All Hands on Deck! Deck Staining Tips for Homeowners

All Hands on Deck! Deck Staining Tips for Homeowners
  • Opening Intro -

    Fall and spring are the perfect times of year to stain the deck.

    The days are a little cooler, humidity drops, and you can still find a few days of dry weather altogether.


But deck staining can be a big job, and it takes quite a bit of knowhow to do it right, especially if it’s your first time doing it. That’s why we’ve compiled these deck staining tips for homeowners. 

Stain in the Right Conditions

There are two conditions that can derail deck-staining for homeowners: water and temperature. Wood absorbs liquid, and the goal of wood staining is for the wood to absorb the stain. If wood is wet when you go to paint it, it won’t be able to absorb the stain fully.

Temperature affects how the stain dries on the wood. If the temperature is too cold, the stain will take longer to dry, but if it’s too hot, the stain will dry before it fully permeates the wood. This leads to an uneven, blotchy finish.

Before you pick up a brush, get your hands on the forecast for the entire week. Make sure the weather is dry for two days before and after you stain so it is fully dry when you start and the wood has time to dry afterward.

Also, be sure that the temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (10-32 degrees Celsius) on the day you are painting. Avoid staining in direct sunlight, which can cause the stain to flash dry even if it isn’t hot out. 

Get the Right Materials

Many homeowners spend time choosing the perfect wood stain for their deck, but they don’t always spend as much time choosing the right tools to apply the stain. It’s best to use a brush as it allows the stain to more fully penetrate the wood than rollers or sprayers.

When choosing a brush, look for one with synthetic bristles. Natural bristles tend to absorb water-soluble paints and stains more readily than synthetic ones, making it more difficult to apply.

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Swab the Deck!

Your deck surface must be clean and smooth before you stain it. Dirt, splintering wood, and flaking stain will prevent your new stain from adhering to the surface. Take the time to sand down rough places, wash off dirt and debris, and remove an older stain if it’s flaking.

Some old stains may release toxic compounds into the air, so if your deck was last stained fifteen years ago or longer, you may want to consult a professional. You may choose to pressure wash, but remember that your wood will need to dry completely before you stain.

other valuable tips:

Apply It Correctly

Always read the directions before you stain. As you stain, try to avoid oversoaking your wood. Puddles on your deck won’t absorb in the wood correctly which leads to flaking and a shorter lifespan for your stain job. Use thin coats, working along the grain, and allow the stain to dry completely before adding a second coat.

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