This post was updated on May 2, 2022
How to Spray a Deck Stain Tips
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How to Spray a Deck Stain properly and evenly.
We here at DeckStainHelp.com hear a lot about different methods and tools people use to stain their decks. Luckily, there are options so you don’t have to be tied down and committed to staining your deck any certain way. One way to apply stain onto your deck is by using a low-pressure pump sprayer. We hear positive results from people who use a sprayer to stain their decks from its ease of use. Best of all, if you use a sprayer and follow these directions, you can complete your deck stain project in as little as two hours.
Here’s how to do it.
Please note: Read all the manufacturer’s directions before you begin. This is a general guide to stain using a transparent or semi-transparent stain, but manufacturer directions override any discrepancies. In many cases, an Airless Sprayer or HVLP Sprayer will work with these steps and most stain brands. When spraying, wide fan tips are best. Avoid “cone” spray patterns. Some additional Deck Stain Pads, Brushes, and Tools can be found on that link.
Steps To Spray Your Deck Stain
- Mix stain thoroughly. Add stain to a paint tray and a pump sprayer. Take caution to avoid spillage and clean spills quickly.
- Start with wood railings first. If you do not have any railings, move on to #8. Cover outside surrounding areas such as concrete, grass, and shrubs with a large Poly Tarp(s). Tarp below deck if a raised deck.
- Hang a canvas tarp (9×12) 4 feet on one side, 4 feet on the opposite side, and 12 feet along the railings. The tarp is used as a backdrop for overspray.
- Apply the stain using the sprayer to one side of the railing, lifting one end of the canvas tarp. The opposite side of the canvas tarp will catch the overspray. Walk around to the opposite side and repeat this process, applying the stain on both sides. Make sure to get the outside edge of deck floor as well. Note: Keep Sprayer pressurized fully for even spray pattern
- Slide the canvas tarp down the railing and adjust the poly tarp if needed to match on the outside/below. Immediately back wipe excess stain on the section just completed that may have dripped on the floor using a brush or stain pads.
- Wipe any drips on the completed railing section using a brush or stain pad and scan the area for missed spots. Apply a second coat if needed to the top of the railings with the brush/pad. Check over the completed section for drips, missed spots, etc. before moving on to the next section of railings.
- Repeat steps 1-6 around the railings until you reach the opposite side. Check once more for drips or missed spots.
- Move on to flooring. Slowly edge out flooring (1-2 feet) that butts up to the house using a staggered line. Use a stain pad or brush for this process.
- Lightly saturate remainder of flooring using the pump sprayer. Be careful to not spray on house!
- Apply a second coat evenly to the flooring using the pad or brush. Use caution to only apply as much as the wood will take, as overapplying will lead to premature stain failure.
- If applicable, move on to stairs repeating the above steps.
- Very Important! Promptly dispose of rags and tarps by following the manufacturer’s directions. Most manufacturers suggest soaking any oily rags/tarps in water and lay flat to dry outside. Do not leave materials in tight balls or inside garages, trash cans, or homes as this could be a fire hazard if using an oil-based stain.
Have you used a low-pressure pump sprayer to stain your deck? We want to hear about your projects. Feel free to leave us any comments, questions, or feedback in the comments section below.
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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.