Steps to Staining Your Deck

As the weather warms up and the sun stays out longer, our focus inevitably shifts from our inside living spaces to our outside ones. Staining your deck not only protects it from the elements, but it also gives it a visual facelift. Here’s how to get the job done quickly and effectively in eight hours.

Clear the Decks

You don’t want to ruin expensive outdoor furnishing with a wayward spray of deck stain, so make sure all tables, chairs, plants, and accessories are safely away from the treatment area.

Sands of Time

Replacing popped-up nails with deck screws and sanding down the boards with a palm sander will give you the best results.  When sanding, make sure you go with the grain and absolutely wear a safety mask and glasses.

Clean Sweep

Sweep away leaves and debris before sanding, but also make sure you go over it again afterward to remove sawdust and get all the gunk out of the cracks.  You don’t want dust particles messing up that final finish.


Make sure you cover siding that you don’t want stained, with paper or plastic.  And don’t forget to also protect the plants and shrubs that surround your deck, by wetting them and covering them up with clear plastic sheeting.

Rain or Shine

Most wood stains or finishes require a completely dry deck with multiple no-rain days before application, but if the weather isn’t cooperating, you can use Behr Premium Quick Dry Oil Base Wood Finish directly on damp decking as long as any standing water has dried up.

Shaken or Stirred

When working with a stain or wood finish, check the product’s instructions to see if the formula needs to be shaken or stirred before use.  If the opposite is done, either the stain won’t mix properly leading to an uneven look or bubbles can form and be visible when the product dries.

Crash Pad

The type of application you use on decking depends on the stain you’ve chosen.  For semi-transparent or transparent coatings, use a stain pad with an extension pole.  A long-handled roller is ideal for solid color stains or resurfacers, while a lambswool applicator is the best way to go if using an oil-based wood finish (although an interior stain pad for floors is a good substitute.)

Paint the Town

When it comes to corners, ends, railings or cracks, put down the roller and pick up a paintbrush.  A brush gives you more control in tighter spaces that require higher precision.

Drying Cycle

Remove the plastic covers from plants, planters, and furniture and allow decking to dry completely.  Confirm drying time with the product’s instructions before moving the furniture back.  Party On!