How to Properly Stain a Deck

A deck is a huge investment for any home owner. Making sure it stays clean and protected will insure it has a long life. With the proper cleanup and a proper application of stain you can avoid costly repairs and regular degradation that many wood deck owners experience.  Once completed you can restore your old deck or further protect a newer deck.  Taking this time on an annual or bi-yearly basis will have you dodging the need for major repairs, leaving it protected from weather and allowing the natural look of wood to shine through.

Prep and Cleaning

This is the most important part of staining your deck.  Do it correctly and be patient with drying and you will be rewarded with an easy staining experience.

Clear your deck of all your potted plants, outdoor furniture and other obstacles on your deck. Blow off or sweep the deck clean of any debris, leaves and dirt.  Cover all perimeter plants and shrubs located around the deck with painter’s plastic or drop clothes.

Once fully cleaned, check the deck boards that may need to be replaced. Deck boards that are rotten, severely warped or have large splits should be replaced.  Look for nails that may have raised up and use larger nails to re-secure the boards. Minor splits can be sanded down using an orbital sander to smooth the surface.  Check you gaps between boards for buildup of old leaves, pine needles and dirt removing with a flat plastic putty knife or straight edge. Re-sweep the deck and hose the surface down to remove any stubborn debris.

Suit yourself up with the proper protection with gloves, old clothing and eye protection when working with any chemical cleaners and following the manufacturer’s directions, apply a wood cleaner such as 30 Second Cleaner or SuperDeck Wood Cleaner with a pressurized garden sprayer being careful not to let the solution dry.  Agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff bristled brush for 10 -15 minutes and then rinse off with water. Allow deck to fully dry.

Once fully cleaned let’s bring back the color and vibrancy that you remember when the deck was first installed. SuperDeck Wood Brightener should do just that. Hopefully you still have all your protective gear so make sure your pressurized garden sprayer is cleaned of any previous chemicals and use it to apply the wood brightener in the same way as the cleaner. Don’t let the solution dry and agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff bristled brush for 10 -15 minutes and then rinse off with water.

Rinse off the plastic you used to protect the surrounding plants and store away for use when staining.

Allow deck to dry fully for at least three days before moving on to staining.

Staining the Deck

If you don’t have a favorite stain and color there are many to choose from so we advise getting some advice in our stores from one of our paint specialists for your proper environment and for maximum protection.  Take advantage of our annual exterior stain sales that starts around Memorial Day and runs through June. It will undoubtedly save yourself some needed cash and allow for some new deck accessories.

These are the most popular of exterior deck stains we stock and sell. Click images for direct link to manufacturer’s website.

Penofin stain and coatings logo

Cover the plants to protect them from any splattering.

Stir the stain thoroughly and pour the stain into a paint tray. Apply a THIN coat of stain using a paint roller attached to a long handle rolling it in the direction of the boards making sure the stain does not puddle or pool.

With a paint brush get all the ends of the boards stained and allow the deck to fully dry.  Repeat this process at least two more times utilizing multiple thin coats rather than a single heavy coat.

Once you have completed the process inspect the deck fully for any areas you might have missed, paying attention to the ends of boards, stairs, railings or other attached wood structures.

Now is the fun part!  Remove the plastic protecting the plants, return your outdoor furniture to its place and start planning that summer bar-b-que to show off your hard work.

If you clean and stain your deck every 1-2 years you will have a deck that will stay protected, looking new and perfect for your outdoor enjoyment. Have questions? Come in and ask to talk with one of our paint & stain specialists or give us a call.  We’d be happy to help!

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