How often should the deck be stained?

wood deck with chairs and brick home
If your deck isn’t giving the impression you want, a new stain or sealant could be the most cost-effective way to update it. Ensure you have inspected your deck and cleaned it prior to applying any paint or sealer. To see if your current stain can last another summer, give your deck the water test: pour a glass of water on your deck, or in several spots, including where there seems to be the most wear, fade or algae growing. If the water is still beading after 10 minutes, take the year off!

It is recommended to use sealer on your deck. If the wood planks are in good condition and you're happy with the color, you can use a clear sealer instead of a stain. If you're looking to add some color, and the deck is in good condition, you can use a translucent or semi-transparent stain that soaks into the wood and keeps the wood grain visible. Solid stains coat the surface of the wood like paint and are good for hiding wood plank replacements and surface weatheringl. However, paint looks nice when it’s first applied, but it becomes downright distressed before long. If the deck has extensive weathering, consider a resurfacing stain that contains grit to hide cracks in the wood planks. Keep in mind that solid stains and paints will not last as long as translucent and semi-transparent stains.

If the deck is elevated, cover anything stored underneath it with a tarp, as the sealer may drip down through the boards. The temperature should be over 50 degrees during the sealer application and for 48 hours afterwards, so the product can dry properly.

Apply the stain properly. Wait until the deck is completely dry after the cleaning process, and make sure there is no rain in the forecast for the next few days. Tape off any edges around the deck and apply stain evenly with a paint pad or a roller. Use a paintbrush in corners, on railings, and in gaps between planks. Start with the railings first. Once those are finished, use a roller for the floorboards, starting in the corner furthest from where you’ll exit the deck, which may be down some stairs or through a sliding door into the home.

Since you’ll be staining your deck five to seven times over its life, you want to get the process down to a science. If you want professional assistance, contact Mr. Handyman to assist you!