How Often Should you Stain your Deck? 5/5 (2)

This post was updated on January 14, 2022

How Often Should you Stain your Deck?

How Often Should you Stain your Deck?

How Often to Reapply a Deck or Wood Stain?

This is one of the most popular wood or deck staining questions we have on DeckStainHelp.com.

Exterior deck and wood maintenance are key to improve the appearance and protect the wood so it lasts for many years. A quality wood or deck stain can last up to 3 years on a deck and 5 years on a vertical surface but they do not last forever. This article aims to provide you with tips on when to reapply your deck stain for different types of surfaces and different types of stains or coatings.

Wood Staining Maintenance Tip: It is always best to reapply a deck stain prior to full failure. In many cases, you can clean and reapply the same stain and brand if the current stain is intact to the wood.

How Often to Stain Horizontals Wood Surfaces?

Exterior wood surfaces such as deck floors, wood walkways and the tops of railings typically need to be reapplied every 1-3 years depending on the brand, type, and solid content of the stain. Look for signs of wearing, fading or peeling to access when to reapply.

How Often to Stain Vertical Wood Surfaces?

Exterior Wood Surfaces such as fences, login cabins, wood-framed homes, and deck railings typically will last about twice as long as a horizontal surface. This could mean 3-7 years on a vertical surface.

Wood Stain Stripping Tip: If a transparent or semi-transparent wood stain has reached failure with more than 25% peeling or wearing, you may need to strip and brighten the wood for the prep. This will help to ensure an even application of the new coating. If you are switching stain brands or colors of stain, you will need to remove the current coating fully first by stripping and or sanding: Tips on Best Deck Prep

The Different Types of Wood Deck Stains

Not all deck stain types will last the same. Transparency or solid content plays a key role in how long the stain will protect from UV fading. The ability to fully penetrate into the wood versus filming on top of the wood also plays a role as to if the stain will be prone to peeling or not.

Wood Stain Transparency Tip: In general darker colors will always give better UV protection from graying than lighter colors. Pigment or solid content of the color is directly related to how long the wood will be protected from UV oxidation or graying.

When to Reapply Clear Sealers

Clear wood sealers offer little to no UV protection and will gray quickly. Typically used as sealers only and will gray in less than a few months. If using to protect from water absorption, you will need to reapply annually.

When to Reapply Transparent Wood Deck Stains

Transparent wood and deck stains are very lightly tinted and look the most natural as they contain minimal pigment. They also only last about 12-18 months for most scenarios on a horizontal and 18-24 months on a vertical surface.

When to Reapply Semi-Transparent Wood Deck Stains

Semi-transparent wood deck stains contain more pigment then a transparent stain while still showing the natural grain of the wood. In most scenarios can be cleaned and re-coated easily. They can be removed with a deck stain stripper if needed. The longevity of a semi-transparent stain can vary from 1-3 years on a horizontal surface and 2-6 years on a vertical surface. The variance is based on brand and weather conditions.

Semi-Transparent Stain Reapplication Tip: Our favorite deck stains have always been the penetrating semi-transparent stains. These stain types allow the wood grain to show and if they truly soak into the wood grain, reapplying is easier down the road. The problem we have noticed in the last 5-10 years is that not all semi-transparent stains are penetrating. Many manufacturers have gone away with the true penetrating stains due to VOC laws and for profitability. Top-Rated Semi-Transparent Stains

When to Reapply a Solid Color Wood Deck Stain

Solid color (opaque) wood and deck stains look like paints as they cover the wood so you will not see the wood grain anymore. They offer 100% UV protection but a prone to peeling as they film or dry on top of the surface. The solid stains will last about 1-3 years on a horizontal surface and 3-7 years on vertical surfaces depending on the brand: Best Solid Color Deck Stains

Solid Stain Reapplication Tip: If recoating a solid color stain you do not have to strip or remove all of the previous coatings. Remove what is loose and dirty but you can coat over the intact stain that is not peeling with another coat of solid stain.

How Often to Stain a Deck Questions

If you have any questions on this article about How Often Should you Stain your Deck, please ask below.

