How To Stain Deck Boards

Learn how to stain deck boards, whether brand new or old and weather-worn.

Step 1 Inspect the Wood for Damages.

While a new deck may be ready for painting, older wood may have cracks and splinters that need to be repaired. Such a situation may require for you to fix in new planks. Decks whose construction was done using nails instead of screws often have a problem with loose nails. It would be much better to use screws on the new planks as well as on any other problematic areas. This is also the apt time to go shopping for the equipment that you will require in the task ahead. Pick up supplies from your hardware store, including a garden sprayer, a deck brush and screws.

Step 2 Strip and Clean the Deck.

Stripping the deck means removing traces of the old stain, so it must be done on the entire surface. There are clear advantages in stripping. Not only does the process ease stain application, but it also guarantees the best results when you want to change the color of the stain you previously used.

After you have successfully stripped the wood, move on to cleaning the deck. Use a pressure washer that has enough cleaning power to lift all debris and stubborn dirt. Decks that have been infected with mildew or mold can be cleaned with chlorine bleach though in modest concentrations. Extra dirty and grimy decks can be thoroughly cleaned using a mixture of oxalic acid and deck cleaner.

Step 3 — Apply the Stain or Sealer. 

The stain or sealer can be applied using either a paintbrush or a sprayer. While most people prefer the sprayer because of the fast stain application process, the paintbrush can be a more effective tool. With a paintbrush, you are able to get more of the stain or sealer deep into the wood and this translates into better deck protection from sun and rain, which can cause rotting. Read label instructions carefully: some may require you to apply multiple coats.

Step 4 — Allow the Deck to Cure.

Allow the deck sufficient time to dry before walking on it or moving furniture across the surface. Again, the advice on the stain or sealer container will advise on the length of the curing process.