There are few feelings in the world better than accomplishing something by yourself, especially when it’s something you can share with your family and friends. A newly stained deck helps ring in the new summer season with a bang, and offers a talking point as you tell all your friends about how you did it all yourself. Don’t worry; we won’t tell them you read this post.
The first thing you want to do is make sure that you actually need to stain. The easiest way to do this is with a water test. Sprinkle some water on the deck boards. If the water soaks up into the deck immediately, you can stain. If it beads up on the deck, you may not need staining or sealing yet.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to move forward, a good cleaning is needed. Between sun wear, nail stains, dirt, algae, and mildew, your deck is dirty. Pick up a deck cleaner to make sure that you wash away everything that shouldn’t be there. Remove all your deck furniture and other furnishings before you start. If you decide to use a pressure washer, follow the users manual on what type of cleaner to use.
Pro Tip: Use a fan tip to avoid gouging your deck.
Are some of your deck boards cracked, or breaking? Sand what you can with an 80 grit sandpaper. What you can’t sand, replace. Take this time to replace any popped out nails with deck screws for a longer deck life!
Time for more cleaning. Grab a putty knife, and get between the cracks of the boards. Over the years, dirt and debris have gotten caught in there. Remember that time the raccoon ripped open the garbage bags? He definitely got some stuff stuck in between the boards.
When you’re using the deck cleaner, you have two things to keep in mind. Don’t let the deck dry off, and don’t let the cleaner pool up. Scrub any tough areas with a stiff brush or broom, but avoid wire. The bristles can break off and get stuck in your wood. Let the cleaner soak into the wood. It shouldn’t be any more than 10 minutes, but make sure to check your cleaner instructions just in case. After soaking, rinse the deck with a garden hose or pressure washer. Let the deck dry for at least two days before applying any stain or sealer.
Once the deck is dry, check the forecast for two days of 10 to 30 degree weather and get ready to stain. Start by applying a thin even coat over a two to three board section using a paint roller with an extension handle. Two thin coats is better than one thick coat that doesn’t work properly. Just like the cleaner, make sure it doesn’t pool. Repeat this process until the whole deck is covered. Use a paint brush for corners, steps, and railings. Follow the instructions on the stain can for drying times, and then get ready to enjoy your newly stained deck!