How to Apply Exterior Wood Stain to a Deck

What You'll Need
Paint roller with long handle
Paint pan
Paint brushes
Power washer
Exterior wood stain
Push broom

If you have a deck, you need to use exterior wood stain. Wood, even if it's weather treated, can still bow and warp due to the elements. Applying exterior wood stain can prevent this from happening which will increase the life of your deck. The article that follows will tell you how to properly stain your deck.

Step 1: Clean the Deck

To ensure that an exterior wood stain will properly adhere, the deck should be thoroughly cleaned before applying the stain. This includes removing objects from the deck like outdoor furniture, grills and flower pots. When the deck is empty sweep it off. Don't forget to brush off the railings as well as the floorboards. Finish cleaning by pressure washing the deck. Allow the deck to dry completely before applying the exterior wood stain.

Step 2: Stain the Small Parts First

Pour some of the exterior wood stain into the paint pan. Use the regular paint brush to apply the exterior wood stain to the more detailed areas of the deck. If you are using an oil-based exterior wood stain, use a paint brush with natural bristles otherwise you can use a nylon brush. Apply the stain to the railing, wood benches, wood flower pots and anything that is more ornate. Apply the stain liberally but be careful of drips and going over areas that are slightly dry so you can avoid an overlap to the stain. Always apply the stain with the grain of the wood. If the stain drips to the floorboards of the deck wipe it up quickly with a rag.

Step 3: Apply Stain to the Deck

Using a paint roller with a long handle and a paint pan will help you apply the stain quickly and evenly. Use the brush dipped in the stain to apply it to the deck side closest to the house. Only apply enough of the stain to cover several inches along the front. Stand off the deck and dip the roller in the stain. Begin applying the stain where you left off closest to the house. Overlap slightly and pull the paint roller toward you. Continue in this manner until the deck is completely stained but leave a small opening near the steps. Put down the paint roller and finish applying the exterior wood stain using a paint brush and apply it to the deck steps.

Step 4: Finishing

When the stain has dried you will want to look for areas that are either too light or too dark as well as any blemishes you may not want in your finished staining project. Areas that are too light can be darkened to the right color tone by applying more stain using a rag to rub it into the stain. Areas that are too dark can be lightened gradually using either bleach or mineral spirits on a rag. When you darken or lighten stain you should always work very slowly.