Proper deck staining is the key to durability and performance of the finish coating. Paint or stain applying requires certain conditions and preparation you need to consider before setting to work. Check out some major ones below.
- Stir deck stain and shake the can before use.
- Thin deck paint depending on its type. Usually, thinning agents are used for this purpose with paints and stains. The only exception is acrylic materials, which can be thinned with water only.
- Use safety glasses, gloves and masks when working, even if you do this outdoors or deck stain is classified as non-toxic.
- Deck stain is best applied in dry conditions, the temperature being above 10 degrees Celsius. Cold weather can increase the drying time significantly. The best temperature for staining is 15-35 degrees Celsius, while humidity should not exceed 80%.
- Pour the substance into a small container to avoid dust and debris getting into stain; you don’t want your deck final appearance look messy after all.
- Before you start applying deck stain, try it out on a small area in an inconspicuous place.
- If possible, protect the applied coating from dust and dirt, because it can take the whole day (sometimes even a week) for most stains to dry out and create a solid coat.
You may have some deck stain left after work. Don’t forget that the best deck stains cost a lot, so you’d better do your best to take care of their proper storage. You can pour the rest of stain in a small bottle or jar. Make sure there is little space between the liquid and the lid of a container. Close the lid tightly and put the container in a dark place with temperature from 5 to 30 degrees Celsius. If properly stored, stain can be used again within a year.
How to Estimate Deck Stain Consumption?
For proper determining the amount of deck stain that you want to apply on a certain area, you need to know stain consumption per square meter. This parameter depends on stain characteristics and material you are going to work with.
- Type of wood. Porous materials like ash, walnut, oak, and exotic wood require greater consumption of deck paint compared to non-porous ones like maple, birch, aspen, or cherry tree.
- Sanding quality. Well-treated and polished wood requires less stain, so you’d better prepare the surface well enough to avoid extra consumption.
- Deck stain viscosity. The thickness of deck stain also affects its consumption. The thicker the stain, the more cans you will need. That’s why we recommend adding a thinning agent or water into stain during the work.
- Tools used for applying a stain. It is very important to pick the right tools to reduce stain consumption.
Basically, deck stain consumption for the first coating is about 100-200 sq. ft. per gallon.
Step One. Tools Picking
Staining is possible with the help of different tools, mainly a brush, roller or spray gun. The choice of the tool influences not only consumption but also the finish coating quality.
A brush is the cheapest, most popular and affordable option for you. Stores typically offer brushes with natural, mixed, or artificial bristle. Natural bristle brush is a better option for oil-based paint and stain, yet you should press excess liquid out of the brush when working because this kind of bristle takes and hold up liquid material, which can lead to drips and faults on the stained surface. Synthetic bristle brushes allow getting a smooth surface, and they are very durable. A mixed bristle brush is perfect for outdoor staining combining advantages of both natural and synthetic ones.
A roller is a convenient tool for staining large areas like fences, facades etc. Deck stain rollers range in terms of the tool surface characteristics, nap, and size. A longer nap can be deformed while you work resulting in a reduced coat quality. Large rollers make staining process go faster, yet they aren’t convenient compared to smaller ones, which create a more even and dense coat. The best option for exterior works is a medium-sized roller with a long hard nap.
A spray gun is the most convenient tool for painting and staining fences and facades, as it helps you easily work with hard-to-reach areas. Spraying stain provides an opportunity to create a high-quality, smooth, and even coat. Spray guns have different volume tanks, engine power, and performance. The higher these characteristics are, the more money the unit will cost. Yet keep in mind that working with cheaper models is often disappointing, as they quickly overheat and turn off.
Step Two. Surface Pretreatment
The surface should be treated properly for better adhesion of paint or stain and high quality and durability of the finish coating. If you apply deck stain on unprepared wood, you may end up with the coat quickly losing its attractive appearance, cracking, and peeling off.
Weathered stain (if any) should be removed with sandpaper, paint scraper, or a heat gun. As a result, you should get a clean and smooth surface to work with.
If there are cracks or grooves in wood, you can disguise those imperfections using special wood putty.
First of all, clean the surface of dust and small debris, and then sand it with sandpaper. If there are oil or resin spots, polish the surface along the grains. This will prevent small grains from splitting so the wood will be as smooth as possible. Let the surface dry well prior to further treatment.
Step Three. Primer
Some people skip priming wood as a pretreatment. Yet there are some advantages of applying primers you should be aware of.
- Primer provides better material adhesion. In other words, deck stain adheres and holds up better on the surface.
