6 Tips for Applying a Second Coat of Deck Stain

applying coat of deck stain
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Eye protection
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Eye protection

One of the ways to protect the investment you made in your outdoor living space is to use a quality deck stain. A stain will not only protect the wood from the elements but also add some color to the bare wood. There are several choices of stain color to coincide with your existing home siding. Of course, you can always use a regular wood-grain stain for that rustic look. When you apply stain to any outdoor structure, you will need to add a second coat. Here are some tips to help make applying that second coat easier.

Choose a Good Day for Staining

Since you will be applying two coats of stain on your deck, you should pay attention to the weather for the day you plan to do the project. Choose a day that is not too sunny, but will be warm enough. It’s also imperative that it won’t be raining when you stain.

Use the Same Stain

While this may seem like a no-brainer, there are many times when people will run out of stain and buy a different type. To maintain the same consistency of aesthetics, and protection, you should always use the same type of stain – both by style and manufacturer.

Use a Clean Brush

When applying an additional coat of deck stain, you should think about the end product. This is going to be the coat that stands out the most, so you want to have a smooth finish.

You can reuse the brush a second time, but it will be hard and brittle if you don't clean your paintbrush immediately after the first coat. This leaves you with a brush that has uneven bristles. Use a second 4-inch brush to ensure a smooth application and finish.

Wait a Few Hours

Adding a second coat requires some precision in the time that elapses between the first and the second. Usually, a good time frame is anywhere between four and five hours.

This, of course, will rely on the temperature outside. A good rule of thumb is to lightly touch the portion that has been stained. If it feels tacky to the touch (a little sticky and not wet) then you can apply the second coat.

Work Quickly

Once you work on one section of the deck, the other portions will be drying out. Maintain a constant motion until you are able to finish the entire deck or a different coloring will result.

Blot Excess Stain

As you move along with your second coat of stain, you should pay special attention to the spots where it is pooling instead of being smoothed out. Use a soft cloth to blot these pools of stain.

By leaving this excess stain, you will have darker areas that can flake off because it is not part of the wood. As these are broken off, it will leave an area of wood that is unprotected from the weather conditions. Once it is blotted, use your brush to smooth it out and present an even coating.

Second Coat of Deck Stain FAQ

Can I put 2 coats of stain on my deck?

Many DIYers recommend using two coats of stain to ensure a uniform, even finish on wood. However, if you're pleased with the way a single coat of stain looks, there is no need to add a second coat of stain.

How do you prepare a second coat of stain?

If you are re-applying a new coat of stain because you don't like the look of the first, sand away the old stain and remove all sawdust before applying a new coat of stain.

If you are applying a second coat of stain on top of an existing coat, let the first coat dry for 24 hours before applying the second coat.

To prep the wood for staining, simply wipe it down gently with a clean, damp cloth to remove any dust, hair, or debris and start with a nice, clean surface for staining.

Will 2 coats of stain make it darker?

Every layer of stain you add to wood will make it slightly darker. This is why it's important to let stain fully dry before you apply a second coat, to ensure you will get the color you want instead of one that is too dark.

How long before you can apply the 2nd coat of stain outside on a wood deck?

After you put the first coat of stain on a deck, it should be dry enough in four to eight hours, depending on how humid the environment is, for you to apply a second coat of stain. However, you should wait 48 hours after all coats of stain have been applied before using the deck.

What happens if you apply too much stain?

If you apply too much stain and end up with wet-looking, sticky wood, you can wipe off the excess stain with a clean cloth. Otherwise, the excess stain will flake off on its own.

If stain is not sinking into the wood, it's an indication that the wood was not sanded well enough prior to applying stain.

The more coats of stain you apply, the darker the wood will get. Make sure coats of stain are dry before you apply more, or else you may end up with wood that is much darker than you wanted.