This post was updated on January 16, 2024
How to Stain All Sides of Deck Board?
DeckStainHelp.com has become the Internet’s go-to resource for all things exterior wood surface restoration-related. As before, we recommend you reconsider how important it is to stain all sides of the deck board, as it can be an unnecessary hassle and can create issues with dry rot. We encourage customer interaction on our site, so feel free to leave us a comment below and include pictures of your project.
Do You Need to Stain All 4 Sides of Deck Boards?
Many people have asked whether or not it is necessary to stain all 4 sides of deck boards. To answer this question let’s first take a look at why deck boards need to be stained at all.
When wood is exposed to the elements it can go through all sorts of changes. Wood is very absorbent by nature so whenever it gets wet it soaks up the moisture. This creates the wood to swell. As the wood dries it shrinks back to normal size. This repetitive swelling and shrinking begin to damage the wood causing cracks, splinters, and warping.
Furthermore, when the horizontal surfaces of a deck like the top handrails and decking are exposed to harsh UV rays the wood begins to turn gray. The top surface of wood fibers are actually being damaged and becomes soft. Prolonged exposure to the sun without protection will also start to break down the wood and cause permanent damage.
This is why it is important to provide the wood with weather protection by coating it with a deck stain. As far as staining all 4 sides of deck boards it really depends on personal preference. Obviously, the bottom sides of deck boards are not going to be exposed to UV rays. Most of the time the undersides of boards are also not going to get wet from rain or other means.
The issue with staining all 4 sides of deck boards is that it becomes more trouble than it is worth. Once the deck boards are in place and have dried out for a few months the exposed sides of the decking should be stained as well as the gaps in between each board. So essentially, 3 sides of each deck board are being protected. Most experts do not find it necessary to stain the bottom sides of the deck boards.
In some instances, staining the bottom sides of deck boards may be done simply for appearance. An elevated deck, for example, would have a more exposed bottom side and for aesthetic purposes could be stained but certainly is not necessary. Another issue with staining all 4 sides of deck boards is time and cost. To stain the bottom sides of deck boards can be very labor-intensive and it will double the amount of stain you have to purchase.
In summing up, it is not necessary to stain all 4 sides of deck boards. But you definitely want to stain all the exposed wood like the top and sides of each board to reduce weather damage.
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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.