The summer months mean lots of barbecues and time spent outside. What it also means is a lot of wear and tear on your deck.
This summer, consider updating the stain on your deck with these tips on how to prepare for deck stain and apply the stain correctly.
How to prepare a deck for stain
Before you can begin staining your deck, it’s important to thoroughly remove all debris and leaves so you have an even application. Start by removing all furniture, grills and other materials from your deck. Then, sweep the debris away with a broom, taking care to clean out the corners and crevices near the side of your home.
From there, clean the deck even further by scrubbing away any residue that is stuck to the deck. A deck cleaner will help remove dirt, nail stains, algae and mildew. If your deck isn’t brand new, you should use a cleaner before staining. One of the most common reasons deck stains or sealers fail is because of a lack of preparation. It’s important to not skimp on this step! Use a paint roller with an extension handle, a garden sprayer or a stiff-bristled push broom to apply the cleaner to the entire deck. Don’t let the cleaner puddle in any area, and scrub the areas that have heavy residue.
Tip: Some cleaners require the surface to be damp before applying, while others require the surface to be dry. Make sure you read the product label and instructions thoroughly before beginning! We recommend using a TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) cleaner!
Allow the cleaner to soak into the wood, which should take roughly 10 minutes. Then, rinse the deck thoroughly with a hose or pressure washer. Then, allow the deck to dry for at least 72 hours before applying the stain.
Tip: Wear safety goggles, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants when applying cleaner and stain. Don’t wear sandals or open-toed shoes.
How to apply a deck stain
When applying a deck stain, always start by reading the manufacturer’s directions. Drying times differ based on factors like temperature, humidity and light access.
Tip: Don’t apply a deck stain in direct sun. The finish will dry too quickly and won’t absorb into the wood.
Before you begin, check the weather to find at least 72 hours of dry weather with temperatures between 50°F and 90°F.
Sweep the deck one more time and ensure no debris or residue has formed over the last two days. Make sure the deck is completely dry before beginning. It’s important to also protect your home and plants prior to beginning your staining project. Wet any surrounding plants and shrubs, and cover them with plastic sheeting to protect them. Additionally, cover your siding with plastic or paper.
Once you’re ready to begin staining, thoroughly stir the stain with a paint stirrer. Avoid shaking the stain as it will cause bubbles to form in the finish. Next, apply a thin, even coat of stain over a two to three-board section with a paint roller with an extension handle, or a sprayer if you feel comfortable using a sprayer. Two thin coats are better than one thick coat that doesn’t apply properly.
Tip: Don’t allow the stain to puddle up. To combat puddling, have an extra person come in behind you and spread puddles with a large deck brush, which helps the stain penetrate the wood. We call this process back brushing.
Repeat the process until the entire deck is covered. Use a paint brush to apply the stain on the deck railings, steps and corners.
A second coat of stain will only be needed if the manufacturer instructions strictly state it.
Finally, rinse the plastic covering the plants with a hose and remove it. Then, allow the deck to completely dry before adding the furniture and other materials back to your deck.
At James T. Davis, we’re always here to help. For resources on staining your deck, or to shop our collection of stain, get in touch with us today.