How to Apply a Decking Stain like a Pro

decking stain

Is your decking looking a little tired? Applying a fresh coat of a decking stain can breathe life into old boards – and is much more cost effective than replacing your deck altogether. But for any newcomer to DIY, with so much room for error, applying a decking stain can feel like a daunting task.

Do not fear – we are here to share our top tips on how to apply a decking stain like a pro!

Sample Your Stain

Getting the right finish and feel for your deck begins with choosing the correct stain. Consider your surrounding décor and choose a colour that compliments your household exterior well. For instance, if your home is built up on a red brick theme, contrast your deck with a blue hue.

Another top tip is to consider the wood of your deck. Each wood will have its own hue – stick to the natural tones to bring out the underlying colour, or alternatively opt for an opaque stain to negate the undertones.

Once you’ve selected a few stains you think fit the bill, gather some samples to try out on an inconspicuous part of your decking. How your stain appears on the tin may be very different to how it dries on your own boards.

Scrub Up

The key to getting the best out of your decking stain project is to prepare your canvas. If your deck has been subject to a build-up of old stains, use of a deck stripper will be necessary to create an even and smooth foundation.

For decks that have simply weathered with age, a good scrub is required to remove any mould, mildew and dirt.  A pressure washer can be effective in helping to quickly remove any build up, but be sure to leave the deck to dry through completely before cracking out your new stain.

Not All Stains are Made Equal

After all the hard work of scrubbing up and sampling your new stain, it can be tempting just to grab a paintbrush and get stuck into revamping your decking, but before you do so, be sure to study the accompanying instructions that come with your decking stain.

Depending on the brand or type of decking stain you choose, application may vary – some stains may require several applications, or other types may only be compatible to a softwood deck.

It’s far less of a headache to check through the instructions of your decking stain than it is to repeat the stripping and cleaning process all over again!

Add a Little Elbow Grease

For those that are time-strapped, a garden sprayer or roller are both popular tools to use to apply a stain quickly. However, due to the porous nature of wooden decking, this isn’t always the most effective application, so using some good ole’ elbow grease and a paintbrush will help to work your stain into the grooves of the wood.

A combination of all three tools is absolutely fine, as long as your boards are given the once over afterwards with a paintbrush.

A cautionary tip: when applying your stain, repeat the mantra “less is more.” Applying too much stain to wooden decking can result in some very unsightly peeling once dry.

If your decking is struggling to absorb your stain, then consider using a lighter hand.

Top Tips for Applying Decking Stain

What are your top tips for applying decking stain? Do you have a preferred set of tools for the job? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

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