Staining FAQ

How long should I allow my wood to “weather” prior to putting stain on it?

Today’s products do not require that you allow the wood to “dry out” like you would have in the past. Once the structure is in place you can begin your staining project.

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How do I know if I need to sand my deck prior to staining?

If the wood has never been coated previously it is always good practice to sand the surface. This ensures that the stain will properly soak into the wood and have a nice uniform finish.

If you have previously stained your deck you can place a piece of tape on the deck and see if wood fibers pull off onto the tape. If that happens then it is time to sand again.

Do I need to clean my deck prior to staining?

Yes. By cleaning the deck prior to staining you are ensuring that you are staining over a nice clean surface and this will ensure that you have a beautiful finish. It also removes all mold or mildew spores and will keep the deck looking newer longer.

How do I know it is time to restain my deck if it is stained with a clear, toner, or semi-transparent finish?

Over time the stain will break down and allow new stain to soak into the wood.

The way to test this is to do a water test by putting a small amount of water in a few areas of the deck. If after a couple minutes the water soaks in, the wood is ready to be stained. If the water is repelled and just lays on the surface your sealer is still working and you would need to strip and sand prior to restaining.

How long do I have to wait to restain my deck if it is stained with a solid color stain?

Solid stain is much easier to recoat, as there is not a minimum recoat time like there is with the clear, toners, and semi-transparent stains.

You can at any time recoat to freshen up or change the color of your solid stain with a simple cleaning and recoating of the same product.

If I want to ensure that I have the best long-lasting finish what steps should I take?

To ensure that you have the best looking project it is recommended to do the following steps.

Strip off any old stain that may be there.

Clean and sand the surface to ensure that you have removed any contamination and ensure that the new coating soaks in evenly.

Pick the finish that you want and apply accordingly.

How many coats of stain should I apply?

That depends upon which stain you are using.

Clears, toners, and semi-transparent stains only require one thin coat applied. Solid color stains require two coats for optimum durability.

What is the best method to apply my stain?

The best method to apply stain is by brush. This ensures that the stain is applied evenly and has a nice uniform finish.

If you want to spray, please always make sure you back brush.

What is one tip I can use to ensure my project turns out the way I want it?

One tip to ensure that your project always turns out the way you want it to is to do a test patch. This allows you to look at a small area to see how the finish will look. Any changes in color or additional prep work that is needed can then be determined with minimal effort.

How do I know what type of stain to use?

Understand that pigment equals protection. However, many homeowners prefer the look of natural wood grain, so it’s a personal preference. Use the chart below to find the best fit for you and your outdoor project.

LookUses
TonerAdds a hint of natural color to wood’s grain and allow texture to show through beautifullyWater-based and alkyd/oil formulas are ideal for use on decks, fences, siding, outdoor furniture, and more.
Semi-TransparentAdds subtle color while allowing wood’s natural grain and texture to show through Water-based and alkyd/oil formulas are ideal for use on decks, fences, siding, outdoor furniture, and more.
Semi-OpaqueA unique finish that bridges the gap between semi-transparents and full solid color coverage Water-based and alkyd/oil formulas are ideal for use on decks, fences, siding, outdoor furniture, and more.
Solid ColorProvides rich, opaque color that hides the wood grain while allowing the wood’s texture to show throughWater-based formulas are ideal for use on decks, fences, siding, outdoor furniture, and more. Alkyd/oil-based formulas are ideal for fences and siding, but not horizontal surfaces.