How to Stain a Deck

Deck Staining

Like paint, stain highlights the natural beauty of wood and protects it from weather damage. To stain a deck, follow the product instructions carefully. Stains are water-based, and they must soak into the wood before drying. That’s why you shouldn’t apply them on a hot day with wind.Deck Staining

Deck Staining Round Rock requires a bit more work than just power washing or brooming, but it’s worth the effort to prepare the wood properly. Whether you’re applying new stain or reapplying old, removing any dirt, grime, mildew, and mold embedded in the wood’s surface is important. If left unattended, these contaminants can weaken the structure of your deck and cause it to deteriorate more quickly.

Begin by sweeping the entire surface of your deck to remove any loose particles and debris. Then, apply your chosen cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s usually a good idea to use a brush to get into tight corners and crevices that may be difficult for a roller to reach. After cleaning, let your deck dry for the amount of time suggested by the product’s label.

If you’re going to stain your deck, it’s a good idea to choose a color that enhances the natural colors of the wood. If you’re unsure what color will look best, try an easy test: Cut a small “X” in 2 or 3 random places on the surface of your deck. If any flakes of the wood come off onto the tape, it’s time to strip your deck and start from scratch.

Stains are available in a wide range of colors, from transparent to semi-solid in opacity. Transparent stains allow the natural grain pattern and superficial cracks to show through, which is ideal for homeowners who prefer a more rustic look. Solid stains, on the other hand, hide these imperfections and give a more refined, but also more manufactured, appearance.

When staining your deck, make sure you follow the product’s application instructions carefully. If you’re using a roller, be sure to go back over the area with a brush, a technique called “back-brushing.” This will help the stain soak into the boards and prevent lap marks.

It’s also a good idea to avoid staining your deck in direct sunlight, since the sun can cause the stain to dry too fast. If you must stain your deck in direct sun, make sure it’s well-shaded and apply the stain in small sections at a time.


The stain you choose is crucial, not only for color and appearance but also for durability. Choosing the best stain depends on the age of your deck, its location and how long you want the new coat to last. If the wood is older and weathered, it may need a more opaque stain to protect against water damage.

It’s a good idea to test a sample of the stain on your deck before you buy it. Stain ratings and reviews are available on many websites to help you choose the best product for your needs. Some of the most popular stains include:

Oil-based stains are easy to apply and clean up, but they take longer to dry than water-based stains. This can be problematic if you live in an area with high humidity, which can cause the stain to evaporate before it has a chance to soak into the deck boards.

If you decide to use an oil-based stain, look for a waterproof formula. This will ensure that the stain dries completely and resists moisture penetration, which can cause mold or mildew.

Water-based stains, on the other hand, aren’t as messy and don’t require the deck to be completely dry before applying. They’re also eco-friendly and usually contain synthetic components that prevent molds and mildews.

Whatever stain you choose, it’s a good idea to apply two coats to ensure there are no missed spots and that the new coating will be thick enough for maximum durability. If you’re using a brush, be sure to back-brush after each stroke to eliminate any splotches or drips.

Whether you’re using a brush or sprayer, it’s important to work in the shade and during the cooler part of the day. Direct sunlight can evaporate the stain before it has a chance to soak into your deck’s boards, and the hot sun can make the wood scaly and difficult to work with.

It’s also a good idea to work on small sections of the deck at a time, so that you can maintain a wet edge and continue to move along a section of the deck with ease.


A deck stain provides a color to the wood as well as protection from moisture, mildew and rot. Stains also offer a more uniform tint to the natural wood for consistency in color and blending with other structures around the deck. A good quality stain is designed to last 4 to 5 years or more.

Deck stains come in various shades of color and levels of opacity. There are clear sealers that don’t stain the wood, stains that are semi-transparent and those that are solid in color. The stain you choose is based on the look you want and your level of tolerance for color fade over time.

Staining and sealing are much less expensive than replacing a deck, so taking the steps to protect the wood is essential to preserving your investment. Proper care and maintenance will keep the wood protected and looking great for many years to come.

Before starting any deck staining project, make sure you have all the equipment you need and have a plan for how you will complete the task. Whether you are using a sprayer, brush or roller and regardless of the type of stain you are using, make sure to prepare the area with drop cloths and/or tarps to protect surrounding surfaces.

It is best to work on a day that does not experience excessive heat or cold so the sealant and stain can absorb into the surface of the wood at a reasonable rate. Working on a hot, sunny day can cause the stain to dry too quickly, which can result in the pores of the wood being clogged and the new stain not bonding with the surface.

To make the process of staining your deck go more smoothly, begin by sanding and cleaning the boards before applying any product. It is a good idea to fix any popped nails or damaged areas of the board before beginning the process of cleaning and sanding again. This will help the stain to adhere better and last longer.

When applying the stain, follow the instructions on the can carefully. It is important to apply the stain in thin coats. This will prevent puddles that don’t soak into the wood and can flake off when dry.


Decks play host to a variety of outdoor activities, and can become stained with grease from grilling, food or drink spills, mildew, soot from the fire pit, tree sap and other grime throughout the year. Cleaning the deck before staining helps ensure that the new finish will adhere well, and that the color will be even and opaque.

First, you’ll want to wash the deck with a pressure washer or commercial wood cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and rinse the deck thoroughly with a hose. If there are any areas of the deck that don’t seem to be absorbing the cleaner, you can lightly sand them with 60- or 100-grit sandpaper.

The next step is to allow the deck to dry. It typically takes a few days for a wood deck to fully dry. It’s best to do this on a day without direct sunlight, and that isn’t forecast to rain. If it does rain shortly after you’ve applied the stain, it can displace some of the material and leave a blotchy look on your finished deck.

It’s important to read the label on your chosen stain carefully. Stains are available in oil-based formulas, which penetrate the wood and take longer to dry, or water-based stains that sit on top of the surface and dry much faster. Depending on the weather, and the condition of your deck, you may choose to use either type.

After the deck has dried, you can apply your stain. Many professionals recommend using a stain pad, brush or roller to apply the product. A rag can also be used to get into crevices and other hard-to-reach spots. A sprayer can be helpful for large surface areas, but should be avoided when applying stain to railings or other tight spaces. Once the stain has been applied, it needs to be buffed gently with a soft cloth, to remove any unsightly streaks and to give the deck a smooth and even appearance. A second coat can then be applied if desired, but it’s best to wait until the deck is completely dry.