Tips for staining your deck

Staining your deck is an easy weekend project that you can do yourself with just a few simple tools and the right products. When your deck is stained correctly, it will add years to the life of the wood, not to mention a beautiful finish that can blend nicely with the exterior of your home.

There are a few tips that can make staining your deck even easier and ensure that you come out with a perfect finished product!

  1. Prepare the deck before applying stain. To prepare it, simply make sure that the deck is cleared off and clean. If there is mold, mildew or heavy dirt on the deck, clean it well before you begin and give it ample time to dry. The deck should be dry before you begin because wet wood will not accept stain well.

  1. Choose a good day. The forecast can make all the difference when you are preparing to stain a deck. Do not attempt it if rain is predicted in the next 24 hours. Otherwise, you may waste money and time on a product that will get rinsed away. Stain shouldn’t be applied in temperatures lower than 50°F or higher than 90°, and you should avoid staining in direct sunlight if possible.
  1. Test it! All sorts of products – hair dye, stain removers, paints and stains – will warn you to do a test area and wait a day or two to see if the results are what you’re looking for and to make sure they don’t cause any damage. Most of us blissfully skip that step and move right along to the project, but we strongly encourage you to do the testing process! It’s the only way to see exactly what the finished deck will look like.
  1. Pick the right stain. You’ll need to consider the color you want (there are way more options than brown these days!) and you will need to choose an opacity, or how ‘see-through’ you you’re your stain to be, from clear to 100% opaque. Also, it’s a good idea to mix all of the stain you are going to be using and apply it at one time so that the color remains consistent.
  1. Apply it like a pro. Choose a brush with natural bristles for staining. Start at the open end of the board, coating it well, then do 2 or 3 boards at a time in long strokes. To keep from making noticeable overlapping lines, start on an edge and move away steadily so that you are always applying stain to an area that already has wet stain on it.

Do regular maintenance. You shouldn’t have to stain your deck every year, but you should keep an eye on it regularly. If the stain is still repelling rain and water, it does not need to be reapplied yet. Sometimes, a good cleaning is all that is needed to keep your deck’s stain looking great and protecting your wood surfaces.