Staining your decking depends on the tools you use and the end goal you need. In this guide, you can learn about the various ways to apply stain and ensure that the final appearance is as desired.

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Can you stain decking straight away?

As much as you would like to make your decking look as fresh as possible, it’s wise to leave the decking to weather naturally. Preferably for a few months. This is because typically the wood will have been treated prior to the installation. In this case, you will need to allow the existing treatment to erode away as this will ensure the surface allows the stain to stick properly to the deck for a better and longer-lasting finish.

If, however, your decking hasn’t been treated prior to installation or has been down for at least half a year without previous staining or painting work, follow the steps here.

How should you stain a deck?

The way you stain your deck will depend on the type of decking stain as well as the protection you want for your decking. One thing to consider if you do want increased cover on your deck is getting a decking protector. A decking protector can:

  • Reduce damage from foot traffic
  • Protect the deck from sunlight
  • Protect the deck from rain

A decking protector is also typically translucent. So you can continue to enjoy the wooden appearance of the decking without compromising the look.

It’s also worth noting stains aren’t a one-time application. You will need to regularly reapply the stain to keep up the appearance. Check manufacturer instructions to see how long the stain can last and when you’ll need to re-treat.

How do you apply deck stain?

Different tools can be used to apply a decking stain. You can choose a combination or even all three. It will depend on whether you want the job done quickly and whether the deck stain works with the tools you choose.

The following tools you can use to apply stain to a deck are:

Brushes: Ideal for those smaller spaces, gaps and general areas that are too small to even attempt to cover using a larger tool. If you choose to work with this tool alone, it can take a long time to finish covering the decking.

Rollers: These are designed for quicker application and to cover large areas of the deck in a shorter span of time. They can also have extenders added so you needn’t have to bend down or extend your body as much when covering the space.

Paint pad: A paint pad is like a roller and can be used on smooth decking or even grooved decking.

Paint sprayer: A paint sprayer is considered the most efficient solution when it comes to staining a deck as they can use less of the product; in a shorter time.

How to stain a deck

Staining a deck varies depending on the type of deck stain products. You will need to reach the instructions to ensure you have the right tools to apply it correctly.

Using a brush

Step one: Clear and clean the deck. You can find out how to clean your decking here. If you have already cleared your decking, cleaned it and left it to dry then proceed with step two.

Step two: Open the deck stain and stir it thoroughly beforehand to ensure the colour is even when applied. Test it on part of the deck, preferably an area that will be unseen, to see how it will look when dried.

Note: Do not shake the container as the bubbles can form once applied.

Step three: Make sure you have an exit way from the decorating, and begin to apply the decking stain from the furthest corner and edges. Make sure to work along the length of the boards; especially if they are ridged. Cover a few boards each time; only apply what the wood can absorb without issue.

Step four: Leave the deck stain to dry and, if needed, apply more coats to the decking. Once that’s completed, you’ll need to then remove the product from the brush with warm water.

Using a roller or paint pad

Step one: see here.

Step two: see here.

Step three: Make sure you have an exit way from the deck, then dip the roller in the tray or container holding the stain product. Twist the roller while it is in the container or tray to allow the excess stain to fall off the roller.

Step four: Begin to apply the stain and make sure to turn it as you go. For an even appearance, go over the stain again. Apply along the length of the boards, covering a few at a time from one end to the other of each deck board.

Note: for smaller areas, tight spaces etc, switch to a brush to ensure you can cover those spaces.

Step five: If needed, apply more stain coats then leave to dry. Any leftover stain in an external tray or container can be poured back into the original container if it has been transferred for the staining process.

Using a paint sprayer

Step one: see here.

Step two: Cover any items or objects that can’t be moved or are close to the decking space. Sprayers are more likely to go overboard when covering the deck, so covering the at-risk areas accordingly.

Step three: Ensure you have a path to the exit and hold the sprayer at least 20cm from the ground for an even appearance throughout the deck.  When filling the tank, angle the sprayer pick-up tube in the pot to the bottom of the container. This can help reduce the number of refills needed during application.

Note: make sure to move the sprayer quickly or apply a lighter stain layer with a reduced flow dial to avoid stain sagging or running.

Step four: see here.

Step five: see here.

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