers a 25-year warranty on their decks, but as we said above, you won’t have to stain Trex every 2 years to keep it looking beautiful and protected.

Our carpenters can install Trex decking if you’re considering moving to a composite deck.  While Trex is initially more expensive than wood to install, the fact that you don’t have to spend $1,000+ every year to restain it will pay you back quickly.


How Often Should Mahogany Decks be Maintained in the Boston Area?

certapro worker working on deck
Simple Green Deck Cleaner is sprayed before power washing this Dartmouth, Mass deck.

We recommend staining mahogany decks at least every two years, to keep it looking nice and the wood protected from our harsh New England winters.

Many of our clients have us on speed-dial every Spring because the mahogany looks weathered after just one season.

Here are step-by-step instructions from Benjamin Moore that will give you an idea of exactly HOW to stain your deck if you’re interested in doing it yourself

Maintaining mahogany decks is important for the longevity of your deck.  It also looks much better if you keep up with the mahogany deck maintenance by staining the floorboards at least every other year.



Can I replace a few deck boards without replacing the whole Mahogany Deck?

photo of hands laying in a single mahogany deck floorboards
Replace rotted  Mahogany wood before staining the deck.

Yes, mahogany one to two deck boards can rot because they sit in areas of dampness.

When replacing the boards, be sure to stain the underside, sides and cuts before placing the new mahogany board in place.  You can then stain the top of the board along with the rest of the deck.

Our carpenters can replace a board or two when we stain your deck.  This is very common in New England where moisture rots the wood.

We can also replace rotted mahogany spindles, railings, and handrails.


We stain decks of all wood types, not just Mahogany.

To get a quote, click on our online calendar to choose a time to meet with us.  We also do driveby quotes for decks where you don’t have to be home, so feel free to email Paige at [email protected] if you’d prefer a driveby-quote instead of meeting in person.

More deck questions?  We’re here to help.

If you have any questions, even if you’re maintaining your deck yourself and don’t want to hire a professional, reach out to us at [email protected]. We’re here to help.

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Our carpenters can replace your deck with wood or composite.

Our deck staining services.

Exterior painting the CertaPro way.