Much similar to floors, a deck of a house is a wooden platform that is built above the ground at height and is connected to the main building.
Typically, it is constructed outdoors and has been enclosed by a railing for safety purposes.
Many homeowners use this outdoor living space for partying, barbecuing, or just relaxing on weekends.
Why Stain Your Deck?
No matter how frequently you use your backyard deck area, you cannot deny the fact that the surface is highly exposed to getting damaged due to various environmental factors.
The most common damages are due to mold, wood rot, and water intrusion.
Unlike other surfaces in your house, that do not need frequent painting, your deck outdoors, therefore, needs to stain very often for longevity and durability.
Staining your deck with vibrant colors is one of the most fabulous ways by which you can bring back a great new look to your outdoor living area.
Most of the homeowners consider staining their decking boards over painting because it holds up better to foot traffic.
However, when staining and restoring your old deck it’s important that you choose the right technique and applicators that are most appropriate for getting the job done.
5 Best Applicators for Deck Stain
You wouldn’t use a paintbrush to paint your ceiling. You wouldn’t use a blowtorch to fix your computer. And you wouldn’t use a knife to cut your lumber.
Instead, you’d choose the right tools for the job. And this holds true when you’re attempting to stain your deck, as well.
Having the proper tools will allow you to better stain your deck as quickly as possible. And it will give you the best look possible.
Because of this, you’ll want to find the best tools—applicators—for staining your deck.
Below, we’ve included some of the best applicators you can use to get the best deck stain results possible.
If you can get the hang of using deck sprayers, you can get a beautiful, even coating on your deck.
These tools are perfect for those who are looking to coat their deck with a thin layer of paint.
The only problem with a pump sprayer is that can be a bit difficult to use if you are a beginner.
Unlike some of the other tools, you’ll want to experiment and get used to using sprayers—especially the airless variety—before attempting to use them on your deck.
This can assure you that you’ll get the even coating that you want.
2- Paint Rollers
Paint rollers aren’t the most efficient way to stain your deck, but they will work in a pinch.
They’re also one of the simplest tools to use—simply load the roller with your preferred deck stain or paint and get to work.
What you’ll want to look out for, however, is having enough paint on the roller that you can keep a consistent and even coating.
A good option is to use a power paint roller that is electrically operated. It enables you to paint like a pro without worrying about the refill.
3- Deck Stain Brushes
Deck stain brushes are fairly easy to use and are made to get the job done.
These brushes come in different varieties—from 6-inch varieties to those designed to paint cracks and grooves.
This gives you the flexibility to stain your entire deck with a consistent coating that you’ll love.
4- Speed Mops and Stain Pads
Speed mops and stain pads are some of the best deck stain application tools for getting the job done.
These incredible applicators can cover up to eighteen inches at a time and come with replacement stain pads.
What makes stain pads like Shur-Line deck stain applicator great is that they hold more paint and staining material when compared to rollers and other kinds of brushes.
This means that you’ll be able to get more out of your tool and that you can more easily even coat the entire deck.
They’re also relatively easy to use when compared to paint sprayers, making them a great choice for those looking for a quick, great finish.
5- Push Brushes or A Push Broom
Push brushes or a push broom is one of the best stain applicators for horizontal deck board surfaces.
Typically, these offer similar results as achieved with a pad applicator.
But it’s my favorite for cleaning and staining the decks due to the reason that it’s extra durable as compared to the deck staining pad.
I love using it as it holds up more of a stain than a pad which means I can end up my staining job relatively easier and faster.
Also, the push broom is provided with bristles that can help me work between the boards.
This is extremely helpful when I need to coat both sides, along with the top of the board in a single coat.
You won’t believe, this push brush applicator can also be used for staining the latticework which is often difficult to treat.
Well, if you ask me – what is the best way to evenly stain a deck?
It’s a Goliath Deck Stain Brush applicator for me, that’s specially designed for staining and sealing the exterior deck area.
You can of course try and choose the one that’s most comfortable for you to stain your deck.
Make sure you choose the right kind of deck stain before you get started.
*Last update on 2021-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
How to Apply Deck Stain and Sealer?
As winter turns to spring, the warm days and nights may fill your thoughts with ideas about how you will spend the time on your deck.
While you may be ready for the warmer temperatures to arrive, the same may not be true with your deck.
Wooden decks in particular need proper maintenance to be ready for use.
Depending on the wear and tear it has experienced due to changing temperatures combined with foot traffic and other erosive conditions, you may need to apply a new coat of stain with your preferred deck stain applicator.
