How to Stain Deck Like a Pro

How to Stain DeckIn order to protect your deck from water damage and wear from UV rays, you’ll need to know how to stain a deck correctly. It’s not that difficult, however it is a task that requires some focus, and will probably need a weekend to complete it effectively. It’s worth it, though – two days of hard work will pay off in a deck that looks good and stays natural for years to come.

Before You Stain

Before actually getting down to the business of staining the deck, you’ll need to clean your deck and do it thoroughly. This will kill damaging fungus that could otherwise ruin the deck, and will also ensure that the stain goes onto a clean surface and sticks properly.

First, sweep the deck and place a tarp over any nearby plants or shrubs. Wet down the deck, and choose a non-bleach cleaner – this will ensure that the cleaner doesn’t alter the wood’s natural coloring or damage the surface. Apply the cleaner onto the deck with a sprayer or a long-handled paintbrush, and allow it to set for however long is indicated by the cleaner instructions.

After it has set, rinse the deck and let it dry completely before staining. Keep in mind that rubber gloves and eye protection should be worn at all times when using deck cleaner, for your own protection.

Alternative Cleaning Solution

Instead of using a cleaner, you could choose a pressure-washer to clean the deck. This technique makes use of water sent at high force out of a nozzle to clean surfaces, and can be dangerous when used incorrectly. Although highly effective, people and small animals can be severely harmed by the force of the water, so it is absolutely imperative that you pay attention to the rental instructions for this piece of equipment.

Again, use rubber gloves and eye protection when operating a pressure washer, and keep them handy to use when you actually start staining the deck.

Staining the Deck

When the deck is completely dry, fill a small bucket or painter’s rolling pan with your chosen shade of wood stain. For this project, you should be using a long-handled brush or a long-handled roller, since it will allow you better control over spreading the stain on a wide surface.

With just enough stain on the brush for a few strokes, roll or brush the stain onto your deck. Apply the stain evenly, avoiding streaks or globs of stain – the benefit of using only a small amount on your brush at a time is that it allows your to apply the stain more evenly, since it forces you to use the same amount of strokes for the same amount of stain. It may seem to take longer, but it will prevent you from needing to go back over half the deck with more stain later on.

If you’ve finished applying the stain and can still see excess stain or dark spots on the deck, use a rag to wipe it away carefully. Never leave your rags, stain containers or brushes in direct sunlight as well – these are easily combustible, so take them inside when you’re done or dispose of them immediately after use.

Be sure to read the instructions on the side of the stain container before disposal: there are regulations for disposing of powerful chemical products like stain, so please pay attention to these and do it correctly.

Finally, let the stain set for 24 hours, and you’re done!

photo by J Wynia -CreativeCommons Attribution