5 Common DIY Deck Staining FAQs

A woman is DIY painting a wooden deck using a paint brush.

Interested in staining your deck? Staining or re-staining a deck is a great way to protect your deck from the elements, enhance the natural appearance of the wood, and ensure that your decking lasts for years to come.

However, if you’ve never stained your deck before, you may not be sure where to start when it comes to DIY deck staining. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the most common deck staining FAQs. If you’re thinking about staining your deck, read on and learn with us.

  1. Do I Need To Power Wash My Deck Before I Stain It?

Unless your deck has just been installed and still has not been stained or sealed, the answer is yes. Pressure washers use high-psi jets of water to blast away mold, mildew, oil, dirt, and previous deck stain/paint jobs.

A pressure washer can usually be rented from your local hardware store for around $50-$100 per day, depending on the model. It’s also a good idea to invest in a wood cleaning mixture or a chemical detergent, which you can add to the pressure washer.

Care must be taken when power washing a deck. You want to use a power washer of 1500 PSI or less, and you will want to use a wide-angled tip to ensure that you don’t damage the wood. In addition, you should keep 18-24 inches of space between the tip of the pressure washer, and the wood deck material.

Make sure to wear eye and ear protection while pressure washing, as debris can be kicked up by the nozzle, and the power washer motor may be quite loud.

  1. How Many Layers Of Deck Stain Do I Need?
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 Typically, 2 layers of semi transparent deck stain are applied to most wood decks. The exception is wood decks made out of mahogany or other extremely dense hardwood. Hardwoods are very non-porous, and may not be able to absorb more than a single coat of deck stain.

Also, if you are using a very thick, paint-like stain, you may only need to apply one layer of deck stain. Read and follow the instructions on your staining product.

  1. Do I Need To Seal My Deck After Staining?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to seal your deck after staining. Sealers are transparent compounds usually made of polyurethane, and are typically used to seal woods like cedar that have a beautiful natural color, and do not require staining.

If you seal your deck after staining, you may run into a few issues. The sealant will last about 5 years.

This is a problem if you are staining your deck. Most lightweight, transparent stains require re-application after 1 or 2 years, and thicker stains may need to be reapplied after about 4 years. A sealant can actually prevent the stain from adhering properly to the wood, leading to poor overall results.

  1. Should I Use A Sprayer To Stain My Deck?

This depends mostly on the size of your deck. A small deck can be easily stained with just a few brushes. Medium-sized decks should usually be stained with a paint roller and paint brushes. Small and medium decks simply are not large enough to justify the expense of renting, setting up, using, and breaking down a sprayer.

However, sprayers are great for large decks that require more stain, and for decks that incorporate lattice or other hard-to-paint wood detailing.

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As a rule, small and less complex projects are best accomplished with traditional painting tools, while sprayers are better for large decks with a lot of detail work.

  1. How Long Before I Can Walk On My Deck?

This depends on your stain, and how many layers you apply. Usually, you can walk on your deck after 4-6 hours, if it’s a bright and sunny day. However, if it’s a damp, overcast, or cloudy day, you may want to wait 12-24 hours before walking on your deck.

After a day or two, your deck stain will be completely dry, and you can move things like furniture and appliances back onto it.

Get Great Results On Your Next Deck Staining Project With These Tips!

If you’re staining a deck, the answers to these common FAQs are sure to be helpful. So take another look, think about your project, and decide on the best course of action. You’re sure to do a great job, and be satisfied with the results of your deck staining project.

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