Things I Learned Staining Our Deck

There are a lot of things you can learn by reading the back of the paint can label but it often doesn’t tell the whole story.  That’s why I love using our products at home and sharing anything I learn with our customers.

Last weekend while the hubby was away I cleaned and stained our weathered wooden deck.  After years of sun damage the prep was hard (you can read about it here) but after hours of scrubbing the result was pretty amazing.  After it dried overnight, it was time to apply a stain and sealer to not only bring back the colour but also protect the wood.

I chose Benjamin Moore Arbor Coat oil in Brown Mahogany.  It’s a UV protectant and water repellent.  What did I learn after a few hours of labour?  First, apply a generous amount of sunscreen – especially to your back and shoulders.  Sunburn aside, make sure you have a couple pairs of disposable gloves.  Your hands will get sweaty but that beats scrubbing the oil off your hands before dinner time.  Also, use disposable brushes.  I don’t love the idea of throwing things away after one use but in this case you’ll waste more paint thinner, time and effort to clean brushes then it’s worth.  Plus, all those paint thinner fumes are not great for us anyway.  Speaking of fumes, Arbor Coat will have a smell to it so if you’re sensitive put on a mask.

Before you get started, give your stain a good stir.  Tint is heavy and will collect on the bottom of the can.  If you don’t stir well you will end up with a very weak stain at the top of the can and a very dark concentrated stain as you make your way to the bottom. We don’t recommend shaking stains and sealers because they’ll develop air bubbles which may transfer into your surface.

Ready to start? Stay out of direct sunlight.  Not only will it be cooler in the shade, working on a hot surface will cause any stain or paint to dry too quickly.  It will turn gummy and you’ll have a hard time distributing it for a nice finish.   Also, work a couple boards at a time brushing with the grain.  Finish the entire length of the deck before moving on to the next set.  Think old fashioned typewriter.   If you stop halfway and pick up again later you will see an overlap line.

Watch the weather.  You want at least a 48 hour window with no rain in the forecast.  The deck may be dry enough for LIGHT foot traffic the next day but it won’t be cured enough to stand up to a long shower (or a weekend BBQ).  Also, start this project early in the day so the deck will have time to dry before evening dampness sets in.

Need advice on your next painting project? Leave us a comment below!

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