Updated: May 29, 2022
Staining your wood deck can protect it from getting penetrated by sun rays and ensures it lasts as long as it remains beautiful. And just as painting protects your home's exterior, stain also keeps moisture away from seeping into your wood deck and causing rot.
You know all the reasons why you should stain your deck. That's not the issue. So what is? Staining your wood deck!
While it's a great thing to do, many people do not know how to properly stain a deck to ensure they reap the optimum benefits. But that's why you're here.
So without further ado, we at Pro Painters have outlined expert tips on how to stain a deck like a pro!
1. Weather matters
Wood stain would not adhere to wet wood. So before staining your deck, you want to be sure it hasn't rained for some days. Feel the deck with your fingers to know how dry the wood is. Also, check the weather forecast. You should stain when you know it won't rain or snow for the next two days. It wouldn't be nice to have your wood getting wet before the stain dries. Low humidity also facilitates drying. But note, avoid staining under hot direct sunlight as it can cause the stain to dry too fast before getting absorbed into the wood.
2. Surface prep
Rid the surface of all dirt and dust as stain won't adhere properly to a dusty wood deck. Sand splintered spots and clean between boards. Note that if your deck was built before 2004, it would likely be made of lumber pressure-treated with chromate copper arsenate to prevent pests and rot. If you sand such wood, poisonous arsenic will be released. So it's advisable to call a professional painter for such wood decks.
If you've used any chemical or wet material to clean your deck, rinse it off and ensure it dries before proceeding to staining your deck.
3. Choose the right quality stain
There are three types of stains: transparent stains, semi-transparent stains, and solid stains. Transparent stains allow visibility of the wood texture and grains (best if your wood deck is already beautiful) semi-transparent and solid (for old, worn out, and unattractive decks). A Semi-transparent stain will allow some wood features to show while also adding beauty itself to the finish. This is preferred by most people. Choose the right stain according to your taste, but be sure it's of high quality from a reputable manufacturer.
4. Use the right brushes
There are different brushes you can use for staining, depending on the stain used. For water-based stains, synthetic brushes are just good enough to work the stain into the wood. Conversely, natural bristle brushes are hollow and get soft after absorbing water. If you're using a roller, ensure it has a nap of at most ¼ inch. This length enables you to apply stain in a thin layer that bonds well with wood.
5. Stain! Stain!! Stain!!!
Now's the fun and final part. Before you begin staining your wood deck, mix all the gallons together in one large gallon to obtain an even consistency. This method, known as boxing the paint, is what professional painters use.
To stain, use long, smooth strokes across multiple boards at once. You should use thin coats for solid stains and much thinner coats for transparent colors. This prevents puddles from forming. Puddles do not get absorbed, and they tend to flake off when dry.
And most importantly, apply a second coat to ensure a uniform finish and that you got every bit of the wood deck.