Wood decks should be stained to protect the wood from ultraviolet sun damage and moisture damage. This will prevent your deck from weather damage including checking and cracking. SOS Property Rescue recommends that you use a high quality water based stain. Don’t confuse a topical sealer for stain. Sealers only protect the wood from moisture. They don’t protect the wood from checking and cracking when the wood dries out.
When should you stain your deck? For the best results you should stain cedar, redwood, exotic hardwoods, and clear pressure treated decks soon as possible after the deck is built and every Spring afterwards. However green treated pressure treated wood should be allowed to dry out for 30-90 days before applying the first stain.
Always make sure the deck is clean and dry before you begin staining. Wait at least 24 hours after washing your deck to apply stain. Also try to avoid staining your deck right before it rains. Most stains require at least 2-3 hours for drying.
Learn about the best type of stain product for your specific needs:
Start the process by following the instructions on the container for application. Apply the stain evenly with consistent strokes, moving in one direction. Rails will always require the most time and attention to detail. Stain the railings first. This allows you to clean up any drips on the floor surface afterwards.
We recommend covering 50 square feet at a time in case you spill some. This allows you to mop it up quickly and go back over it within the 20-minute window and still have time to apply your second coat before it dries. If you walk in the wet areas you need to mop the footprints back out. Water-based stains are easy to manage and better for the environment because you don’t need harsh chemicals to clean up. It is also very easy and safer.
- Tip: attach a broom handle onto the brush so you don’t have to bend over. Tape off the house to avoid splatters on the siding. The stain dries fast so have a wet rag handy to clean up spills.