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Deck Staining: 5 Tips for the Perfect Finish

calander Apr 13 , 2020 user-icon Nash Painting

Spring is officially here (finally!), which means it’s time to tackle those home improvement projects that have been on hold all winter. If your to-do list is daunting and you’re not sure where to begin, why not start by staining your deck? After all, if you have a wooden deck, you probably plan on using it while the warm weather is here to stay. And properly applying deck stain will enhance the appearance of your deck while protecting it from moisture, sunlight, contamination, pests, and impact.

So, if you plan on staining your deck this season, here are five tips for achieving the perfect finish.

1. Act When the Time is Right

Generally speaking, spring is a great time to stain your deck. That said, this season can be unpredictable, especially in the beginning. While some spring days are mild and pleasant, you can also expect some share of thunderstorms, extreme winds, and highly variable temperatures. Obviously, performing any exterior work (including staining) in these harsher conditions is a recipe for disaster. More specifically, your stain won’t properly stick to wet wood, and severe sunlight can dry the stain too rapidly. So, be mindful of the conditions during which you plan on staining your deck. Ideally, you’ll want to wait for a string of dry, mostly cloudy days with consistent, reasonable temperatures (between 50° F and 90° F).

2. Sand Surfaces

Even if you’ve found the perfect time to apply your wood deck stain, there’s still some prep work to take care of first. Performing proper surface prep will ensure that your deck absorbs the stain completely and evenly. First, you’ll want to sand your deck. Going over every inch of your deck with a sanding tool is a tall order, especially if it’s large. Still, doing so will even out the wood’s surface and make it more receptive to the stain. At the very least, sand any uneven or splintering parts of your deck.

3. Clean Thoroughly and Carefully

For a perfect finish, your deck must also be completely clean prior to staining. Any dirt, dust, or debris will interfere with the stain’s penetration and adhesion to the wood. Begin by sweeping your deck with a broom and removing any material between boards with a putty knife or similar tool. After your initial sweep, there are many ways to finish cleaning your wooden deck. The fastest, most powerful way is to use a pressure washer to blast away unwanted materials. However, pressure washing a wooden deck at close range can damage its surface, so only use this method if you know what you’re doing or can afford to hire professional pressure washers.

If you don’t want to risk pressure washing your deck, you can also clean it with a strong hose or apply a deck cleaning solution. However you choose to clean your deck, though, you must let it dry completely before staining. This can take anywhere from several hours to several days depending on the method you choose.

4. Use the Right Type of Quality Stain

It should come as no surprise that the best staining results require the best staining products. At Nash Painting, we exclusively use Sherwin-Williams SuperDeck waterproof deck stain products for their performance and aesthetic variety. Of course, not only should you use high-quality stain for your deck; you must also choose the right type of stain for your needs. For instance, you can choose between water-based and oil-based stains. And as far as appearance goes, you can pick a transparent, semi-transparent, semi-solid or completely solid deck stain. Every option has its unique benefits and characteristics. If you’re unsure which stain is right for your deck, consult the professionals.

5. Apply Coats with the Proper Tools and Technique

So, you’ve prepared your deck properly, picked the ideal stain, and found the perfect day to get at it. All that’s left to do now is actually apply the product. If you lack experience in this department, applying deck stain can be more challenging than you might think. First, your stain must be properly mixed to achieve consistent color and texture. Then, you’ll want to apply thin coats to a few boards at a time to ensure that the stain gets fully absorbed by the wood. To achieve thin, even coats and full coverage, you’ll need to use the right tools. Rollers tend to get the job done faster, but make sure you use a nap that’s no taller than ¼ of an inch. Otherwise, you might lay it on too thick. For those more precise areas, you’ll want to use a synthetic brush, whose bristles will remain firm as you go.

If all of this sounds like a lot to take in, consider hiring wood deck staining services to get the job done right. At Nash Painting, our people are happy to help you at any stage of your deck staining process, from the planning stages to the final cleanup. Let us help you achieve the perfect finish this season.

To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!