The Answer Man

All About Deck Staining


Staining your deck adds a layer of protection between the wood and the elements. It will keep your wooden deck lasting and looking better longer and without the unsightly damage.  

Benefits of a Stained Deck 

Deck stains are made to seal and protect wood so that it doesn’t rot or split. The sealant in the stain prevents moisture from getting into the wood and causing it to soften and break down over time. Once wood rot starts it is irreversible, so it’s always best to stain & seal your wooden deck and furniture as soon as possible. If water is able to enter the wood and it somehow freezes, it can cause the wood to crack and split. Broken and rotting wood is a safety hazard. You can get splinters from broken wood or in the worst-case scenario fall through the wood and become seriously injured.  

Sunlight can also damage wood causing discoloration if left unsealed. Many people choose to paint their decks, but this paint can chip and wear away over time leaving the wood vulnerable to the elements. It’s better to use a wood stain & sealant because it lasts longer and is more cost-effective in the long run. A deck stain & sealant can last up to a few years before needing to be redone.  

Preparing Your Deck 

Before you start you should inspect your deck. Keep an eye out for broken or protruding nails, wood splinters, and warped or broken wood. Replace and repair pieces of the deck as necessary. 

If your deck is old, you should consider purchasing a deck stripper to determine the previous type of stain used. The two types of stain are water-based and oil-based. If the stripper works on the deck and you can wipe it off, then it is a water-based stain and can be removed with the deck stripper. A water-based stain will need to be removed before applying a new stain.  

An oil-based stain can be stained over after being cleaned with a deck cleaner. You should also use a deck cleaner after stripping any previous deck stains. Deck cleaner prepares the wood to be stained for an even and more effective stain & sealant.  

When cleaning your deck, leave it on the wood for at least 15 minutes before scrubbing. Use a hard-bristle brush or mop to work the cleaner into the wood to ensure there is no dirt or debris in the wood grains. After scrubbing the deck, you can rinse it off with moderate pressure from a water hose.  

Wait for your deck to completely dry before beginning any staining. The goal of staining is to prevent moisture, after all. If you’re using a colored stain, do a patch test on a small area with the desired number of coats to make sure that it’s the exact color you want for your deck. You don’t want to fully commit to a stain color if you don’t like it.  

Staining Your Deck 

If you have a color in mind for your deck, great! However, if you prefer the look of all-natural wood, you can simply use a clear wood sealant to get the job done. You can stain or seal your deck by using a roller or a paint sprayer. Apply even coats and wait for them to dry in-between until you reach the desired level of color. Use a paintbrush to make sure the stain soaks into every nook and cranny of the wood grain. This gives better and longer-lasting results.  

Wait for the stain to completely dry. This can take 24 to 48 hours, but it varies by situation. The amount of time it takes to dry is dependent on the stain, the type of wood, and your location’s level of humidity (the more humid the longer it will take).  

If you need any home or garden supplies, be sure to check out C&C Farm and Home. We’re located in Lebanon and Bolivar, MO. If you have any questions about what we sell at our stores, reach out to the Answer Man!