How to Stain a Wood Deck: 4 Simple Steps

 In Staining Tips

Prepare the Deck

Before you start, remove everything from the deck’s surface – like furniture or outdoor appliances – to avoid the staining of unwanted objects. You should also carefully cover any surrounding ground plants in order to protect them from any potentially harmful chemicals. Sweep off loose debris with a stiff broom or leaf blower, making sure to clean between the boards. This will also help you to see if there is any mildew or mold present. If necessary, you should sand splintered areas, repair damaged boards, and hammer in popped-up nails.


Apply Deck Wash

Do NOT power wash your deck! Power washing wood can splinter it, especially if it is aged. It also fails to properly remove any green mildew that may have started to grow on your deck. Using a deck wash is a much safer and more controlled way to clean your deck. Deck wash actually has a chance to seep into the wood and kill off any moss or mildew, rather than just blasting off what is on the surface. Before applying the wash, you should read the directions associated with the product you choose. Some washes/strippers require the surface to be wet while others need the surface to be dry. Apply the chemicals evenly via pump sprayer and a stiff bristle brush; make sure you do not allow them to pool up. Allow the cleaner to soak in for as long as the directions say, and then rinse the deck thoroughly afterward. Allow the deck to dry for at least two days before applying the stain of your choice.

Apply the Stain

After choosing a stain color, it is time to apply the stain. We highly recommend that you start your stain by using a paintbrush to cover corners and other difficult areas, such as steps, railings, and boards that are adjacent to your home. This will give you complete control and prevent dripping and stain getting on your house. Once you have brushed the more delicate areas, apply a thin, even coat of stain using a 1/2 inch nap roller with an extension handle, covering three boards at a time. We also recommend that you follow up the roller with long brush stroke, as to make sure that the stain lies on evenly and no pooling occurs.


Allow the Deck to Dry

After applying the stain to the deck, allow 24 hours to pass before permitting light foot traffic. Depending on the weather, wait 2-3 days before moving furniture and appliances back into place. If the weather is wet or humid, consider waiting longer before moving everything back into place.


If possible, try to stain your deck at a time when it is not in direct sunlight. By doing this you avoid uneven drying and streak marks. While it is important to avoid the hot summer sun, it is also important to make sure that it does not rain and wash away all of your hard work!

To keep your wood deck looking it’s best, it helps to wash and clean it periodically to avoid the buildup of mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can be unsightly and can also become very slippery and dangerous when wet.

If you need assistance in staining your deck or simply do not want the hassle of doing it yourself, do not hesitate to set up a free estimate by giving us a call or clicking the link!

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