Deck Staining Tips

TWP 1500 Series

TWP 1500 Series

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.

8 Responses to “Deck Staining Tips”

  1. Kevin Smith says:

    I am curious would it be better to use a roller, push pad, or a brush when apply an oil based stain such as a Semi-Transparent Hardwood Stain from Armstrong Clark?

  2. Lynn says:

    how long do you have to let the deck dry after cleaning before staining? what about after a rainstorm?

  3. Larry says:

    Will i get more coverage out my stain if I brush as opposed to rolling? I am using Armstrong Clark semi transparent on a cedar fence and have already gone through 5 gallons and am not even halfway complete! I have stained appx. 1,100 square feet to this point.

    • Larry, coverage for Armstrong Clark is about 200 sq. feet per gallon so you are getting the correct amount per gallon. You will not save by switching application methods.

  4. KAP says:

    I have purchased DEFY Epoxy Deck Stain. The seller of the product said that it could be applied over old water-based stain, once cleaned with power washing, as does the DEFY marketing material on-line. The container says clear DO NOT APPLY over any other product without completing stripping the product from the wood. My contractor reasonably does not want to apply it and have it peel. I am stuck with 5 gallons that the seller will not pay shipping to return. Help, please???

    • KAP, Whenever switching brands it is always best to remove the previous coating. This is normal for any brand of stain. I just read the marketing material online for Defy and it does say this in their product data sheet. I would strip it off and your problem is solved. Any normal contractor would do this anyhow when switching brands.

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