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8 Deck Staining Tips You Need to Know

Is there anything more satisfying than the look of a brand new, even-colored wooden deck? As a homeowner, an outdoor deck is a great way to add value to your home, but if your deck is looking tired, old, and worn down, it could also detract from its value. If you can’t bear to look at the old, faded, and stained wood of your outdoor deck any longer, it’s high time for a thorough deck clean and stain. And yes, this task can be DIY’d — all you need is a little time, patience, the right equipment, as well as a few handy deck staining tips which you can find in the rest of this blog.

Tip #1: Take Your Time With Deck Staining

It’s important to remember that deck rejuvenating requires time and patience. You don’t want to rush through any of the steps, so take your time for the best deck cleaning and staining results.

First thing’s first, wait until the weather forecast is in your favor when you plan to clean, strip, and stain your deck. If you plan on replacing sections of your deck, make sure you allow pressure-treated lumber to weather before you stain it.

When using a stain stripper, you want to allow enough time for the stain to break down the old finish from the lumber. Only then should you rinse it off. Take it slow when applying overspray, this will help you to avoid spills and splashes on other surfaces.

Tip #2: Preparation Is Everything

If you want your deck to look as good as new, the key is in your preparation. Before you begin your wood staining, your deck must be thoroughly cleaned — even if your deck is still new.

Bear in mind that even brand new lumbar needs to be cleaned — this is to remove mill scale that can prevent wood stains from penetrating the wood.

When cleaning older wood that has gone grey, is stained, or has mildew, stick to sodium percarbonate wood cleaners, also called oxygen bleach cleaners. However, if your deck has a large build-up of stains, you want to go for a stain stripper. But beware of their caustic nature and make sure to follow the directions.

For stubborn stains that won’t lift off your deck, you’ll need to invest in a palm sander to lightly buff off the stains. If you fail to remove all dirt and stains from your deck for sealing it, this will show up in the end product so put some time into your deck preparation!

Tip #3: Don’t Skip the Wood Brightening Step

Unfortunately, this step is often overlooked during the DIY deck staining process. But using a brightening product can make all the difference in your final results.

Invest in a good quality wood brightener as it helps to open up the pores in your wood, which improves the penetration of your deck stain. Wood brighteners also help to neutralize any effects of stain strippers, while restoring the look of old, weathered wood.

Wood brighteners are super simple to use — spray it onto your wood, wait for a few minutes, and rinse. There’s no excuse not to use this product.

Tip #4: Always Rinse Thoroughly

As a general rule-of-thumb, you should always rinse off your deck more than you think you need to! The last thing you want is a build-up of the product(s) clinging to your deck when you apply your wood stain.

This can have a great impact on the end result and even prevent the stain from penetrating the wood at all.

Tip #5: Don’t Use Cheap Products

When it comes to deck staining, cheap products will show up in the end result. There’s no other way to put it — your deck stain will look cheap because it is!

Keep in mind that you always get what you pay for with most things in life, and deck staining products are no different. Better quality ingredients are going to cost a little more, but this will guarantee brilliant results and a deck stain that lasts far longer.

Consider the quality of the resin, pigment, and mildewcide inside the wood stain that you choose.

Tip #6: Opt for a Water-Based Wood Stain

One of the best deck staining choices you can make is a water-based deck stain. Due to air quality regulations, manufacturers have improved their products over the years, with water-based stains becoming quite popular.

As a result, these types of stains are often the better choice based on durability, when compared to oil-based counterparts. A water-based stain is also easier to clean with basic soap and water. It contains no solvents and offers better resistance to weathering.

Another bonus is that you can also apply the stain without the wood needing to be completely dry first. Some water-based wood stains are also synthetic — meaning they are far more resistant to mold and mildew growth.

Tip #7: Less Is More

It’s best to opt for a semi-solid wood stain if your deck is on the older side. If your deck is really worn down, then a solid wood stain may be best.

The reason why a semi-solid wood stain is sometimes the better choice is that it allows the wood grain to show through, and allows it to breathe naturally. Semi-solid stains are also easy to clean and reapply.

But what’s most important to remember is that less is more when it comes to the number of stain coats you apply. Pay close attention to the directions, and don’t over-apply the product. The end-product may look beautiful at the start but will begin to peel off over time when applied too heavily.

Tip #8: Don’t Forgo the Trusty Paintbrush

While there are a number of different ways of applying a deck stain, the paintbrush is probably your best option. Sure, you can use a pump garden sprayer or a long-handled roller for part of the application, but always keep a paintbrush at the ready.

Using a paintbrush ensures that the wood stains really get into the pores of your wood. This is due to the friction caused between the paintbrush and the wood, encouraging the wood to absorb it better.

If you choose to spray your wood stain on it, you may want to go over it with a paintbrush to ensure maximum penetration.

Bring Your Deck Back To Life With Deck Doc

If you’re looking for professional deck staining services in the Cook, Lake, DuPage, and McHenry County areas, then Deck Doc is your go-to. With over two decades of industry experience, we are well-versed in reviving even the most tired, weathered, and worn decks.

For more on our staining, sealing, repair, and cleaning services check out this page. Otherwise, get in touch with our team for a professional opinion on your deck staining needs.