How to stain your deck

by | Jun 29, 2024 | Home and Living

Your deck is the perfect place to enjoy your time as the weather gets warmer. If it’s starting to look a little worn out, staining your wooden deck can help you breathe new life into your outdoor space. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Choose the right time

Sprinkle a small amount of water onto the deck. If it absorbs in less than 10 minutes, your deck needs urgent care. Choose a time of the year when the temperature is in the 10- to 30-degree Celsius range, and when no rain is in the forecast. It’s also best to avoid applying stain in direct sunlight if possible, working in sections as the sun moves across your deck.

Prepare the deck

Inspect your deck for damage. Sand any splintered areas with 80-grit sandpaper or a belt sander and replace any missing fasteners. You can also tighten any screws or hammer down nails that are sticking up. Sweep away dirt, dust and debris with a broom, and rinse your deck with water. You can also use a pressure washer on a light setting.

Next, use a deck cleaner product and a brush to deep clean the wood, and allow your deck to dry for two to three days before applying stain.

Pick the best stain

Choosing the best deck stain for your project depends on a variety of factors unique to your deck. Look for a stain at your local hardware store, like The Home Depot, that’s made for your deck’s wood and matches your decking material. To keep your deck in great shape for longer, pick one that is designed to repel water and protect against UV rays.

You’ll get the best results by using an oil-based stain over a deck previously finished with oil-based stains and water-based stain over a deck previously finished with a water-based ones.

Start with the railings

Sweep your deck again to remove any debris that may have accumulated after deep-cleaning. Make sure to sweep the railings with a broom as well to remove any dust. Protect your siding, door trim and any other parts of the home with painter’s tape. Stir the stain thoroughly and transfer it to a paint tray to make things easier.

Begin staining your deck, working your way down from the highest points like posts and balusters. Use long, even strokes with your brush to ensure a consistent coating on your railings and try not to drip on the deck.

Stain the deck boards

Apply the stain to your deck using a brush about the width of your deck boards. Choose your starting and stopping points, like by your deck stairs or a back door to your home so you don’t block yourself into a corner, and work in one direction. Apply your stain in long, even strokes along the length of the deck boards.

Use a smaller paintbrush to apply stain in cracks and hard to reach corners. You can also touch up areas between boards this way. One coat is generally enough when staining your deck boards.

Allow the stain to dry

Let your stain dry for 24 to 48 hours before walking on your deck. Wait an extra day or two before putting heavy furniture back in to place.

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