Updated February 2020
How to Stain Your “Wet on Wet”
Welcome to Deckstainhelp.com, your source for the latest in deck stain developments, industry insights, and tips. See below “wet on wet” application directions to be used when you are applying a deck stain in 2020. We want to hear from you. Leave us a comment below about your projects that involve “wet on wet” application.
Deck Stain Application Instructions for 2 coats “Wet on Wet”
The term “wet on wet” refers to a two-coat application process specific to semi-transparent penetrating stains. In the wet on wet method, the first application of stain is applied to an area. Then before the first coat dries or cures, a second coat is applied over the top. This method ensures that the first coat, being still wet, has not sealed the boards from accepting more stain.
The wet on wet application should only be used on wood that is absorbent, or porous enough to handle more than one coat of stain. This is normally reserved for exterior wood surfaces that are older than 12 months and have been exposed to the weather. It is not recommended for smooth textured or newer wood that has not seasoned. The overall process of wet on wet staining allows the application to be evenly applied and minimizes over-application issues.
Note: Do not over apply decking stains! Follow the manufacturer’s directions when it comes to the number of coats needed.
Essentially, a wet on wet stain application is equivalent to applying 1 ½ coats of stain because the second coat covers double the square footage as the first. Before beginning a wet on wet coat application, be sure the wood is properly cleaned and prepared.
On a deck, start with the railings and apply one light coat of stain. Be sure to protect any areas from unwanted drips. After the first coat is finished, apply a second light coat to only the top of the railings within 20-120 minutes of the first. Only one coat is required on the verticals like spindles. Repeat this method for any other vertical surfaces such as posts, benches, walls, and so on.
When the railings are finished and have had a two-coat wet on wet application, move to the floor or decking area. Coat the entire floor or with one coat of stain. Within 20-60 minutes of the first coat, reapply a second light coat. Even though the first coat has not dried completely, it is okay to walk on it to apply the second coat. Be careful though not to step on your second and final coat of stain. Wear old shoes that you do not mind getting ruined. Finally to finish, use the wet on wet process on any steps or deck stairs.
The wet on wet stain application method works best with semi-transparent stains. Both water and oil-based stains can be applied in this manner. Give your deck or other exterior wood surfaces maximum protection with a two-coat wet on wet application.
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