How to Stain Your Wood Deck

A well-maintained deck is a valuable asset for any home. Properly staining your deck enhances its appearance and extends its lifespan. Follow these detailed steps to ensure your wood deck remains beautiful and protected.

Why Staining Your Deck is Important

Staining your wood deck protects it from the elements, prevents wood rot, and enhances its natural beauty. Regular maintenance ensures your deck lasts for years, saving you money on repairs.

Gather Your Tools and Materials

Tools You'll Need:

  • Elbow Grease
  • Push Broom
  • Flathead Screwdriver or Putty Knife
  • Plastic Drop Cloth
  • Sandpaper or Orbital Sander
  • Protective Gear (Gloves, Safety Glasses, Old Clothing)
  • Stain Applicators (Brushes, Rollers, Paint Tray, Deck Stain Applicator)
  • Pressurized Sprayer
  • Garden Hose


  • Deck Cleaner
  • Wood Brightener
  • Deck Stain (Water-based or Oil-based)

Preparing Your Deck for Staining

Clear the Deck Area

  1. Remove all furniture, potted plants, and other items from the deck.
  2. Sweep or blow off debris, leaves, and dirt.
  3. Use a screwdriver or putty knife to clean between deck boards.
  4. Cover surrounding plants with plastic drop cloths to protect them from chemicals.

Inspect and Repair Deck Boards

  1. Replace any rotten, split, or severely warped boards.
  2. Secure loose boards with larger nails or screws.
  3. Sand minor splits and rough areas to ensure a smooth surface.
  4. Check railings and tighten any loose connections.
  5. Inspect where the deck attaches to the house and tighten bolts if needed.

Cleaning and Brightening Your Deck


  1. Wet the Deck: Mist the deck with water using a hose.
  2. Apply Cleaner: Use a pressurized sprayer to apply deck cleaner, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Scrub the Surface: Agitate the cleaner with a stiff brush, ensuring you cover all areas.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the deck thoroughly with water to remove all cleaning solution.


  1. Apply Brightener: After cleaning, apply a wood brightener using a clean sprayer.
  2. Scrub Again: Agitate with a stiff brush, focusing on stubborn areas.
  3. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the deck thoroughly and allow it to dry completely for at least two days.

Staining Your Deck

Choosing the Right Day

  • Stain your wood deck when the weather is dry, with temperatures between 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Avoid direct sunlight to prevent the stain from drying too quickly.

Applying the Stain

  1. Protect Plants: Cover plants and surrounding areas to prevent splatter.
  2. Stir the Stain: Stir the stain thoroughly and pour it into a paint tray.
  3. Apply Evenly: Use a roller or deck stain applicator to apply the stain in thin, even coats along the grain of the wood.
  4. Avoid Puddling: Use a roller or brush to spread out any puddles, ensuring an even application.
  5. Repeat if Necessary: Some stains require multiple thin coats. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

Post-Staining Care and Maintenance

  1. Inspect Your Work: Check for missed spots, especially on board ends, stairs, and railings.
  2. Remove Protective Covers: Take off the plastic covers from plants and surrounding areas.
  3. Return Furniture: Once the stain is dry, return your outdoor furniture to its place.
  4. Enjoy Your Deck: Host a gathering to celebrate your beautifully stained deck!
By following these steps and consulting your stain’s specific instructions, you can ensure your wood deck remains protected, looks new, and has a long life. Visit our product page for a comprehensive list of materials needed for this project.