8 Tips to Staining Your Deck

A deck can help add to the beauty of your home’s exterior. Wooden decks are available in several colors and finishes. You can take advantage of the natural beauty of the wood you use or paint or stain the deck to help it match the design of the rest of the house.

Staining your deck can help bring out the colors and textures of the wood used to construct it. The stain also serves as a way to protect the wood from the elements, especially rain and water. Furthermore, staining will help protect the wood from warping.

How Do You Stain A Deck?

Staining a deck for the first time can seem intimidating. However, it is easy to stain your deck by yourself.

To stain a deck, first, choose the stain and prepare the surface of the deck.  Ensure that the deck is properly cleaned before starting the staining process. Once you are sure the deck is ready, you can stain it using brushes and paint pad applicators. 

There are many guides you can refer to when it comes to staining your deck. However, there are some tips you can follow to ensure that you get the best possible results. In this article, we will cover eight tips you can refer to in order to make sure that your deck is best protected.

1. Choose the Right Stain

Before you can start staining your deck, you need to decide which stain you plan to use. In order to do so, you should determine what your main requirement of the stain is – are you looking for a stain that helps protect your deck or one that enhances the aesthetic of the deck?

If you are looking for a stain that has the best weather- and wear-fighting abilities, you should look for a more opaque stain. The more opaque the stain you use is, the greater its protective properties are.

However, if you are looking for a stain that helps enhance the look of the wood, lighter stains are usually the better choice. 

Other things to keep in mind when choosing a stain include:

  • If you are looking to enhance the wood’s natural color, you should consider choosing a clear and/or wood-toned stain.
  • If you want to change the tone of your wood, the best choice is a semi-transparent deck stain. These are more pigmented stains but also allow the grain to show through. Good color choices for an outside deck include greens, browns, and reds.
  • The toughest finishes are solids and semi-solids. These allow you to create deep, vibrant colors on your deck. However, they almost completely obscure the grain of the wood.

2. Check the Weather Before Starting the Staining Process

If the wood you are applying the stain to is damp, it won’t adhere well and may crack and peel once dry. Make sure to start the staining process only when the weather has been dry for several days. Additionally, the weather forecast should predict at least two dry days and temperatures ranging from 50° F and 90° F.

Check the humidity as well. If the humidity is low to average, your stained deck will dry faster. Make sure the forecast is not too sunny – direct sunlight will result in the stain drying too quickly, before the wood can absorb it.

However, there is always the risk that the forecast can be wrong. Make sure that you also have tarps on hand to cover the deck with in case of unexpected rains in the middle of the staining process.

3. Make Sure the Surface of the Deck is Clean

If your deck is dirty, the stain may not adhere to it properly. Before you can start staining, you will need to make sure that the surface is clean and prepared.

Sand down any splintered spots on the deck, and sweep the deck to make sure there is no dirt. Use a knife to access hard-to-reach areas between the boards. Once that is done, clean the deck and let it dry completely. 

You will also need to clear or repair any imperfections that might exist on the deck. These include broken screws, warped and broken pieces of wood, and any nails that are raised above the surface.

Once the deck is fully dry, start the staining process as soon as possible. This will prevent the accumulation of new dust and dirt, which will have to be cleared away once again.

4. Take the Time to Cover Up

For most people, there are areas such as siding that they want to protect from the stain. If you rush to start the staining process, you may forget to cover these areas up. Once complete, getting the stain out of these areas can be a difficult and sometimes impossible task.

To ensure that you do not stain areas that are supposed to be left bare, cover them up with painter’s tape. If there are any plants around your deck that you cannot move, use a cloth or plastic to protect them from the stain. 

5. Choose the Right Applicator

While it may not seem like the case, choosing the right brush or roller can help ensure that your deck is stained properly.

A roller can often result in the staining process being completed faster than a brush. But before you start using one, there are some things you should keep in mind. You should use a roller with a nap measuring ¼ inch or shorter. This will allow you to apply a thin layer of stain to the wood that will adhere to the surface without pooling. Furthermore, you will need to apply another coat with a brush so that the stain also gets into the open grain and pores.

If you’re using a brush, choose the brush depending on the type of stain you are using. If you are using a water-based stain, synthetic brushes are an ideal choice. This is because natural bristles will absorb the water in the finish, leading to a loss of rigidity and limpness. For all other stains, use a natural bristled brush.

Regardless of which applicator you use, make sure to remember to work the stain into the butt joints where two boards meet. Work on several boards at once – this will help you avoid spilling the stain over onto adjacent boards. Spilled stain can results in unsightly splotches at the end of the staining process.

6. Apply Thin Coats

When you’re getting ready to start staining your deck, first mix all the stain you will use together. This will help ensure the color is consistent once the deck has been stained.

When you start staining, apply the stain in thin coats. Semi-transparent stains and clear sealers should be applied in thinner coats than solid stains. Using thin coats prevents the formation of puddles. Puddles do not soak into the wood and can cause flaking when the stain is dry. 

Apply at least two coats of your stain. This will help ensure that no spots were missed, resulting in a more uniform and attractive finish.

7. Let the Deck Dry

Generally, it can take between 24 and 48 hours for the stain to dry. However, this length will vary depending on the type of stain you used, the type of wood you were staining, the size of the deck, and the weather. 

Make sure the stain is completely dry before you put back any furniture onto the deck. Moving items onto a wet deck can result in damage to both the stain and the items involved.

8. Refinish When Required

Even expertly stained decks will need to be refinished occasionally. It usually takes between two to three years before stained decks will need to be refinished. However, start the refinishing process as soon as you notice signs to wear and tear. This will not only ensure that your deck is protected against the elements, it will also keep it looking beautiful and aesthetically pleasing.

Final thoughts

Building a deck is often a time-consuming process. If you buy a pre-built deck or how one custom constructed for your home, it can also be a costly endeavor. 

In either situation, making sure that your deck is as protected as possible helps ensure that you can take advantage of it for longer. There are several ways you can protect your deck, from regular maintenance to sun-protection.

However, one of the best ways to ensure that your deck is protected from the elements is to stain it with a wood stain. Not only does a stain reduce the likelihood of damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, it also protects the wood from moisture damage as a result of rain and humidity.

More than merely offering protection, however, stains also make your deck look more attractive. They help bring out the wood’s natural beauty used to construct the deck while still allowing you to retain a natural look. 

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

Recent Posts