Before you begin your project, make sure you start off right.

1. Choose the Right Cleaning Product - Which cleaning products you need depends on the condition of your deck.

  • Use a deck stain stripper on all exterior wood that has been previously treated or stained. Always follow up with a brightener.
  • Brighteners neutralize strippers and restore the natural appearance. Brighteners also take the factory finish off of new wood.
  • Use a deck cleaner to remove mold and mildew.

2. Choose the Right Stain - The type of stain you choose depends on the appearance and durability you want to achieve.

  • Transparent Stains provide a light color that highlights wood grain and provides good durability.
  • Semi-Transparent Stains provide very good durability as well as a rich, pigmented color that allows the natural wood grain to show through.
  • Solid Color Stains help cover up wood blemishes or unsightly grain while offering maximum durability.

Follow these guidelines to prepare for applying stains. Make sure the surface is clean (no dust, dirt, wood fibers or grease), dry, and free from mildew. When a surface is not clean, stains and other finishes have trouble sticking and may end up peeling.

  • Thoroughly sweep the deck to remove debris.
  • Liberally apply cleaner using a roller or pump sprayer (wear protective equipment to avoid contact with skin and eyes).
  • Allow the cleaner to set for 15 minutes. Mist your work area with a garden hose to keep it wet while the cleaner soaks into the wood.
  • If you encounter grease stains, clean with a TSP substitute or another mild detergent.
  • After 15 minutes, work the cleaner into the surface using a stiff synthetic-bristle brush. Scrub to remove residue thoroughly.
  • Use a garden hose to completely rinse the cleaner from the wood.
  • Once the deck is completely dry, lightly sand any areas of new wood to remove any remaining residue.

Get the highest quality results from your deck project by following these guidelines.

  1. Ensure your deck has been cleaned properly. Before applying stain, sprinkle some water on the deck. If the droplets sink in, the wood is ready to be stained.
  2. Working with the wood grain, apply an even coat of stain using a 4-inch brush. You may also use a roller to first apply the stain, then work into the wood with your brush.
  3. Always read the product data guide. For best results, avoid staining at midday or in direct sunlight.
  4. Depending on temperature and humidity, allow 24 - 48 hours of dry time before using your beautifully stained deck.

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