Best Stain Application Brushes and Pads 4.7/5 (35)

This post was updated on January 19, 2022

Best Stain Applicators – Brushes and Pads

Welcome to Deckstainhelp.com, your source for industry insights and tips for the perfect deck stain project execution. Having the right tools is so important for a successful stain job, so we list our recommendations for the best stain application brushes and pads to get the job done right in 2022. We want to hear from you. What are your favorite application brushes and pads for deck stain and why? Leave us a comment below.


The Best Applicators for Staining your Deck

As with any wood staining project using the right tools is essential to achieving good results. There are many different types of stain applicators. Several tools can even be combined to get the desired result. Let us look at some of the more common stain applicator tools.

Stain Brushes

A basic white china bristle brush is always a good bet. A big 4 or 6-inch brush can hold a lot of stain for large areas. A brush is also good for getting into hard to reach places and for edging. Use a brush on the whole staining project or use it to cut in before tackling the larger areas.

Exterior Deck Stain Pads Are Best

For large areas like a deck floor or handrail tops, a stain pad can be a great tool. With absorbent fibers that hold plenty of stain you get more coverage. An easy-to-use handle allows for a neater application and easier cleanup. Replacement pads are also available. As contractors, we like stain pad applicators the best. This allows us to work the stain deep into the wood grain. They come in many different sizes. We use small 7-10″ pads for applying to verticals and 12-18″ floor pads for staining horizontal floors.

Truck Brush

A Truck Brush can be used for applying to horizontal floors. Does drip a lot though. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stains sells one of these.

Groove Tool

A brush can be used to get into the cracks but for better efficiency, you may want to try a crack and groove applicator tool. This unique narrow tool allows you to stain hard to reach areas like between deck and fence boards.

Pump Deck Sprayer

For spraying cleaners, sealers, and stains a high-quality pump sprayer can’t be beaten. A pump sprayer can really cut your staining time down and give you a nice even finish. Once the job is done simply clean the sprayer out so it is ready to use the next time. A great method is to use a brush to cut in then hit the large areas with a stain sprayer. We like to lightly apply a first coat of the stain with a pump sprayer, then apply the second coat with a large flooring stain pad.

Using the right tools for any job is crucial especially when it comes to applying wood stains. Become more efficient and get better results by trying any combination of these stain applicator tools on your next project.

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BARBARA
BARBARA
1 year ago

We’re considering the following for applying 2-3 gallons of Messmer’s Natural on two 250′ IPE decks:
1­) Shurline mop (I could only find 9″ not 18″, even on their own website) with either
    a) “no-rip non-reticulated closed cell foam pads”, or
    b) “high capacity, engineered grooves to pick up more stain.”
2) or Padco, which has 10″ mop, and says it holds a lot of stain. Would that be too much stain for use on IPE?
3) Which would be better: 1a) 1b) or 2)?
4) My husband is planning to first use a brush for between the boards (6 ft. or so at a time), then mop the same area right afterwards; then repeat with the next 6 ft., etc. 
Is that the best way to do it?

Paul Thomas
Paul Thomas
1 year ago

Extremely informative and helpful information.

Scott
Scott
1 year ago

What is the best way to apply a solid stain (Defy Solid gray colored). I bought a Defy 11″ push brush but it looks like that is better for semi transparent and thinner stains. Would a brush like a Linzer 3550 Satin and Stain Block Brush-Poly/ Bristle Blend work? If not what is best. I need to apply to both horizontal and vertical surfaces. Thanks.

Linda
Linda
1 year ago

What’s best filler for deck? Also for semi solid stain, pad or roller or both?

Sue
Sue
2 years ago

Do you have any tips on using the Deck Wood Staining Brush? Or is that not a good option for a first time staining one year old deck. Will use Restore-a- deck cleaner set and also the stain from them. I had seen the deck brush used in a video , but now can not find it. Thank you.

Kimberly
Kimberly
2 years ago

Hi where can I get the Padco Deck & Fence Stain Pad Set (Item #3744) pictured above? I have tried looking and can only find the crack and groove tool and not the set. I am trying to find a good product to apply an oil based stain to a deck. Thank you

Mae
Mae
2 years ago

For a solid stain on a deck, how do I save time and my back? I see from a previous post that you do not recommend a pad as the solid stain is too thick. Please don’t tell me my only option is a brush : (

Urvil
Urvil
2 years ago

I’m applying Armstrong Clark Chestnut to some PT Pine that’s about 5 years old. I’ve sanded, cleaned, and brightened. Just waiting for it to dry. The deck is 12’x15′ with no railings or anything, just a brick wall surrounding it. The boards are each 15′ long.

