How to Apply a Deck Stain Evenly  5/5 (10)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

Tips on Applying a Deck Stain Evenly

We here at Deckstainhelp.com appreciate your loyalty. For 2024 and beyond, we vow to remain committed to being your go-to source for deck staining tips and latest industry news on the internet. See below for tips on how to apply deck stain evenly. If you have any further recommendations we may have left out, please feel free to share them in the comments below. Also, we encourage you to share pictures of your completed super deck projects.


Many people set out to stain their own deck but do not realize that just slapping it on can have less than mediocre results. There is a little more to applying deck stain than just squirting it on with a pump sprayer or slapping it on with a brush. Applying a deck stain evenly is going to ensure a nice even professional like finish. It can also help ensure proper stain penetration and reduce the chance over applying, which can lead to a blotchy finish that ends up flaking off.

First wash the wood surface with a wood cleaner, brush, and/or pressure washer. Follow up the cleaning with an application of deck brightener to help open up the wood pores. After the wood has dried for a couple of days, it is now ready for stain. Most deck stains can be applied using various application tools. A brush, stain pad, roller, or an airless sprayer can all work well. Use whatever tools work best for you.

Read the application instructions of the stain label to ensure you are within the guidelines and applying 1 or 2 coats as suggested. Apply stain to one board at a time and finish that board from end to end before staining the next. If using a wide roller, stain pad, or sprayer you may be able to apply to several boards at a time. Still, be sure to coat the boards from one end to the other. This will help eliminate overlap marks that can occur when staining only a portion of a board at a time. You can back brush the stain if you are using a roller, pad, or sprayer. Using a brush to even out the finish will give you better results.

Once you have applied stain to several boards from end to end be sure the stain is soaking in. After 20-30 minutes wipe away any excess stain that is still puddled up or running and has not been absorbed. At that point, it is not going to be absorbed as the wood has soaked up all the stain it can. Puddled up stain left to dry will leave a blotchy inconsistent finish that will not be appealing. Practice these methods to apply a deck stain evenly and you will get professional-like results.

Even Deck Stain Applications

Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
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.

Related Deck Stain Help Articles & Reviews

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
10 Comments
newest
oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jacqi M
Jacqi M
4 years ago

So pleased I’ve found your site! I am very concerned about the “overlap” areas when applying. How do you keep your brush – full or medium of the stain…should you wipe it down to prevent lines of intersection? What, for a novice, seems to work best: brush, roller, rag…? Thank you, always!!!! J

Jacqi M
Jacqi M
4 years ago

I understand to do each board individually. However, the boards are 12′ long – I need to “reload” and continue on the same board. How do I “blend” the stop & starting points to keep an uninterrupted application look? Thanks!

John
John
6 years ago

Is is recommended to back brush solid stains as well?

Tuan
Tuan
7 years ago

Is there a pump spray that you would recommend for applying either TWP 100 or Bakers Gray away? I will also be using it first to apply Restore a Deck Stripper and Brightener.

susie
susie
7 years ago

I live in Arkansas. I have a pressure treated lumber deck that is approx. 4 yrs. old and has northern exposure, so it gets hot sun on 3/4 of the deck mid-day on during summer months. I applied a Behr semi-tranparent stain and ended up with some lap marks. Its time to re-apply and was considering a solid stain which I don’t really want, but don’t know how to cover the wood well otherwise. I would prefer not to do any sanding, however, can I spot sand just those places in order to use the semi-transparent stain again? If so, what sandpaper grit would I use ? Thanks