Prior to staining your deck, the deck should be cleared of the following to determine whether any repairs are needed:
- Furniture and plants – removing plants ensures that they are not harmed by any chemicals used when staining the deck.
- Debris – use a soft or hard bristle brush depending on what your deck needs.
Once you have removed furniture, plants and debris, you will be able to inspect the space for mould and other imperfections: such as warped or broken pieces of wood, and broken screws. A clear space will also allow you to flatten any nails that are not flush against the deck.
Cleaning your deck thoroughly and correctly is one of the most important steps when staining your deck. A well cleaned deck allows for the stain to soak in and properly cure.
Here’s how to clean your deck:
- Remove all loose debris, leaves and dirt using either a soft or stronger bristled broom depending on the level of cleaning required.
- Following the instructions on the deck cleaner and using a measuring cup, mix the correct amount of deck cleaner into a bucket of water.
- After dipping your deck scrub broom in the cleaning mixture, thoroughly scrub the whole deck. Leave the cleaning mixture for 10-20 minutes. Remember to wear closed shoes, gloves and a mask when scrubbing the deck.
- Rinse the cleaning mixture from the deck. Leave the deck to dry.
For decks with particularly stubborn stains, it’s best to call in the professionals: as harsher methods like pressure washers may cause damage if used incorrectly.
Before you can finally begin the staining process, make sure you have checked the following tasks off your list:
- Take an offcut of your decking timber with you into the store to get a realistic idea of how a deck stain colour will look when applied.
- Use masking tape to cover any areas you do not want to stain. Remember to also cover areas (such as concrete and the edge of the deck where it meets your house) from which stain cannot be removed.
- Give the stain a thorough stir to ensure an even application.
Let the fun part begin! Start by ‘cutting in’ the edges and corners of the deck with a brush. This avoids a sloppy application of the deck stain. Blend the stain as you go and remember to use long brush strokes.
Using the correct applicator to stain the large portions of the deck is essential to making sure your deck looks polished when finished. Here’s a list of the applicators that you can use, as well as the pros and cons of each.
Deck Stain Mop
- Pros: easiest method, quick application, minimal stain wastage
- Cons: unable to stain hard-to-reach areas
Wood Stain Brushes
- Pros: allows stain to penetrate deep into the wood, not expensive, least amount of stain wastage
- Cons: slow application, paint brush bristles may shed and get caught in stain
- Pros: quick application, minimal stain wastage
- Cons: holds less stain in comparison to stain mops, unable to stain hard-to-reach areas
Deck Stain Sprayers
- Pros: quick application of stain, can stain the deck in hard-to-reach areas
- Cons: difficult to get an even application, overspray is common, expensive, wastes the most amount of stain
The best way to stain the remainder of your deck is by using long and even strokes, making sure to blend as you go and back brushing to help the deck stain absorb more evenly. Remember to not paint yourself into a corner and leave the deck stain to fully dry for 24-48 hours (depending on weather, deck and wood type).
Congratulations! You have successfully stained your deck. Once the deck is fully dry, replace any items such as furniture, plants and appliances removed prior to staining. Remember to take care of your wood and perform routine annual deck maintenance—which can also be done with the help of professionals. This will guarantee you a long lasting and beautiful deck stain.