How to Stain a Wooden Deck

Enrich a wooden deck in just a few simple steps using deck stain.

Stained Deck With Colorful Outdoor Rug, Chairs, White Table and Toys

Black Deck With Red and Orange Patterned Rug

Materials Needed:

  • gallon of high-quality deck stain
  • broom
  • drop cloth
  • paint pad
  • paint pole
  • paint-pad tray
  • 3” paintbrush
  • painter’s tape
  • paint stirrer
  • *pressure washer for old decks

Step 1: Sweep Surface

In order to successfully stain a deck, the surface must be completely dry and clear of debris. Working on a sunny day with no forecast for rain, start by sweeping deck with broom. TIP: New decks simply need sweeping prior to staining. Old, weathered decks require pressure washing.

Step 2: Creating a Plan

Determine a starting and stopping point for easy entry onto and exit off of deck. This will eliminate any possibilities of being trapped in a corner of the deck while stain dries.

Step 3: Protect Exterior Walls

Add painter’s tape along area to where exterior wall meets top of deck. The painter’s tape will protect walls from application of stain to deck.

Protect Exterior Walls from Stain

Protect Exterior Walls from Stain

Step 4: Add Stain to Tray

Add drop cloth to area of deck intended to be stained last. Place paint-pad tray and gallon of stain on drop cloth. Stir stain using paint stirrer to ensure it's properly mixed. Pour stain into paint-pad tray.

Step 5: Attach Pole to Paint Pad

Screw paint pole into back of paint pad. Ensure tight fit for best application.

Step 6: Stain Deck With Paint Pad

Dip paint pad into tray, apply solid coat of stain to entire surface of deck. Once surface is complete, apply stain to sides of deck with paint pad. TIP: If paint pad doesn’t cover inside spaces between boards, use a 1” paintbrush for proper coverage. Allow 24 hours for stain to dry before placing furniture on deck.

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