What is Deck Staining?

Deck Staining prevents moisture from soaking into wood. Moisture-soaked wood can become prone to mildew or mold and may soften.

Stain also offers a more natural look than paint because it allows some of the wood grain to show. However, it isn’t as effective at hiding imperfections.

A trusted professional will explain your choices and provide specialized advice. Stain should be applied on a warm dry day.

What is Deck Staining?

The process of staining your deck involves covering the surface of the wood with a liquid (usually possessing a tint) that protects the deck from the sun. It’s a relatively easy and inexpensive project that can be accomplished by any homeowner, and can prolong the life of your deck and enhance your outdoor living space.

Staining a deck can add color and beauty to your outdoor living space, and allows the wood’s natural color and texture to show through. You can choose from a variety of colors and finishes — from clear to semi-transparent to solid-color stains — depending on the look you’re after.

It’s a good idea to do a test before you start staining your deck. Find a piece of wood that’s the same color as your deck and apply a thin coat of the stain to see how it looks and how much color you’ll need to achieve the desired appearance. Once the stain is dry, you can compare it to the test piece you’ve used and decide whether or not to reapply a second coat and/or to make any additional changes.

If you choose to stain your deck, the first step is to sweep and hose down the surface, then scrub it with a store-bought or homemade deck cleaner, repair any loose boards and lightly sand the rough spots, if needed. The sanding helps the new stain to be absorbed and minimizes lap marks in the finished product. Always follow the instructions on the stain can. Some stains suggest you don’t need to sand the surface but do read carefully because some products want the deck to be sanded before applying the stain.

Once you’ve swept the deck, you should work in the shade during the coolest part of the day to maintain a wet edge and avoid getting yourself stuck in the middle of an area. Begin on one end of the deck and move toward the other so you can check the progress as you go. It’s better to make mistakes in areas that are least visible than to have a patchwork effect over the entire deck.


As a homeowner, you have many options to protect your deck from weathering and aging. Staining is one of them, and it can be done in a variety of ways. It is important to know what type of stain you want before you begin the project, because different types offer specific protection. Depending on your needs, you may want to choose a solid color stain that hides imperfections in the wood, or a semi-transparent stain that will allow the natural beauty of the deck to shine through.

To prepare a deck for staining, the first step is to clean it thoroughly with a deck cleaner that is compatible with your particular brand of stain. Once you have cleaned the deck, it is important to allow it to dry completely before staining. This usually takes 1-2 days, but can vary depending on your location and the wood species used in your deck.

Once your deck is clean, sand the surface with 80-grit sandpaper to eliminate any rough spots and create a smooth finish. This will help the new stain penetrate into the wood pores. It is important to sand the surface before staining to avoid peeling in the future.

Before you apply any stain, read the product label and technical data sheet carefully to ensure that you are using the correct amount and method for your deck. It is also a good idea to test the stain in an inconspicuous area. This will ensure that you get the right color and consistency. If you are going to apply more than one coat, it is a good idea to let the first coat dry for at least twenty-four hours before applying the second.

During this time, it is important to keep people and pets away from the deck so that the stain can fully absorb and cure. Otherwise, they could walk through the wet stain and leave marks on the furniture or carpeting in your home.

When staining your deck, it is important to use a paint brush and not a roller or sprayer. This is because a paint brush works the stain deeper into the pores of the wood, while a roller or sprayer will only lay on top of the surface. If you must use a roller or sprayer, always remember to back-brush. This will work the stain into the pores of the board and provide much better results than a smooth, slap-dash application.


When you’re ready to begin staining your deck, it is important to plan ahead. Lay down drop cloths to protect surfaces you don’t want stained, and cover any plants or furniture. Put on a face mask to avoid splinters and a cloud of stain in your face! Work in small sections, starting at the house and working your way outward. That way, you’ll be able to exit the deck before the stain dries. If you’re using a sprayer, be sure to read the instructions carefully. The type of roller you use is important, too. Look for a thicker, more sturdy foam that won’t break apart easily. It’s better than a fluffier roller, which can snag on splinters and leave pools of stain that don’t soak in.

Applying stain isn’t a hard job, but you do need to be patient and thorough. Unlike paint, which has a thicker consistency, stain has more of a watery consistency, so it can drip and splatter if you go too quickly. It’s also important to test your colors on a scrap piece of wood and allow the stain to dry completely before applying it to your deck.

Deck stain is designed to protect your deck from moisture and rot, so it doesn’t need to be reapplied as often as paint. However, it’s a good idea to stain your deck every couple years to refresh its color and protect the wood from sun damage.

If you have a pressure-treated deck, staining it will help keep splinters at bay and prevent the wood from becoming soft. It also helps to protect the wood from fading and aging, making it last longer than untreated lumber.

Before you stain, sand the surface of the deck with medium-grit sandpaper and sweep away any debris. It’s important to choose a day with overcast, cool weather for application; direct sunlight can make the stain dry too fast to fully absorb into the wood. It’s also a good idea to check the forecast-don’t stain if rain is expected in the next 12-24 hours. It’s best to apply a light coat of stain first, and then follow up with a darker coating if needed.


Staining a deck protects it from weather and reconditions the wood, preventing cracks, peeling, splinters and other damage. It’s important to re-stain a deck every two or three years. A good quality stain can last up to a decade or more, depending on the location and weather conditions. Stains are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes to suit any taste. The experts at McCray Lumber and Millwork can help you choose the right stain for your home.

To prepare for the staining process, sweep the deck thoroughly and remove any debris such as small branches or leaves. Then wash the deck with a pressure washer, using the lowest setting possible to avoid damaging the wood. Allow the deck to dry completely before re-staining. It’s a good idea to work on a day with clear skies and mild temperatures. Direct sun dries the stain too quickly, which can cause uneven color or brush marks.

Before applying any stain, always read the label and follow all instructions. Some stains require two coats and need to be applied within a certain time frame. A good stain will penetrate the wood grain to seal it and prevent moisture from penetrating the boards and causing rot. It will also protect the deck from sun, wind and other weather extremes.

Once the deck is clean and ready for staining, you should sand it down with a pole sander using 80-grit paper to open the fibers so the stain can be absorbed. Most people skip this step but it is essential to a good result. Wood sheen, which is a constriction of the wood fibers and can happen as the deck ages, also needs to be removed with a power sander before staining.

It’s also a good idea to do a test sample on an inconspicuous area of the deck to determine if it is absorbent and what kind of finish you like. It’s best to use an oil-based stain since it will penetrate the wood better and last longer than a water-based stain. Some water-based stains are now made to perform similar to an oil stain, but you will want to do your research before choosing a type.

Deck Staining prevents moisture from soaking into wood. Moisture-soaked wood can become prone to mildew or mold and may soften. Stain also offers a more natural look than paint because it allows some of the wood grain to show. However, it isn’t as effective at hiding imperfections. A trusted professional will explain your choices and…