The AC instructions say to use a roller or brush to apply. Would you recommend using a roller, brush, or stain pad?

Urvil
Urvil
2 years ago

Cool. So I’m thinking use the pad to apply stain to the full length of 4 or 5 boards at a time, then go back and use a brush to backbrush the boards, then move on to the next set of boards and do it again.

Urvil
Urvil
2 years ago

Sorry just one last question. I did the covered part of my deck yesterday and it looks beautiful. (I’ll post a picture when the whole thing is done).

Unfortunately there was a totally unforecasted shower 2 hours later (but the finish is fine). It’s been raining like mad this month so this process has taken me weeks longer than I expected. So the main part of my deck is drying again. I’m hosting a bbq on Saturday so my choices are (1) stain tonight (Thurs) when only 24 hours have passed since the rain but it gives 48 hours of drying time, (2) Stain tomorrow (Fri) when the wood will be dryer but I’ll only have 24 hours of drying time for the stain, or (3) Leave it unstained until after the bbq and hope no one spills anything.

Any recommendation?

Urvil
Urvil
2 years ago

So after waiting for several days of good weather, I was finally able to stain. Feels awesome and glad it’s done.

Just one last question before I say it’s completely over. The AC instructions said it’s intended for one coat but you can do a second if necessary and if the first coat soaks in within 24 hours. My first coat did, but I did not put a second right away. The deck looks good but a little bit dull and I wonder if it would be good to put a second coat on now or if I missed my chance or should wait until next year? The wood had a cheap non penetrating solid stain before and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was thirsty for oil. The pictures show the wood just after application, then a few days later.

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Urvil
Urvil
2 years ago

Awesome, thanks! And thanks so much for all your help. This site is fantastic.

Stacey
Stacey
3 years ago

If a deck was already sanded, then why does a deck have to be re-sanded if it rains before the staining?

danny hancock
danny hancock
3 years ago

whats best pads for staining outdoor shutters

Michelle
Michelle
3 years ago

What kind of pad and groove tool are the best for staining a deck?

Cindi
Cindi
3 years ago

What is the best pump up sprayer for Restore-a-deck stain? I have about 1000 square feet, with railings and lattice.

Chris H
Chris H
3 years ago

I am about to stain a large new pressure treated pine deck (weathered 6 months) with TWP 100. Will a pump sprayer properly apply TWP 100?
Also, the deck is large, if I spray an area and need to wipe off the excess stain. is the best approach to use a stain pad on an extension pole? Seems like if I were to use a rag, I would be walking across the wet stain, not sure if that is a problem, thanks.

Chris H
Chris H
3 years ago

Your other posts have stated to only apply 1 coat on new bare wood, since I am applying only 1 coat, would I be better off applying that with a stain pad?
Also, could you provide info on the type/brand of larger floor pad you use when applying stain to the floor deck boards? Thanks for all your help.

Gregg
Gregg
4 years ago

I am staining my railing that has aluminum spindles attached. They can not be removed without taking a lot of the railing apart. So I will have to stain around them. This will require a lot of cutting in. What do you recommend using for cutting in on something like this?

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Gregg
Gregg
4 years ago

Do they make angled brushes for use with stain? a 3″ or 4″ flat brush may be a little tough to use when it comes to cutting around those spindles.

John Keith
John Keith
4 years ago

I have a raised deck with an aggregate stone patio underneath. Should I use a pad no wider than the deck boards to minimize dripping between the boards? Would you suggest a plastic drop cloth on the patio to catch drippage? And how do I manage drips onto the joists? Thank you!

John
John
4 years ago

Are pads a decent option for solid stains?

scott
scott
6 years ago

I have a larger deck with a bunch of with long railings. Can I use a garden sprayer? What is the best way to apply?

Neil
Neil
6 years ago

I bought a variety of tools to stain my Cedar Deck with Sikkens Cetol SRD. I bought a a couple of foam applicator pads (one with a gap wheel), however the pads looked so thin and flimsy, that I went and bought a 100% lambswool applicator. I can still return all of them, but I'm wondering which one would be best to use and why? The gaps between my boards are quite large (about an inch) so not sure if the gap wheel would be of much use as I'm pretty sure I can hit the gaps without it.

Is the lambswool superior to the foam applicator pads?

dick burns
dick burns
7 years ago

I'm staining a new cedar deck(quite large)…can a roller be used to apply vs the pad method on the floor surfaces?

Ron
Ron
7 years ago

Hi, any particular brand/model recommendation for pads to be used on a deck?

Paul
Paul
6 years ago

Can you use a pump sprayer with oil-based stains?

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