If so, then here are a few tips that will help you get the job done faster, so you can enjoy your deck more when the time is ready.
Step 1 – Preparing Your Deck
You will need to remove all furniture and other items that sit on your deck.
Once that is completed, use a broom to brush away any dirt and debris that may be on your deck.
When you have accomplished that task, do the following.
- Address any nails that have popped up or are damaged
- Sand splintered areas of the deck with 80-grit sandpaper
- Replace or repair any boards that have been damaged
Remember, sanding your old deck before staining is important if you already have an old layer of stain or sealer on it.
Once the deck is ready, apply a proper deck cleaner and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The deck needs to be wet as the cleaner penetrates the surface.
Then, rinse away the cleaner with your garden hose. You can use a power washer as well.
Just be sure to set the power washer to no higher than 1400 psi to keep it from damaging the wood.
Step 2 – Picking the Right Stain for Your Deck
Once the deck is dry, you can now apply the stain. You can choose the transparency of the stain that ranges from clear to solid.
There are stains that are in-between such as semi-solid and semi-transparent. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Transparent: You’ll see the wood, but it requires an annual re-staining
- Solid: You will not see the wood, but it generally lasts around five years
Choosing semi-transparent stains means you see more of the wood than semi-solid, but both last longer than transparent stains.
Step 3 – Staining and Sealing Your Deck Properly
Once you have decided which to purchase, here are a few tips that will help you apply the stain quickly and efficiently.
1- Test First:
In other words, apply a small amount of stain to a part of the deck that you do not normally see.
This will let you judge whether you really like the stain or not.
If you do not, then the stain can be easily removed so you can try a new brand.
2- Wait if it is a New Deck:
If your wooden deck is brand new, you’ll need to let it sit for a few weeks for the wood to fully dry out.
The dry wood will absorb the stain far more quickly and efficiently.
3- Check the Weather Report:
You do not want to apply the stain if it is going to rain in the next 12 to 24 hours.
Plus, you should not apply the stain in direct sunlight if the temperatures exceed 90 degrees F.
That will not allow the stain to dry slowly enough to be absorbed by the wood.
4- When Semi-Solid or Solid Stain Works Best:
If your deck has boards that have replaced damaged ones, then using a semi-solid or solid stain will even out the appearance.
Well, you have now picked out the stain you want and tested the conditions. To apply it properly just do the following.
- Use a 4” brush or roller to apply even coats of stain
- Use long, smooth strokes starting on the open end-grain of the wood.
- Brush two to three boards at one time
- By brushing wet stain into the wet stain, you can avoid “lap marks”
If your deck is new, then apply a single coat of deck finish that is oil-based. Plus, adding more stain is not necessarily better.
This is because a stain that is too thick tends to peel or crack with moisture present.
Step 4 – Maintaining Your Deck Right after Staining
To maintain the stain on your deck, you’ll need to re-apply it from time to time.
A stain that is still good, will bead any water that hits the surface.
So, spray a little water now and then to see if the stain is still beading. If not, it’s time to re-apply the stain.
Keeping your deck in shape is not easy, but if you inspect it every so often you will know when it is time to re-stain.
Just remember that transparent stain needs to be re-applied every year.
Solid stain every five years, and stains in-between every two to three years.
So, how long the stain will last on your deck will most probably depend on the type of stain you have chosen and the maintenance you have done to keep it in tip-top condition over months.
How Can You Make the Deck Stain Look Darker?
The darker shade is what many of us love to get out of the stained deck.
Fortunately, there can be ways by which you can achieve darker colors on dense wood on your deck.
1- Use more stain:
The first is by simply using a higher concentration of dye to liquid.
This means you will need to use very little thinner or mineral spirits if you are diluting the stain for the application.
Most of the toning is done with the stain itself.
So, if you are using a higher concentration of stain it will add to the darkness and richness of the color you are looking for.
2- Add more coats:
Keep in mind that unlike paint (which often dries with darker shade), the stain will most of the time dry lighter.
Letting it dry properly and adding more coats of stain can therefore work better to make the wood darker.
This way you can achieve dense woods as dark as you want.
3- Use tinted polyurethane:
The color of the original deck stain you will be using if mixed with polyurethane thoroughly can create a darker shade for you.
However, remember that this can create a slightly different shade as well by deepening and neutralizing the color.
The Bottom Line
Forget the fact that you have to spend money on tools and deck stain applicators that you may not use more than once per year.
Consider the time you will be committing to researching the right tools for your own personal needs and then decide on which one is best suited for your project.
And if you can use them, not just for applying the stain on your deck, but also for various other projects, it’s worth investing in.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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