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How To Stain A Patio Deck

How To Clean Your Deck Before Staining

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  • Remove all furniture
  • Sand areas that are splintered
  • Repair or replace damaged boards
  • Apply cleaner and let it sit for 15 minutes. Make sure to keep the deck wet while the cleaner is soaking in.
  • Completely rinse the cleaner from the wood using a garden hose or a power washer on a lower setting. The best option is a psi of about 1200 1400 with a 45° tip on the pressure washer. If you don’t own a pressure washer, before you buy one read Pressure Washer Buying Guide
  • Make sure to spray with the wood grain to avoid damage to the surface of the deck.

Work Toward Your Exit Point

Complete the staining process at an exit point, such as a door or stairs, so you don’t stain yourself into a corner. Ordinarily, you’d want to start at the house and work outward however, you may have to alter that plan so you can finish at the stairs and exit the deck when you’re finished staining.

How To Prepare A Deck For Restaining

Before applying a cleaner, stripper, or restaining a deck, there are several steps to take. Some are important for the task at hand, and some are for domestic harmony and safety. Preparing a deck for staining is different from spring cleaning, although there are some similarities.

  • Remove all furniture, BBQ, toys, rugs, planters, and other items from the surface to be restained.
  • Soak the ground around bordering plants to minimize damage due to run-off, and cover with plastic to protect from contamination. Uncover immediately after finishing.
  • Cover glass and metal with plastic to protect from splash and spray.
  • If you store items under the deck, remove or cover them too.
  • Sweep the deck clear of leaves and dirt.
  • Reset any loose screws or nails.
  • Replace any damaged or rotting planks.
  • Clean and remove stains, so they dont become permanent soap or detergent and water, a degreaser if required, stiff-bristle floor brush, rinse, and repeat if necessary.

If Applying the Same Stain Color and Manufacturer:

If Changing Stain Color or Manufacturer:


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A Few Tips Before You Stain Your Deck

  • Don’t apply deck product in direct sun. The finish will dry too quickly and won’t absorb into the wood. The best temperatures to apply deck stain are between 50° – 90°.
  • Dont apply stain if rain is in the forecast in the next 12 24 hours.
  • If you have a brand-new deck made of treated lumber , you should wait at least a few weeks before sealing it for the first time. The wood needs to dry, so stain can be absorbed properly.
  • If you’ve replaced a warped or damaged board, the new wood will not be the same shade as the rest of your deck. Its best to use a solid or semi-transparent stain to create a blended surface.
  • Test a small area first to make sure you like the end result.
  • If youre covering a large area, mix all of the stain together. This will ensure the color is consistent across your entire deck.
  • The deck needs to be completely dry before staining. Stain will not adhere to damp or wet surfaces and will crack or peel as a result.

Test Deck Colors First

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Before you choose a paint, stain, or other finish, try out the finish on a small, inconspicuous area of the deck. Step back and view it from different angles and at different times of the day to see how it looks. You can also find some retailers that allow you to try out the color virtually using an online tool. Keep in mind that some might impact the deck color. Wood decking, for example, sometimes has a tint that influences how a particular stain color looks.

Stain also looks different based on the color and opacity you choose. A more opaque finish will usually need to be reapplied more often. A clear stain will allow the wood’s natural color to shine, while tinted supplies just a bit of color. Semitransparent stain supplies color and can also add a more consistent finish. A solid stain will allow very little of the wood’s own color to show through.

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Stained Deck With Colorful Dining Space

A dark-stained deck provides the perfect backdrop for a small eating area that pops with vibrant color.


When it comes to choosing the best deck stain, youve got several choices. In general, the more opaque the stain, the better its weather- and wear-fighting abilities. However, lighter finishes let more of the woods natural grain and beauty show through.

Clear and wood-toned finishes are designed to enhance woods natural color.

Semi-transparent deck stains are lightly pigmented and let grain show through but go a long way toward changing the tone of your wood. Choose grays, blues, greens, reds, and browns.

Solids and semi-solids nearly obscure wood grain but allow deep, vibrant colors. These are the toughest finishes.

How To Stain A Wood Deck

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0.50 to $1 per square foot

Wood decks require regular maintenance because of their constant exposure to the weather. Unlike siding or even roofs, the deck is horizontally exposed to all weather elements, taking the full brunt of water, snow, and ultraviolet light. Unlike siding or a roof, rain does not runoff. That’s why it’s no wonder that the stained wood deck surface must be maintained every one to three years, depending on the situation and products used.


This tutorial will explain how to stain a wood deck with a stain after it has been power washed/ cleaned and sanded.

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How To Restain A Deck Without Stripping

    Is your backyard deck beginning to gray and wear? Is it soaking up water like a sponge, and youre worried itll rot? If youre wondering how to restain a deck without stripping or sanding the old stain off, we can help.

