Small Upgrades: How to Stain a Wooden Deck

How to stain a deck
Photo Credit: Austin Outdoor Design

It’s one of the home-improvement things that’s been on your to-do list since you moved into your house: Staining your deck. You’ve put it off and put it off, but finally, the time is now, before winter hits in full force! Staining your deck will make a huge difference on the look of your outdoor space and you can enjoy it over Thanksgiving as you’re cooking your turkey on the grill and playing cornhole with the kids.

How to stain a wooden deck starts here…with the ingredients!

  • gallon of high-quality deck stain
  • broom
  • drop cloth
  • paint pad
  • paint pole
  • paint-pad tray
  • 3-inch paintbrush
  • painter’s tape
  • paint stirrer
  • pressure washer (for an old deck…if you have a newbie, you should be good to go)

Pick the right day
Naturally, you know not to stain a deck on a rainy day, but juuuust in case you need a reminder—it should be ZERO percent chance of rain. Not that you start all your hard work and then you get a mid-afternoon shower. 

Clean up
Sweep or pressure-wash your deck to remove any and all debris—sticks, stones, dirt, you name it.

Decide where to start
You don’t want to back yourself in a corner and have to walk across your newly stained deck to get inside your home, so create a plan of action on how you’re going to tackle this project. It may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised 🙂

Protect your walls
You want to stain your deck, not your walls. So be sure to put up some painter’s tape wherever the deck and your home’s walls meet. Guess what? You’re halfway there already! Woohoo!

Get yer paint prepped!
Next up—put down a drop cloth to protect your deck and add your high-quality deck stain to a paint tray. Note: Make sure the stain is well mixed (use that paint stirrer!) before pouring it into the paint tray. Then, attach your pole to the end of the paint pad and make sure it’s tight.

The final step
Staining your deck, of course! Dunk your handy paint pad into the stain on your tray and start staining. As you go over all of your deck areas, make sure that the stain covers the spaces between your wooden deck’s boards (or you’ll see the light wood peek out from under the beautifully stained new deck). For this, use your paintbrush—you’ve got to lean in! Do this as you go and don’t leave it until the end when the deck is all wet. Allow  24 hours before walking or placing anything on the surface. And now you know how to stain a wooden deck. Bravo!

Have a home-improvement renovation question? Post a comment and we’ll get right back to you!

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