A How to Guide to Properly Staining a Deck

A deck is a great addition to the exterior of any home, but like any other room or fixture in a home, a deck requires proper maintenance. Decks withstand a lot of damage from the weather and regular daily foot traffic. To ensure your deck maintains its beauty, it is important to protect it using a deck stain. Deck stains enhance the surface of your wood by giving it a protective coating which keeps it from being damaged. There are certain things a homeowner should do before staining a deck. This includes preparing the surface, testing the surface, and cleaning it.

Preparing the Surface

Before applying your stain, you have to prepare the surface of your deck. This ensures that the wood is dry and free of dirt before application. Prepare the surface of your deck by cleaning it of any stains, dirt or debris. You can clean the surface of your deck by using wood cleaning products like Cabot® Problem Solver™ Wood Cleaner. After using the wood cleaner to clean your deck, rinse it with water and allow the wood to dry for three or three days.

Choosing the Right Stain

There are many different types of stains you can use on your deck, ranging in different colors and opacities.

Wood Toned & Clear Stains

These stains are typically either very lightly tinted or transparent, allowing the texture of the wood to show through while protecting it at the same time.

Semi-Transparent Stains

Semi-transparent stains are lighter in color and enrich the natural grain of wood. These types of stains are lightly pigmented and help accentuate the wood’s texture and surface while also protecting it.

Semi-Solid Stains

Semi-solid stains offer subtle but rich colors. Although these types of stains offer greater opacity, they do allow some of the natural texture of wood to show through.

Solid Stains

Solid stains offer an opaque finish that is rich in color and hides most of the texture of the wood. If you are considering a solid stain, we recommend Cabot O.V.T. Solid Color Stain, which provides a long-lasting finish and superior protection.

Applying the Stain

  1. Prepare your deck by cleaning it and removing any furniture or debris.
  2. Sand any splintered areas with a pole sander and replace or repair any boards which are damaged.
  3. After preparing your deck, coat the open end-grain of each board.
  4. Brush 2 to 3 boards at a time. When brushing the boards, brush them from end to end in long and smooth strokes.
  5. Use a paintbrush to apply the stain in hard-to-reach areas like corners, steps, or railings.
  6. Let the deck dry for 24 hours

Helpful Tips

  • When you apply your stain, apply it at temperatures which are between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Do not apply a stain in direct sunlight.
  • Do not apply a stain if it will rain within 24 hours.
  • Always test out your stain on a small area first.
  • Do not over apply. Over applying can cause the stain to peel or crack.
  • Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer
  • Perform routine maintenance on your deck to avoid cracking or peeling.