Staining your deck is quite a process. However, it does not need to be an ordeal. In fact, it can be a simple process as long as you’re able and willing to do a little work. Trust me, I just went through the process. Perhaps you’ve heard the stories of power washing, sanding, staining, applications of lacquer followed by more sanding, staining, and more lacquer. While you can approach your project with this level of elbow grease, here are four simple steps for staining your deck.
Evaluate the condition of your deck
What was previously on your deck? Had it been stained or was it painted? Typically, a deck that’s been painted will show signs of peeling, flaking and chipping. A deck that has been stained may need to be power washed or sanded. If there are loose boards, try to secure them or if necessary, replace them.
Prep your deck (approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours for 600 sf.)
If you’re changing the color of the stain or trying to remove paint from your deck, you may need to sand your deck. Many homeowners do not own a deck sander, so I recommend contacting a local equipment rental shop which can equip you with a commercial grade sander, pads, and sandpaper. This is fairly heavy equipment, so you may need some help loading and unloading the sander. Follow the instructions provided by the rental company. If you’re re-staining in the same color or adding stain for the first time, simply power wash the deck using a borate and water solution.
Apply the stain (approximately 1 hour for 600 sf.)
Once the deck is prepped, now comes the magic – applying the stain. Uninformed and indecisive, I went to my nearest Hirshfield’s store and sought the expertise of Mark Masica, an industry expert and trusted advisor. Mark recommended a product called Storm System, which manufactures a number of exterior stains and finishes. As Mark pointed out, Storm is not only a high-quality product, it is also extremely simple to apply and requires just one coat! Which means, no need for extra sanding and multiple layers of stain. For our deck, which is approximately 600 square feet, I used 2 gallons Storm. Mark also recommended a brush for application and off I went. All told, the staining process took approximately 1-hour and I was finished.
Dry the deck
After applying the stain, the deck was not used for approximately 12-hours after which the stain had dried adequately and was ready for use. What seemed like a project that had the potential to become a full-blown, multi-day ordeal was actually a project that I took care of after work on a beautiful spring evening. If you have questions, I recommend you contact a professional and preferably someone who is familiar with Storm System stains. Of course, there are more laborious approaches to decks and perhaps some require more work. However, if your deck is in reasonably good condition this simple approach will deliver extraordinary results!
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