Tips for Simple Deck Staining

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Spring is a popular time to stain the deck, fence or other wood in your backyard. Keep the task simple and buy a good quality stain to have the best looking wood in the neighborhood.
Timing Is Key
Make sure that you will have decent weather for the duration of the project. Most brands recommend looking for 24 hours of a steady temperature above 41 degrees Fahrenheit with no forecasted precipitation.

It’s a good idea to let new or just installed wood become seasoned for 3 to 4 weeks. This allows the lumber to dry out more and will result in better stain absorption.
Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to stain, so take a rest during the heat of the day. Also make sure not to stain when the wood itself is too hot (if you can comfortably touch it for a length of time, go ahead and stain).
Preparation is Part of Any Good Job
Make sure that the wood is clean. This may mean stripping the old stain off or cleaning off mold, mildew and dirt. Clean the wood surface with a specialty brightener or cleaner a few days before. Wait for the lumber to be completely dry before starting to stain.
Shake or stir the stain well to evenly distribute the pigmentation. Keep stirring it during the process.
Use only clean applicators. Buy new ones just to be sure.
Application Methods
Natural bristle brushes are generally the most recommended for staining. They also take the longest time. Rollers and sprayers are fine to use (check your manual first), but make sure that you back brush. That means you need to soak up any excess laying on the surface of the wood after spraying or rolling the stain on.
Any puddles or splotches left on will dry and leave a sticky dirt magnet. Take a brush or clean, dry cloth and wipe the surface to get rid of stain build up.
Follow all directions well. Each stain brand will have slightly different tips and methods. Read your can thoroughly and stick to the letter. This is not something you want to redo in a month.
Remember that darker colored stains last longer on the board. Stain will penetrate and absorb into the wood, instead of sitting on it like a sealer or coating product does. Buy the best you can afford and you won’t be disappointed.
Wait for the stain to dry before you bring the furniture and everything back up. The whole process may take a few days, but the wait will be worth it.
photo courtesy of Terry Fenwick sxc/primpwatch

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