How To Stain a Deck

The easiest and most aesthetically pleasing way to protect and extend the life of your deck is to stain it. This simple to follow How-To will take you through all the steps you need to take that tired looking deck to magazine-shoot ready. Let's go!

Skill
Beginner
Time
Few Hours
Cost
Less Than $500

What You Need for This Project

Deck Staining Step-By-Step

  1. 1

    Easy Test Before you Start

    To test your deck's ability to deter water absorbance, perform a simple water test by putting a small amount of water in a few areas of the deck. If after a couple minutes the water soaks in, the wood is ready to be stained. If the water is repelled and just lays on the surface, your sealer is still working and you would need to strip and sand prior to restaining.

  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Clean Your Deck

    It's important to remove all dirt and contaminants from the surface of the wood to ensure stain penetration and maximum durability. Cleaning the deck prior to staining is critical for a beautiful long-lasting finish.

  2. Steps:

  1. 3

    To Sand or Not to Sand?

    If the wood has never been coated previously, it is always good practice to sand the surface. This ensures the stain will properly soak into the wood and have a nice uniform finish. If you have previously stained your deck, you can place a piece of tape on the deck and see if wood fibres pull off onto the tape. If that happens then it is time to sand again.

  2. Steps:

  1. 4

    Apply the Stain

    The best method to apply stain is by brush. This ensures that the stain is applied evenly and has a nice uniform finish. If you choose to roll or spray, always make sure you back-brush.

  2. Steps:

  1. 5

    Pro-Level Tips

    It's not all about slapping on the stain. There are steps you should take to ensure the end result is the best looking deck possible. Check out this video to help you define your staining strategy.  

  2. Steps:

Other Questions

HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO RESTAIN MY SOLID COLOUR STAIN?

Solid stain is much easier to recoat, as there is not a minimum recoat time like there is with clear, toner and semi-transparent stains. You can recoat at any time to freshen up or change the colour of your solid stain with a simple cleaning and recoating of the same product.


IF I WANT TO ENSURE THAT I HAVE THE BEST LONG-LASTING FINISH, WHAT STEPS SHOULD I TAKE?

To ensure that you have the best-looking deck, it's recommended that you take the following steps:

  1.  Strip off any old stain that may be on the wood.
  2.  Clean with a deck cleaner and sand the surface to remove any loose wood fibres and contamination; ensure that the new coating soaks in evenly.
  3.  Pick the finish that you want and apply accordingly.


HOW MANY COATS OF STAIN SHOULD I APPLY?

That depends upon what type of stain you are using. Clear, toner, and semi-transparent stains only require one thin coat applied. Solid colours require two coats for optimum durability.

Ready To Go?

Now that you know everything there is to know about staining your deck, and you're ready to revitalize it back to how it was when it was first installed, we have everything you need to do just that. Our in-store pros are also at your disposal if you have any questions beyond this deck staining how-to guide. What type of stain do you need? What works best with your type of deck? Feel free to come in and ask because we are here to help.

How to Terms

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.

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