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Is Staining a Deck Really That Difficult?

The idea of a deck is appealing as it really is a very nice outdoor space to have, however if it is a timber deck and it gets old and worn out in couple of years, something needs to be done. This article hopes to generate awareness of the work involved in staining if you are thinking of having a timber deck. It is easy to underestimate this task and it will be too late once a timber deck has been installed. If you already own a timber deck, it would be worth to note the steps described here with advice from floor experts if you are not already aware.  The good news is, there is now an innovative material that looks like timber boards but does not require work like for timber which will provide the alternative.  This is worthwhile to consider when getting a new deck. It is also useful to know that timber boards can be replaced by composite boards directly over the same structure when the work of staining becomes too much.

1. Picking a day

Before the work of staining even begin, there is difficulty already. Staining a deck requires the correct weather condition for at least up till 24 hours after staining to include drying time and this is if only one coat is needed. recommends “cloudy day with moderate temperatures” as “applying stain in harsh direct sunlight can make it difficult to avoid lap marks since the stain will dry so quickly”. It is difficult enough planning a day off your routine to do the work. Throw in the weather requirement, and it becomes quite challenging just deciding when to do it.

2. Picking the correct staining material

There are all sorts of staining material eg oil base, water base etc. The options for staining products is a minefield according to who sells anti-slip paint. They advised to first test the type of paint that has been used on an existing deck before deciding what to buy. To do this, they advise doing a patch test with Xylene or a standard thinner. This is an important step as different types of stain react differently on an existing surface that has been stained previously.

3. Preparation pre-staining

The deck would first need to be cleaned. To do this, it needs a bit of scrubbing with water, or jet wash. If there is oil stain, it will need to be washed off with detergent. Then it needs to be left to completely dry out before staining can begin. It is advisable to use a large canvas cloth to place on area where the paint and tray will be put.

4. Planning your exit

This is a crucial step which if not thought of, can ruin your day’s work quite a bit.  “It’s happened more than once: a homeowner stains himself into a corner.” ( They advise to start at the house and work outwards but you may have to change that plan as long as you finish at the stairs or at the end which you can exit the deck when finished with staining.

5. Staining

There are easier options or methods but basically whichever you choose, there are downsides/difficulties. Here’s what the expert at The Sprice says:

“Staining the deck surface can be done a number of ways. You can use a pressurized sprayer (and deal with wind possibly staining the side of your house), or you can use a brush (if you like to kneel and bend over for hours at a time) or you can use a large pad applicator (the very best approach).

The paint pad applicator does a great job in providing a nice, even coating of stain and covers large areas quickly. The only downside is the possibility of poor coverage in the cracks between the deck boards if you have a deck with larger gaps.

In that case, you may have to use a brush to get the joints, wipe off the stain from the surface while it is wet, then use a pad applicator for the deck surface. Or, since you’re down there staining the joints by hand, you may just want to stain the deck boards, too, while maintaining a wet edge on the brush. If you do stain the deck with a brush, use a 3-” to 4″-wide brush.”

If you have timber railing on the deck, you will need to start with staining your railing first.

6. Cleaning up

If using oil based products, cleaning up paint applicator tools need paint thinner or mineral spirits. Be sure to include this in your shopping list. Paint thinner must be handled with care and oily rags disposed accordingly.

7. Drying deck out

The deck must be kept out of bounds for 24 hours for drying. Remember to keep your pets indoors. As for bird droppings, you just have to keep your fingers crossed.  This process is to be repeated if another coat is needed which means you will need good weather and the deck out of bounds for more than 48 hours!

8. Regular maintenance

According to The Spruce, your deck will be protected for 1 to 3 years only which means you will need to repeat this process after couple of Summers!

Alternative to timber decking without need for staining

Composite Decking from Fiebron

There is now an alternative decking material that does not need staining –  composite boards.  These are made from recycled wood and plastic components and all it requires is a little wash if it gets dirty. This takes few minutes if you use a jet wash on a normal size deck.  Fiberon’s solid composite boards are fully encapsulated with a polymer skin so that it is totally resistant to water, stain and fade, a perfect solution to pain free, beautiful deck.