The Perfect Stain: Deck Beautification Steps

What You'll Need
Deck stain
Bristle brush
A bucket about a quarter way full for rags
Safety goggles
Sand paper and sanding block
Hose (standard garden hose is fine)
Power washer or scrub brush
Drop cloth
Wood cleaner (preparing your surface)

People choose to stain a deck for two main reasons. The first reason is to protect it from weathering and the second is to maintain the appearance of the wood. In addition to creating a great outdoor living space, a beautiful deck can add tremendous value to your home when you go to sell it. Keeping it in top condition is a financial as well as a personal investment. 

6 Steps to Staining your Deck

Step 1 – Prepare Your Surface

Don't skip this step. The wood on the deck needs to be in good condition before you start the staining process. The wood should not be chipping, eroding, decaying or rotting. All mildew, dirt and other debris need to be cleaned as well. Common ways to fix these problems include sanding, power spraying and using the wood cleaner that you can pick up at a home improvement store.

You may also want to consider a wood brightener for your deck. This product helps to open the wood up to the stain and absorb it better. It especially useful in restoring older-looking wood.

Step 2 – Pick Out Your Stain

You have several different types of stains to choose from. Natural stains act as a transparent enhancer, allowing for the wood grain and texture of the wood to show through. A semi-opaque stain will reveal the texture but eliminate the view of the wood grain. Finally, a solid coat stain will cover up the wood grain as well as most of the texture. Each product provides the same level of protection, but offers a different look.

Step 3 – Make Sure The Deck Is Dry

After cleaning your deck wait 24 hours before you apply the first coat of stain. If you have green treated wood that is also pressure treated, you will need to wait anywhere from 30 to 90 days before you can put on your first coat. You should also check the weather to ensure it will not be raining that day.

Step 4 – Begin Your First Coat

Begin your deck staining project with the railing in case stain drips onto the deck floor. Apply  back and forth strokes with steady pressure. Try to keep your strokes as even as possible. Make sure to read instructions of the product for any special requirements.

Step 5 – Let The Deck Stain Dry

After you are done with your first coat, let the deck stain dry. This will typically take around 2 to 4 hours.

Step 6 – Round Two

While not necessary, a second coat of stain is highly recommended. Make sure your deck is completely dry before you do the second coat, a full 24 hours to be on the safe side.

The best way to prolong the life out of your newly stained deck is to hose it down regularly and reapply deck stain as recommended by the manufacturer. Be sure to consider weather conditions. Harsh weather can cause the stain to deteriorate faster. Normally, deck stain is reapplied every 2 to 3 years.