You can breathe new life into an old home, or mold your image of a new one, by learning how to stain a deck and transform into a color that suits your tastes. Sure, staining the deck for the first time is a tough job, but with a few good tips – and some prep work – you can make it happen.
Begin by walking around your deck and looking for imperfections. Also, you’ll want to make sure your deck is clean before you begin staining. Now you can see what you’re doing.
Start thinking about the overall project and stuff that you’ll need to do to make your dream of a beautiful, newly finished deck a reality.
How to Stain a Deck: Getting Started
If you clean your deck regularly, cleaning it up for staining shouldn’t be a problem. For example, Olympic Premium Deck Brightener & Wash is great for removing dirt and stains caused by algae, mildew and mold. If you use this product, make sure that you follow the directions carefully.
You can scrub your deck using a deck brush with stiff bristles after you apply the product. After you’ve scrubbed your deck, wash away any remaining residue with a pressure washer and make sure that your deck drives thoroughly.
Before staining your deck, make sure that all nails are fastened correctly. Loose nails can damage your brush, roller – or your feet!
You can use painter’s tape to protect any surfaces that you do not want stained. A quality roller, brush or sprayer will help you to apply a steady coat of stain.
If you apply too much stain to an area, you can use a roller or brush to fix the imperfection. Brushing, by the way, is one of the best ways to apply stain. It makes the stain last longer and yields better-looking results.
Staining a Deck Like a Professional
If you take shortcuts, it’s very likely that your stain job will not come out as pleasant looking as you had imagined, and it won’t last as long as possible. Therefore, take your time. Prepare for and think about every step of the staining process.
Furthermore, the project isn’t done until you’ve thoroughly cleaned and put away your tools. Nothing helps you to execute professional-looking home projects more than taking care of your tools.
Remember, if you’ve purchased new, pressure-treated lumber, allow it to weather and dry completely for a few months before staining. If you use stain stripper, let it stay on the wood long enough to break down the old finish before you rinse it off.
By taking your time, you can prevent spills and overspray. Additionally, choose a day when the weather is favorable to work on your staining project.
It can’t be emphasized enough how important it is to clean your deck before staining it. If your deck is new, you’ll need to remove the “mill scale,” which prevents stain from seeping into the wood pores properly.
If you have an old deck, there are several things that can ruin your stain job. For example,:
- Old stains
You’ll need to remove any such damage before staining your old deck. Sodium percarbonate, or oxygen-based wood cleaner, is great for removing those tough stains. If you have a lot of old stains, the job is tougher – but it’s not impossible.
Oxygen-based wood cleaners do a great job and don’t harm vegetation. Furthermore, they’re safe for you.
Best Way to Stain the Deck According to Experts
Whether it’s rain or snow, precipitation beats up wood decks badly. If your deck repels precipitation, however, it’s good to go. If not, it needs a fresh coat of stain.
The experts at Consumer Reports test dozens of stains to figure out which one will protect your deck best. Some stains don’t even last a year, while others last as long as 3 to 5 years.
Consumer Reports does the controlled test on the roof of their headquarters using two coats of stain on pine boards. By placing the boards at the right angle, researchers intensify the variables that cause fading and damage to most wood decks. A year of this kind of testing simulates the same time span for a deck, or approximately three years of damage to vertical surfaces, such as siding or fencing.
A good stain job can extend the life of an aging deck. For instance, the stain can hold splinters in place and fill small cracks and crevices.
More Tips from the Experts
The experts at Consumer Reports, like others, suggest that you choose a day when the weather will be nice to work on your project. For instance, work on your deck after it hasn’t rained for a few days and the temperatures remained between 50° F and 90°F.
Always remember to wear a safety mask. Sand down the splintered spots, and remove any other loose wood with a putty knife. Next, sweep your deck clean and clean the wood using a deck cleaner.
It’s important to match the stain to your type of wood, according to Consumer Reports experts. For instance, solid stain closes wood pores – preventing it from soaking into the wood, although you can use a solid stain on top of any other type of stain.
Additionally, apply stain in thin coats. If you’re mixing stain by the gallon, make sure that the color is consistent and use long, smooth strokes – staining two to three boards at a time.
When to Stain a Deck and Other Tips
Staining your deck – the right way – protects it from the elements. Resultantly, you can stain your deck to extend its life and protect your investment.
Decks endure some tough punishment, including rain, sunlight and even barbecue sauce and red wine. You need to choose among several types of stain to find the best choice for your deck.
As a rule of thumb, the more opaque a stain, the better it is at protecting your deck from weather and wear. More translucent stains, however, have more aesthetic appeal and show off the natural grain and the beauty of your wood deck.
You can stain synthetic decking material. However, make sure you check the manufacturer’s recommendations first.
Whether your deck is natural wood or synthetic, make sure that it’s clean and dry before you start staining. In other words, after you clean your deck start staining it right away. This tip prevents dust and dirt from accumulating on your deck before you start to stain.
Also, remember to apply a stain when the temperature is between the suggested temperatures of 50°F and 90°F, while at the same time avoiding direct sunlight. The sun dries out stain quickly, making it uneven.
Deck Staining Tips to Remember
Staining a deck is a lot of work, but it’s necessary to extend the life cycle of your deck. It’s better to have a nice sized deck, compared to a large yard full of bugs and weeds.
If your deck is relatively new, it should still be in pretty good condition. Just remember to pressure wash the deck, and let it dry thoroughly before you stain it.
If you follow the advice of experts when staining your deck, it may take several coats, but it will look great even after you’ve laid down the first coat. At a minimum, you should apply at least two coats of stain.
Remember to test a small area first to see if you like the final color of your stain. Also, stir and strain your stain well while applying it.
You may want to use a paint sprayer. If you do, make sure that you use it correctly. There’s no point in renting or buying a fancy machine if you don’t use it right.
You may also need to use paint thinner to make the stain work properly in your sprayer. Thinning the paint will help it flow through your sprayer, but you shouldn’t need it to get rid of clumps.
Overall, start from the outside and work your way in. In other words, start with the railings, then move on to the decks. This way, you won’t have to worry about stepping on your freshly painted deck.
A Few Fine Points About Staining Your Deck
Simply work your way from an outside back corner into a doorway so that you can exit the freshly painted area easily. Resist the urge to tiptoe to an area to fix one small thing. This way, you won’t risk ruining your hard work.
Also, keep your sprayer moving. By doing so, you’ll keep the stain from building up in the sprayer head and prevent dripping.
Additionally, wear the right gear for the job. Wear loose-fitting clothing that you don’t mind ruining while staining your deck.
Finally, don’t forget about the kids! If you have children of your own or grandchildren, they may factor into the equation.
Try to work on your project while they’re at school or in daycare, if possible. Either way, your finished deck will provide a great place to build awesome memories for you and your family for years to come.
Prepare for Your Next Deck Job
Are you planning an amazing deck upgrade? Then, look no further. Visit the IPE Direct Blog to learn more about how to stain a deck.