After a wood deck has been cleaned properly and allowed to dry, it’s time to apply a quality deck stain. Protecting the wood from damaging sun rays and moisture is vitally important to the life of the deck. Staining a wood deck can be a DIY job but there are some guidelines to follow.
A common mistake is to over apply a stain. In terms of deck stain, more is not always better. Be sure to read the directions on the stain can before starting. In most cases, one or two coats of deck stain should be applied. Deck stain is different than paint – it shouldn’t be applied thick. Also different than paint, deck stain penetrates the wood as opposed to sitting on top of the surface. The wood will only absorb so much deck stain. Applying too much leaves stain on the surface that results in an inconsistent appearance. The extra stain will also harden and begin to crack and flake off in only a few short months.
It’s recommended to use a roller or stain pad to push the stain into the wood. Any excess deck stain that puddles up or remains on the surface should be back brushed or wiped with a clean rag. Once the stain has penetrated and filled the wood pours it cannot absorb anymore stain. If a second coat is recommended, it’s important to let the first coat sit for the suggested amount of time before applying the second. All deck stains are different so be sure to follow the directions.
Be sure to use the proper material to clean up with. Soap and water for water based stains and mineral spirits for oil based. Wipe any unwanted stain splashes or drips from siding and other surface right away. Allowing the deck stain to dry on unwanted surfaces will make it much harder to remove.
Once the deck is stained, be sure to check the drying time on the label. Water based deck stains will dry faster than oil based stains. Don’t walk on the wood until it’s cured for the proper amount of time. Normally there is a suggested amount of dry time before handling light traffic and longer dry times before you should replace furnishings and other heavy items.
Getting more life out of your wood deck isn’t hard as long as you keep the wood protected. Cleaning and refinishing your deck every couple of years will increase its longevity and years of use.