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How to Stain Your Deck & Enhance Your Patio Design

The best way to ensure the longevity and durability of your deck is to stain and seal it properly. Rain, shine, and snow take a toll on wood decks. And as a result, they lose their lustre over time.

But with the right stain, you can keep your deck protected and looking new, while enhancing the appearance of your patio design and boosting the value of your home.

When choosing a wood stain, consider one that will compliment your outdoor patio furniture and backyard patio designs. And use this guide to help you stain your deck properly.

Types of Stains

Wood stains protect wood from the damaging effects of the elements, most notably moisture damage (rot), fungus, and fading from the sun’s ultraviolet light.

There are a variety of stain types and colours to choose from, each with their own level of coverage. Here’s a look at the different types of stains, ranging from the least amount of coverage to the most.

Clear Stains

Clear stains, also known as clear sealants, protect wood from the elements without hiding any of the wood’s natural beauty. Clear stains will keep the wood grain and texture completely visible.

Clear stains on the other hand have wood preservatives and water repellants to protect wood from the damaging effects of moisture. However, most clear stains don’t provide UV protection, and they need to be reapplied once a year.

Toner Wood Stains

Toner wood stains enhance the features of wood with a subtle stain tint on the natural colour. For a warm toner, consider the colour Honey Gold.

Semi-Transparent Wood Stains

Semi-transparent wood stains provide flexible coverage, allowing you to hide imperfections with some tinting while choosing how much wood texture to expose. A Redwood stain compliments most home exteriors and surrounding landscapes.

These stains tend to last longer and provide better protection than clear stains, and they don’t chip off like solid stains.

Solid Stains

Solid stains provide the most coverage and are most similar to paint. These stains are ideal for both hiding flaws in the wood and making a decorative statement.

Rocky grey is an example of a solid stain colour that makes a bold statement while adding warmth to your outdoor living space.

It’s important to note that while solid stains provide the most coverage, some are prone to cracking, chipping, and peeling.

One-Time Wood

Made of acrylic resin, with the scent of pine, One-Time Wood is ideal for use on bare decks that have never been stained. This product is durable, long-lasting, and protects against fungus.

One-Time Wood only needs to be reapplied every five years. And it comes in the following colours:

From small to very large Round, square, octagon, polygon, star, and rectangle-shaped Forward and backward tilt 360˚ rotation Free-standing or mounted bases Tilt control with hand cranks or buttons

  • Natural
  • Chestnut
  • Clove brown
  • Golden honey
  • Red cedar

Best Practice for Using Stains

Before applying a stain, remove all patio furniture from the deck, and wet and cover plants nearby with plastic sheeting.

Use a deck cleaner to remove dirt, algae, mildew, and nail stains following the directions on the cleaner’s packaging. Once clean, rinse off thoroughly using a high-pressure nozzle on your garden hose.

Cleaning the deck will help the stain adhere well to the wood and look better. Once cleaned and rinsed off, allow the deck to dry for two days before staining.

Check the Forecast

Stain your deck during a period of dry weather when it hasn’t rained in a couple of days and is not expected to rain for two days afterwards. Look at the weather forecast ahead of time, and make sure there will be dry weather with temperatures between 10˚C and 32˚C.

Low humidity promotes faster drying. But avoid staining in direct sunlight as this will cause the stain to dry faster than the wood can absorb it.

Prep the Surface

Sand the surface of the deck in the direction of the grain using a pole sander or palm sander. Wear a safety mask.

Replace any damaged boards and drive in popped nails or replace with deck screws.

Sweep off loose debris and clean between the cracks. The deck should be completely dry before applying the stain.

Using the Right Brushes

Use synthetic brushes for applying water-based stains and use a paint roller with an extension handle and a nap that is ¼ inch or shorter. Also, use a paintbrush for railings, corners, cracks, end grains, steps, and difficult areas.

Match Stain to Wood

The type of stain that is already in the wood will affect the type of stain you can use. You won’t want to apply a clear stain or semi-transparent stain on a solid stain. But you can apply a solid stain on wood with any type of stain.

Apply Thin Coats

Stir the stain thoroughly and apply a thin even coat over a two-or three-board section of the deck. To prevent the stain from puddling, work quickly (maybe with the help of a friend) to spread the stain and work it into the wood by back-rolling.

Continue until the entire deck is stained, and apply a second thin coat once the first coat has dried completely.

How Long Does It Take to Dry?

Follow the stain manufacturer’s instructions for drying time. And don’t put your patio furniture back on the deck until it has completely dried.

Bonus: Two Types of Sealers to Consider

Oil Deck Sealers as Coatings

For a clear sealer that provides durable protection, consider one that contains oil. Oil deck sealers penetrate the wood, offering better protection than regular clear stains. And oil sealers don’t need to be reapplied as often as regular clear stains.

Water-Based Sealers

Water-based sealers don’t have a strong odour like oil-based sealers, nor are they as flammable. Due to their lack of odour, they are easier to work with, and they won’t attract insects, like bees and wasps.

Protect your wood deck and restore it to its former glory with the right wood stain and by following these tips for protecting your deck in winter.

Along with protecting your deck, make sure to take steps to protect your patio furniture throughout the process. And don’t forget to coordinate the stain with the design of your patio furniture for an attractive outdoor décor.

For more patio ideas, visit the best place to buy affordable patio furniture sets and fire pits in Ottawa.