This post was updated on May 2, 2022
DeckStainHelp.com has become the Internet’s go-to site for wood surface staining tips. In this article, we offer insight to answer the conundrum of how much stain you should buy to complete a project. If you have questions on how to estimate the number of supplies to purchase for a project, feel free to leave us a comment with pictures.
How Much Deck Stain Should I Buy?
Before staining a deck you need to figure out the deck’s total square footage. Once this calculation is considered, you can figure out how many gallons of deck stain you need by reading the coverage rate of the stain you are buying. On average most deck stains cover 150-300 sq. ft. per gallon depending on the age, condition, and porosity of the wood.
How Much Deck Stain Do I Need?
- Measure Deck Floor: To figure out how much deck stain you should buy, start by measuring the deck floor. Take its width times length and write that number down. Besides the main deck floor, be sure to add in any smaller decking areas like a second-tier deck or stair landing platforms.
- Measure Deck Railings: Measure the linear feet of all the handrails including stair railings. Then determine the average height of the railing. This is usually around 3 feet on average. Multiply the total linear feet by the height in feet and write that number down next to the total number you got for the deck flooring.
- Measure Deck Steps: Determine how many steps you have total on your deck. After counting them up, measure how wide the steps are and then multiply these two numbers to come up with a total.
- Add Up Decking Area: Now take all three numbers from the deck flooring, railings, and stairs and add them together. That is the total square footage of your deck. Be sure to measure up and add in any extra areas of the deck that are less common. Add in any lattice, skirting, benches, pergolas, or other wood structures being stained.
Deck Stain Coverage
When measuring your deck it is best to use a tape measure or measuring wheel. If you do not have access to a measuring device you can come up with a close approximation by stepping the deck off. For example, to measure the floor stand on one end and with long strides walk to the opposite end counting each step.
A long step is close to a yard, which equals 3 feet. Multiply the number of steps you took by 3 and that is the total number of feet. Do this for all the steps mentioned above to calculate your deck’s total square footage.
Once you have a total square footage number you will then know how much deck stain you should buy to complete the project. Always buy a little extra if you can just so you do not run short. You can return any unopened cans to the store or just save them for the next time the deck needs to be refinished.
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As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites.
All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.