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Sandy
Sandy
1 year ago

Hi there I have attached a photo of our decks. We use semi transparent stain (cloverdale paint, weather one) Every year, there is peeling of stain in high traffic areas. My husband cleans decks and reapplies the stain every year. I don’t feel it looks as good as it did the first year it was done, the areas of peeling that are restained ate noticeable. Should we be doing something differently? First picture is the peeling deck, second picture is the restained peeling deck (not the same area). Thanks!

D61EC9EB-CDBE-4446-99D9-A927F71E0E6C.jpeg
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Mike
Mike
1 year ago

I built my deck on 3/20 and still haven’t stained it. I plan on doing it June or July 2021. Do I have to apply two coats for the first time or just one?

Susan P
Susan P
2 years ago

“In general darker colors will always give better UV protection from graying than lighter colors.”

Why is that?

Debbie Walker
Debbie Walker
2 years ago

We applied TWP 100 to our deck 2 years ago and feel like it is time to maintain.
1. My understanding is that we only need to clean and brighten the deck and NOT strip? Correct? Is power washing recommended?
2. We live in Houston, TX and more than half of the deck gets brutal direct sunlight that is showing wear, but there in an area that is covered that looks fine. Can we reapply TWP to the exposed areas and just stop at the covered area?
3. Do we apply 1 coat or use the wet on wet method?
4. How many gallons will we need for this maintenance if we used 5 gallons on our original application of wet on wet 2 years ago?

Debbie Walker
Debbie Walker
2 years ago

Thank you for your prompt response.

Anthony Erba
Anthony Erba
2 years ago

I am about to stain my 1-year old deck with TWP 100 and am mentally preparing for maintenance coats some time in the future. How do a I prep the deck for a maintenance coat with a semi-transparent penetrating oil?

Anthony Erba
Anthony Erba
2 years ago

Thank you very much!

Carol Phillips
Carol Phillips
2 years ago

You mentioned that when recoating a solid stain color you do not need to remove the existing product. Is this true when you are changing products? The previous owners used Sherwin Williams” SuperDeck product; I would like to switch to a product recommended on your website. Is sanding any areas where the paint is peeling sufficient? Thanks for your response.

Carol Phillips
Carol Phillips
2 years ago

Thanks for your quick response to my question. I have one additional question. Is it OK to fill areas on the horizontal boards that have indentations in the wood or rather large cracks? I know that you said in an earlier post that this is not advised when using penetrating stains. However, since I am using a solid stain I thought that perhaps this would be OK. I have done it before when staining a fence with a solid product with no ill effects (at least none that were apparent to me). Thank you!

Steve Marquard
Steve Marquard
2 years ago

Here are four photos related to my questions.

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Steve Marquard
Steve Marquard
2 years ago

I just finished staining my 400 sq ft KDAT deck yesterday after weathering since November (6 months). I cleaned and brightened (Defy) and used semi transparent Defy Extreme Light walnut. My wife says it looks great, but I see many mistakes I made. The perimeter boards and cut-ins around aluminum railing bases are much darker because I used more stain. Then I began to see I was going to be short on stain. The main body of the deck is lighter and I did a poor job of avoiding lap marks. The sun came on strong, so I delayed half until later in day but got some drip marks and beading of wet stain on dry stain adjacent. I did cover the whole deck before I ran out of stain, but I know I have uneven amount on surface. I could probably be used as a video of errors.
Now what? I think I can leave it as is now with a humbled heart and the surface is protected. What are my choices? What are steps for a maintenance coating with same product if I do within two years. Please share some ideas.

Carol Anderson
Carol Anderson
2 years ago

We stained our cedar fence with Flood pro Series, WoodTones, Clear Varnish for Bare Exterior wood. Built in transoxides for superior UV resistance. Cedar Toner. That was in 2016, it now needs recoated, what is required and which stain should we use?????

Stephen Jansky
Stephen Jansky
2 years ago

I am sanding our 19 year old redwood deck with 60 grit belt sander to remove Behr stain. I will clean and brighten with Restore-A-Deck product and restain with TWP 100. Is the sanded wood considered “NEW” wood and require a weathering time before cleaning, brightening, and staining?

JudyB
JudyB
2 years ago

My deck was new last year and I applied a coat of the Thompsons after a month. It did not last a year. Is this normal? It looks really bad.

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