    To avoid stripping or sanding the old stain off your deck, thoroughly clean and rinse it, and then let the wood dry for 24 to 48 hours. Apply the same stain color or tint from the same manufacturer. Otherwise, youll need to strip or sand the old stain out.

    In this article, well identify the differences between stripping and cleaning a deck. Well explain how to remove the old stain, prepare the deck for restaining, and the steps to applying a new stain. When youre finished reading this article, you should better understand how to prepare your deck for restaining, and how to apply the new stain.


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      Use The Right Brushes

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      Synthetic brushes are ideal for working a water-based stain into the wood. Natural bristles, on the other hand, are hollow and can lose their rigidity, going limp as they absorb the water in the finish. Prefer a roller? Use one with a nap thats ¼ inch or shorter. That lets you apply a thin layer of stain that adheres to wood without pooling.

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      Whats The Difference Between Oil

      Technically speaking, the difference between oil-based and water-based stains is in their chemical composition and resulting cleanup. As their name indicates, oil-based stains require a mineral spirit or paint thinner to clean up, whereas water-based stains are those you can clean up with water alone. However, theres also a difference in their application and results.

      In general, oil-based stains are considered to be a better aesthetic option because theyre made of natural resins that penetrate deeper into the wood, bringing out its natural grain and leaving a richer, more natural finish. Unfortunately, despite the better looks of oil-based stains, they also have flaws including a chemical composition that makes it easy for mold and algae to penetrate. As a result, many wood-based stains contain a toxic chemical additive that prevents this growth, but this additive also washes away with time.


      Water-based stains, though manmade, are therefore actually a greener option because theyre already naturally resistant to mold and algae growth and clean up without the use of toxic paint thinner. Their finish is not quite as deep or natural. However, some higher-end water-based stains do an excellent job of mimicking the deeper penetration of an oil-based stain.

      Protect The Deck Surface

      As you move to the last taskstaining of the deck surface itselfplace a drop cloth under the stain-pan and pad loading area. A heavy-weight canvas drop cloth is better than plastic because canvas will not blow around as easily. Some tarps have a plastic or rubber lining on the backside to prevent stain from soaking through.

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      Prep The Deck For Paint

      Before we could start painting the new wood deck, it’s was important to prep it. That meant sanding any rough spots and filling any nail holes or cracks in the wood.

      Note: We didn’t do much of the latter due to the fact that we had a newborn baby and just wanted to get the thing painted. But in hindsight, we probably should have.


      Thoroughly clean the deck and allow to dry for 48 hours. I used Sherwin Williams Superdeck Deck Wash because it was easy to grab while I was at the store, but there’s many other products you could use .

      If your deck isn’t brand new, consider power washing or really giving it a good scrub with a stiff bristle brush.

      When you are planning on painting, try to pick a day when you know it’s not going to rain for at least 24 hours. We were lucky and got a full week of dry weather which allowed our deck to cure quickly.

      Painting a deck is much more forgiving than painting interior walls or trim. That being said, even on a small deck like ours, it can be quite the undertaking thanks to what seems like a bajillion spindles.

      Diy: 8 Steps To Stain Your Deck

      How to Stain a Deck + HomeRight StainStick w/ Gap Wheel ...

      The process of actually staining a deck is pretty simple, but its notably divided into two distinct and equally important tasks: cleaning and preparation and the actual staining process. For the best and longest-lasting results, be sure to properly complete both of these tasks and allow the requisite time in between to give the seal and stain enough time to dry.


    • Begin the cleaning process by removing all furniture and other objects from the deck surface and inspecting it for damage and protruding nails. Sand down any splintered boards with 80-grit sandpaper and an optional pole sander. Remove and replace any broken or rotted boards, and nail in any protruding nail heads to prevent snags. Once complete, sweep to remove large debris.
    • Before actually applying the deck cleaner, be sure to wet and/or cover all live vegetation surrounding the space. Follow the manufacturers directions on the bucket or bottle of cleaning product regarding how to protect your plants. Then, apply the cleaner to a wet or dry surface using the garden sprayer. Work the cleaner into the boards with the bristles of your broom and allow it to sit for the designated time before rinsing away the cleaning solution with the garden hose fitted with a high-pressure nozzle.
    • Continue this careful process, focusing on a specific set of boards individually, across the entire deck. Be sure to use a paintbrush, rather than a large roller, to apply the stain or sealer in corners and on railings and poles.
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      Choosing A Durable Stain Or Paint

      If you want that newly stained deck or porch to last, then choosing the right stain or paint is a must!

      When it comes to stains, a solid stain will always wear longer and outlast semi-transparent or transparent stains.

      Think of it as a good, better, best when it comes to the three.

      A transparent stain will show all of the wood grain and materials. But will not have the staying power of a semi-transparent or solid stain.

