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How to Clean and Refinish a Wood Deck


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Applying Wood Deck Stain
Staining a wood deck

Staining the wood deck should be done starting with the handrails and working down to the wood deck flooring

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Now the fun starts! No, seriously. Staining the deck is where you see all your hard work come together. When staining you will start with the handrails and work your way down to the deck boards. Use the natural china bristle brush for staining the small areas such as handrails and trim boards. The wood deck boards are best stained with a flat paint pad applicator. Using a paint pad applicator allows you fast coverage of a large area, the ability to easily maintain a wet edge (a technique explained in the tutorial below) and results in a nice even application of stain.

Let's review some of the key points of stain application.

  • It is very important to make sure the deck is dry for about 2 days without any rain on it before you proceed to stain the deck. Water in the pores of the wood will prevent proper absorption of the oil stain into the wood.
  • Select a quality penetrating oil based semi-transparent stain if you want the grain of the wood to show through.
  • Buy a solid opaque stain if you want the finish to look like paint. Just don't use paint.
  • DO: Make sure the stain or sealer is water repellent
  • DO NOT: Use clear finishes such as polyurethane or varnish as they will degrade under the sun's UV rays.
  • Use a paint pad applicator for the large flat deck board areas and apply the stain generously.
  • For railings, balusters and in between deck boards use a natural china bristle brush.

The related tutorial How to Stain a Wood Deck will describe the tips and techniques you need to know to easily stain your wood deck and rails after power washing and sanding.

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