How To Properly Stain Your Deck

Achieve the best results with these tips.

There are a lot of options for deck stains! Benjamin Moore alone has 5 different opacities to choose from.

The Stain

So for starters I took into consideration the condition of the deck: it’s never been treated, has about 2.5 years of weathering and gets a lot of sun. Basically, the best case scenario.

With wood that’s in great shape I usually treat it with a simple translucent (for a hint of colour that just enhances natural wood) or semi-transparent stain for a little more colour.

If I want MORE colour,  Semi-solid stains are great for covering imperfections, allowing some of the grain and texture of the wood to show through, while Solid Stains are more like paint and leave an opaque colour but still some of the wood texture. For this deck, we went with a semi-translucent stain.

Tip:  After properly preparing the wood, select an inconspicuous place on the actual wood you will be staining and test the stain to be sure you will be pleased with the final color results before buying!  Will save you a lot of agony – I always test and I am always surprised at how different the colour looks (sunlight, wood species etc.). The Benjamin Moore website or brochures show the opacities but think about how many different types of wood there are out there. Pictured below is the same stain, Hamilton Blue, tested on two different types of wood:

The Prep

To start, you always need a clean, dry and porous wood surface to stain. At the very least you will always have to sand to prepare the surface to accept stain.

Let’s go from most work to least:

  • If you have solid coat and want to bring back the natural wood you have to REMOVE the finish with a chemical and/or lots of sanding!
  • If the wood is extremely weathered RESTORE the wood with a specialty product, power wash and sand when dry to clean & remove the dead wood fibres. If wood is in good condition and simply dirty, CLEAN, let dry.

Tip: Maintenance on a wood deck, with a Canadian climate, should be done once a year. Hose the deck down, clean it off, simple- no need to bring out the power washer.

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