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How to Stain a Wooden Deck

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This tutorial for how to stain a wooden deck is not fun, but it is smart to get it done before winter sets in and snow settles onto the deck for long periods of time! I partnered with HomeRight to show you how to stain a deck quickly and relatively painlessly!

how to stain a deck

My husband and I are pretty good about evenly dividing the household chores and projects, and there is rarely a project that makes us both want to plant our feet and say, “Not doing it!”.  But if I had to pick one… it would be staining a wooden deck.

We had one at our first house and swore we’d never have one again, because of what a pain it is to stain it every few years. We lucked out that our 2nd house didn’t have one, but now we’re at our 3rd house… and guess what?? A big wooden deck that was in dire need of attention!

Intro how to prep a wood deck before staining

I mean, it was pretty much down to the raw wood, and not doing it wasn’t really an option. So I rose to the challenge and decided to tackle it one Sunday evening. My husband thought I was insane starting it on a Sunday night  with only about 3 hours of daylight left. But sometimes you just have to do it when the mood hits you, and I was confident that it would go faster with my new tool!

Supplies to Stain a Deck:

Pressure Washer
Stain Stick with Gap Wheel
Deck Stain

Step 1: How to Stain a Deck:

Completely clear your deck of everything! Ours was a wreck and still filled with old baseboards, cushions that everyone kept throwing on the deck so they wouldn’t blow away, a picnic table that I had wanted moved onto the patio for a year. I wish I could say this picture was staged for an ugly before, but this really is what it looked like for the past year.

Step 1 and Before- wood deck before decorating

Step 2: How to Stain a Deck:

Once everything is removed from the deck, it’s time to really sweep it. Be sure to get along the side of the house and in all the cracks where leaves and other debris like to congregate.

Step 2 cleaning deck before staining

Step 3: How to Stain a Deck:

We also had some spots where the wood was turning green from mold. Like I said, our deck was well past the time when it should have been stained, and it was obvious. If you have spots like this, a good spray from a pressure washer took them right up. I’m not a fan of prep work at all, but it really does make all the difference.

Step 3 removing mold from wood deck

The pressure washer can get in between all the cracks in the wood and the boards and work loose all the dirt and grim that has accumulated too.

Step 3 pressure washing deck before staining

Step 4: How to Stain a Deck:

Once your deck is clean and dry, it’s time to start staining. The HomeRight Stain Stick with Gap Wheel, is such a time-saver because it comes with an attachment that goes right into your stain can. You then use the pump on the arm of the stain stick to draw the stain into it.

This eliminate all the time where you would normally be running back and forth to a paint tray to re-saturate your stain pad. Instead, you just lightly twist the arm when you need more stain to come out.

Step 5 Homeright stain stick

 Step 5: How to Stain a Deck:

The gap wheel is great to get in between the deck boards and in other cracks. It fits perfectly so that the sides of the boards receive the stain as well, and everything has a nice, even coat.

Step 5 how to stain your wood deck

When you are using the stain stick on a flat board, the gap wheel just gently pushes up to allow the pad to lay flat on your deck.

Step 5 homeright stain stick with gap wheel

Step 6: How to Stain a Deck:

Allow it to dry without walking on it according to the directions on your can of stain. We allowed ours to sit for a full 24 hours and then moved everything back onto it. I love seeing all this glorious beading now when it rains out!

Step 6 water beading on wood deck after staining

And the deck itself is so much more enjoyable now that we took the time to actually clean and decorate! And I was right… it really didn’t take me that long! From the time I started cleaning until I was completely finished staining and was wrapping it up for the night, was under 2 hours!

Step 6 and After - wood deck with diy storage box

You can check out the full deck makeover and see just how much more functional this space is now! Before this project, we would go outside to eat at the table and that was about it. No one hung out back there, because it was such a disaster.

wood deck before staining

Now my kids practically live on the deck!

how to style a deck makeover

Any time we have company over (and the weather is decent) this is where everyone gravitates too! We just love having an outdoor living room now. Especially since we don’t have to worry about splinters and stare at green mold anymore!

creating conversation areas for deck makeover

Some other posts you might be interested in to get your outdoor space in shape:

And don’t forget to pin this post so you can get your deck stained and protected before winter comes!

how to stain a wooden deck quickly and easily

Jane @SustainMyCraftHabit

Friday 20th of October 2017

Wow. What a transformation. It looks great. Pinned this to come back to later for our cottage deck.


Wednesday 18th of October 2017

I would have loved this post when we had our original wood deck. Since we now have composite decking, it isn't needed. Looks great though!