How to Properly Maintain and Stain a Wood Deck

A deck is a huge investment for any home owner. 

Making sure it stays clean and protected will insure it has a long life. With the proper cleanup, prep and application of stain you can avoid costly repairs and regular degradation that many wood deck owners experience.  Once completed you can restore your old deck or further protect a newer deck.  Taking this time on a routine basis will have you dodging the need for major repairs, leaving it protected from weather and allowing the natural look of wood to shine through.

Be sure to take advantage of our annual exterior stain sales that starts this Friday, 6/22/2019 and runs through 7/15/2019. You can save up to 40% when purchasing during this time period.

CLICK HERE for 2019 Exterior Stain Sale Info!

The following is a general “how to” on exterior wood staining. As with any specialized product please consult the can, manufacturer’s website or our paint specialist for specific instructions for your brand of stain before proceeding.

Prep and Cleaning

This is the most important part of staining your deck.  Do it correctly and be patient with drying and you will be rewarded with an easy staining experience.

Clear your deck of all your potted plants, outdoor furniture and other obstacles on your deck. Blow off or sweep the deck clean of any debris, leaves and dirt.  Cover all perimeter plants and shrubs located around the deck with painter’s plastic or drop clothes.

Once fully cleaned, check the deck boards that may need to be replaced. Deck boards that are rotten, severely warped or have large splits should be replaced.  Look for nails that may have raised up and use larger nails to re-secure the boards. Minor splits can be sanded down using an orbital sander to smooth the surface.  Check you gaps between boards for buildup of old leaves, pine needles and dirt removing with a flat plastic putty knife or straight edge. Re-sweep the deck and hose the surface down to remove any stubborn debris.

Suit up with protective gloves, old clothing and safety glasses. When working with chemical cleaners follow the manufacturer’s directions. If applicable apply a wood cleaner by the same brand of stain and follow manufacturer’s directions. With most cleaners do not let the solution dry.  Agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff brush for 10 minutes and rinse off with water. Allow deck to fully dry.

Once cleaned we’ll bring the color of the deck back. Wood brighteners will do just that. Put back on your protective gear and make sure your garden sprayer is cleaned of any previous chemicals. Use it to apply the wood brightener in the same way as the cleaner. Don’t let the solution dry and agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff brush for 10 -15 minutes, then rinse off with water.

Rinse off the plastic you used to protect the surrounding plants and store away for use when staining.

Allow deck to dry fully for at least three days before moving on to staining.

Staining the Deck

If you don’t have a favorite stain and color there are many to choose from. We advise getting some advice in our stores from one of our paint specialists for your specific wood deck and environment.  Take advantage of our annual exterior stain sales that starts 6/22/2019 and runs through 7/15/2019. It will undoubtedly save yourself some needed cash and allow for some new deck accessories.

Cover any plants in the area to protect them from splattering stain.

Stir the stain thoroughly and pour the stain into a paint tray. Apply stain following manufacturers directions usually with a paint roller attached to a long handle rolling it in the direction of the boards or by brush making sure the stain does not puddle or pool.

With a paint brush get all the ends of the boards stained and allow the deck to fully dry.  Sometimes manufacturers desire you to repeat this process utilizing multiple thin coats rather than a single heavy coat but check your can for specifics.

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Our most popular exterior stain brands. Click above for manufacturer website links.

Once you have completed the process inspect the deck fully for any areas you might have missed, paying attention to the ends of boards, stairs, railings or other attached wood structures.

Now is the fun part!  Remove the plastic protecting the plants, return your outdoor furniture to its place and start planning that summer bar-b-que to show off your hard work!

Consult your stain can for specifics, but if you keep clean and stain your deck as instructed you will have a deck that will stay protected, looking new and have a long life.

Have questions? Come in and ask to talk with one of our paint & stain specialists or give us a call.  We’re happy to help!

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