      A full solid stain provides the most durable and longest lasting finish. While a semi-transparent stain is kind of a compromise. It will show some of the wood detail, but cover much better than a transparent stain.

      With paint, it is the same way in regards to flat, satin, semi-gloss and gloss. Gloss will always hold up the best and last the longest.

      We use a semi-transparent stain for the cedar on our house. It allows the cedar wood to show through a bit, but still provides fairly good protection.

      Staining or Painting Floors

      When it comes to porch or deck floors, it is always best to choose either a solid stain or a gloss or semi-gloss paint. There is so much wear and tear, they need all the extra protection they can get!

      Opaque Class: Longest Lasting Of All But No Grain Visible Looks Like Paint

      Cabot Solid Color Oil Decking StainThe oil-based formulation of this product is a long-standing recommendation of mine, but tightening government regulations have restricted availability to the central states in the US. According to Cabot their oil-based Decking Stain is no longer available in Canada, though you can get the acrylic version across North America. Either way, this product is an opaque formulation and you can expect 3 years of decent appearance from this product before stripping and refinishing is required. Some people get 5 or 6 years. The only drawback for some folks is that they dont want to hide wood grain. This product is like paint. No wood grain appearance shows through.

      Duckback Superdeck Elastomeric Coating

      This is THE stuff for coating old wood thats highly weathered and cracked. Its thick in consistency , so it has the ability to span gaps and cracks, making old wood look surprisingly younger. If Bob Barker were a deck, this is what hed coat himself with. Superdeck also works well on new wood. The one caution Id offer with this product is that the wood needs to be completely dry before application. Any moisture on the surface and Superdeck will peel. This is a relatively new product in my trial line up, but it looks the same today as when I applied it to outdoor wood in May 2015. Sand the wood first to boost adhesion and to remove high spots and ridges that may have formed on highly weathered wood.

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      Stain Deck With Paint Pad

      Dip paint pad into your tray, and apply a solid coat of stain to the entire surface of your deck. Once the surface is complete, apply stain to the sides of your deck with paint pad. TIP: If the paint pad doesn’t cover inside spaces between boards, use a 1 paintbrush for proper coverage. Allow 24 hours for stain to dry before placing furniture on deck.

      Can You Roll Stain On A Deck

      Prevent Deck Stains from Patio Planters!

      Yes, you can use a roller to apply stain on a deck. But the type of roller you use matters! Make sure yours is made of high density foam that won’t break apart if it gets snagged on a splinter. Thicker, fluffier rollers will leave a trail of fibers on your deck that will be a pain to remove!

      I prefer to use the deck stain pad over a roller because it’s much easier to get into corners and edges. The square shape allows it to get into these tricky areas without having to switch to a paint brush.

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      Apply The Stain In Sections

      As soon as the deck is completely dry, Bakhshi suggests applying a water-repellent protective finish or stain, to ensure your wood stays looking bright and clean for longer. “Using a good quality brush, apply the stain to small sections at a time starting at one edge and following through to the end of the boards to avoid lap marks,” he says. “Avoid applying stain in direct sunlight, when temperatures are extreme, or when rain is expected within 24 hours.”

      How To Remove Stains From Patios And Decks

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      We love our patios and decks in summer. And why not? Great weather, friends, family, and food make for great memories. But, sometimes, our wood decks or brick or stone patios can take a beating with stains from food, trees, dirt, and grime. Then, its time to break out the power washer and elbow grease to get it back into shape.

      In this tutorial, we review some common stains you may encounter on your deck or patio and how you can remove them.

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      Transparent Class: Shortest Life Most Natural Appearance

      Olympic Wood Protector Clear Waterproofing Sealant

      This stuff is like sunscreen for your deck. It works better than almost any other clear repellent I know of, but you still cant expect a long working life. There is no deck finish on the market thats both clear and long-lived. At least nothing Ive been able to find. You need to take your pick. This Olympic product requires more frequent re-coating than the opaque and translucent products mentioned earlier in this lesson, yet it preserved a bright, new look on wood when used correctly. You can expect 12 to 18 months of life before your deck will need to be brightened and recoated. Youll most likely get grey areas showing up in high traffic zones, and these will need to be lightened chemically and sanded before reapplication. A combination of wood brightener followed by sanding really is your best bet before reapplication.

      Minwax Teak Oil

      How Do I Know If My Deck Is Dry Enough To Stain

      Decks.com. How To Stain A Deck

      Short of getting fancy and using a moisture meter to measure the level of moisture in the wood , just give the deck a few days to air out without rainfall. You do want to make sure it’s thoroughly dry before adding the stain because you dont want to trap moisture in the wood, which can lead to rot.

      You can also check out a product called Restore-A-Deck, a water-based stain product that can be applied to damp wood.

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