Best Way to Apply Deck Stain: Top 5 Tips

calander Apr 10 , 2022 user-iconAnderson Painting
Person with glove staining a deck

What’s the best way to apply deck stain? There’s no one answer to this question. Rather, proper deck stain application depends on a number of factors. You can’t control everything, but you do have control over when you stain your deck, how you prepare its surfaces beforehand, the products you use, and how you apply them. And if you want to enjoy a durable, beautiful stained deck, you’ll want to make sure to have all your ducks in a row. Here are five crucial tips for staining your deck.

Five Tips for Staining Your Deck

1. Wait for the Right Time to Apply Deck Stain

As is the case with any outdoor renovation, the weather and season must be taken into consideration before getting started. You won’t want to embark on deck staining if it’s too cold, too hot, snowy, rainy, extremely windy, and so on. Rather, you’ll want to pick a dry day with moderate temperatures and low winds. Knowing this, spring and early summer offer the best times of year for deck staining in Raleigh, NC and regions with similar climates. As you gear up to prepare and stain your deck, look for a string of days that offer the ideal conditions – you might get started during perfect conditions, but a sudden change in weather can interfere with proper drying or otherwise undo your hard work. So, weather consistency is key.

2. Remove Previous Peeling Coatings

If your deck was previously stained, you’ll want to remove all traces of these old coatings before applying new ones. Doing so won’t just make the final result look that much better – it will also help the new stain penetrate the wood and therefore provide better protection. Stripping your deck’s prior coatings often involves several steps, including power washing (or abrasive blasting), manual scraping, and sanding. You might also have to apply a stain removing chemical/stripper to expedite the process.

3. Make Sure Your Deck Is Clean

Not only should your stain be free from previous coatings prior to staining – it should also be free from any dirt, dust, or debris lingering on its surface. Power washing offers the fastest method for cleaning your deck, but you might also deploy manual cleaning methods before and after power washing, such as sweeping and scrubbing. A squeaky clean deck is more receptive to new coatings, which will enhance outcomes.

4. Pick the Right Stain for Your Deck

The cost to stain a deck is highly contingent on the products you use. Simply put, higher-quality stains tend to cost more than inferior options. That said, it’s often worth investing in more expensive stains due to their superior durability, longevity, and appearance. Quality aside, you must also choose the right type of stain for your deck’s condition and material. Water-based and oil-based stains both have their pros and cons, and different brands will offer different tint/color options as well. Opacity is also a factor – solid stains are thicker but conceal more of the wood grain than transparent stains. The right choice for your deck ultimately hangs in the balance of your budget, long-term goals, and visual preferences.

5. Apply the Right Number of Coatings

Just like painting walls, you’ll want to apply the proper number of coatings when staining your deck. If you apply too many, you’re more likely to run into peeling, unevenness, and other problems, and if you apply too few coatings, your deck won’t receive the necessary amount of protection. As a general rule, you’ll want to apply two coats of any stain you use to ensure full, even coverage. It’s also important that each coat be relatively thin so you don’t overdo it on any portion of your deck. If you’re not sure of how to apply deck stain, talk to an expert and browse reliable DIY resources online.

How to Stain a Deck the Right Way

The five tips listed here provide a broad overview of the deck staining process. If you’re looking for a more detailed explanation of deck staining or you’d rather leave it all to the experts, Anderson Painting is here to help. To learn more about us and all we do, call today at 919-610-1855 or email us at!

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