Solid Deck Stain Application

a deck being stained
  • 6-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 30-100
What You'll Need
Solid deck stain
Brushes (4 inch bristles for the floor with smaller brushes for railings and small spots)

If you have chosen to use a solid deck stain on your new deck, you will need to know how to apply it. Follow these 5 easy steps and your deck will not only look great but it will be well protected from the elements.

Step 1 - Conditions

To ensure the solid deck stain goes on correctly, there are some practices you should refrain from when staining. If the wood is hot to the touch or the sun is beating down, postpone the staining process as the heat will make it hard for the stain to penetrate the wood. The heat could also create volatile organic compounds because of the chemicals in the stain. This is something you do not want to inhale.

Additionally, if it looks like rain, hold off on staining until better weather arrives. Not only will the water affect your stain, but wet wood will prevent the stain from setting and drying. The same advice applies if the air temperature is too cold or if there is frost. It is best to stain your deck when your thermometer reads between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2 - Test

After you start the staining process, you may find the color is not what you wanted. Apply some stain to a small piece of wood before you start and let that test patch dry before deciding if you want to continue with that color. Open only one can of stain for the test in case you want to exchange the rest.

Step 3 - Starting Point

Begin to apply your solid deck stain at the house wall and aim to finish at the stairs. It may not cross your mind at the beginning, but you don't want to back yourself into a corner. If your deck does not have stairs, ensure you end up at the edge where it will be easiest for you to get off the deck without having to cross your newly-stained wood.

Step 4 - Brushing Technique

Stain 2 to 4 boards at a time, depending on the size of the boards and how many you can cover while keeping an ample amount of stain on your brush. Do not stop staining in the middle of boards because when the stain dries, it may be possible to see the line you've created. Only take a break when you have completed a full section of staining to the ends of the boards.

To blend lines cleanly after a break, begin again 6 inches in front of where you left off and brush back towards the area that is already stained. Make sure you work quickly and don't be afraid to use some extra stain.

Step 5 - More Coats?

There is no need to apply a second coat of solid deck stain. Most stains are designed for one coat use and if you do it right the first time, there should be no need to repeat. When it comes time to future staining in a year or two, new coats will have a better surface to stick to if you only applied one coat initially.