- The surface becomes even after priming, which makes the coat smooth and attractive.
- The use of priming compounds allows reducing deck stain consumption, thus saving your money.
Picking primer depends on material characteristics and composition for the finish coating. Alkyd primer perfectly emphasizes the wood structure and increases finish durability. Water-dispersion compositions are non-toxic and have no pungent odor, while shellac primer is a better choice for treating poorly dried and raw wood.
When choosing a primer based on the finish coating characteristics keep in mind that it’s strongly recommended to pick the liquid containing thinning agents when working with polyurethane-based paint or stain. Acrylic or water primer is a wise choice for water-dispersion paint and stain. It would be perfect if exterior deck stain contains anti fungus, rot, and mold agents.
You can proceed to deck staining after you’re done with preparing wood following the guidelines mentioned above. Don’t forget that letting the surface dry completely is a key to successful result.
- Step 1. Prepare deck stain (thin it according to the given directions) and stir it thoroughly. Pour stain into a suitable container, wide enough for comfortable dipping of the brush.
- Step 2. Apply deck stain on the surface in an even layer, working a brush or a roller along the wood grains. Pay your special attention to the lower part of the facade or fence, because those are the areas exposed to moisture the most.
- Step 3. Let the first coat of primer dry well.
- Step 4. Work the dried coat with sandpaper. If you see any flaws on the surface, use putty to fill them. There will be dust after sanding, so you need to remove it as well.
- Step 5. Apply 1-2 more layers of primer, letting each of them dry.
After the primer dries out, you may proceed to applying the finish coating of deck stain.
Step Four. Staining
Make an adhesion test prior to staining wood. In order to do this, apply deck stain on a small area of prepared surface. After 2-3 days when the coat dries out, try to remove the coat with a coin or paint scraper. If removing the coat goes difficult, it means deck stain soaked perfectly into the wood. In the case the coin or paint scraper leave deep and visible scratches, apply another coat or use a better deck stain.
Deck stain is better applied on a horizontal surface, so put the item in a horizontal position if possible whenever you work with it. For example, when staining a door, take it off its hinges and lay it on sawhorse for more convenient work.
Staining Wooden Surfaces
Step 1. Prepare deck stain thinned in advance with thinner or water if necessary, stir it properly, and pour into a suitable container.
Step 2. Apply the first layer of deck stain on wood. Dip the tool (brush or roller) in stain and gently remove the excess liquid to avoid runs. Horizontal surfaces are best stained in stripes, while it is better to make cross steady and smooth movements on a vertical surface. Some stains (for instance, acrylic) grab almost immediately, so you need to work fast enough to make brush strokes less visible on the surface. Deck stain should be well worked into wood. Also ensure there are no bubbles on the surface. However you can easily remove them by moving the brush along the wood grains. Particular attention should be paid to hard-to-reach places and corners when staining.
Step 3. Keep in mind that you have to wait between the coats. Drying time of deck stain varies for each type individually: water-based stain dries from 1 to 12 hours, alkyd and polyurethane mixtures dry in 24 hours. These directions are typically provided on the label attached to the can.
Step 4. As soon as the first coating dries out sand it with fine-grained sandpaper. This will ensure better adhesion of the layers.
Step 5. Apply the second coat of non-thinned deck stain, allow to dry.
Step 6. Check the coated surface in a good light; apply 1-2 more coats of stain if necessary.
It usually takes only two coats for a good result when using high-quality deck stain and following the proper application guidelines.
Colored Deck Stain Applying Tips
Colored stains are usually used for applying on inexpensive wood. You can solve two problems at once while working: protect material from damage and negative factors, as well as make it look more attractive. Staining technology is the same, yet you should follow the guidelines below to achieve better results.
- The first coat of deck stain on wood is always matt, even when you use glossy stain. This happens because it is almost completely soaked into the wood.
- At least three coats are obligatory when working with very porous wood like pine.
- To make natural grain show through a coating, wood must be polished well.
- Use color-free stain instead of primer to treat the surface before applying colored deck stain.
- The color of the coating applied on wood may differ from that shown in the catalog.
- If you need the color to be a bit brighter, deck stain should be thinned with thinner. In case you want a darker and deeper shade, apply at least three coats of stain.
- Acrylic stains do not affect the original color, because they create a completely transparent layer on the surface.
Make the right choice of deck stain and follow all the provided directions when staining and you’ll get absolutely smooth, well-protected, and attractive surface you’re going to enjoy for many years.