Staining Your Deck

Your deck is your pride and joy, so if you're thinking of giving it a facelift with some new paint, you'll want to do it the right way. Start by checking that the surface of the deck has been given a thorough cleaning and allowed to dry completely.

Boxing Technique

Next, if you're planning to apply a tinted stain or a sealant, you'll want to mix all the cans of the product together so as to insure you achieve uniform color. This technique is called boxing. You might be tempted to skip this step if you've purchased standard, factory-issued premixed colors. But unless you know that the cans not only contain the same color, but come from the same batch number, don't try to take a shortcut. You'll regret taking the easy way out if you neglect to heed this advice.

Start by taking a 5 gallon pail, to which you can add up to 4 gallons of the stain. Mix it well with the help of a mixing paddle. You'll want to pour out only a small amount of this stain into a one or two gallon for ease of handling during brush work.

Use the 5 gallon pail when using a roller or a paint pad. Give the paint a stir every so often during application. Once you get down to about 2 gallons, add in another gallon if you will need a large amount to give total coverage. By adding new paint at intervals you'll help keep the color uniform, even if there should be small variations in color among the various cans of paint.

Skin Irritation

Clothes make the man and can also protect your against skin irritation during a paint job. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and protect your eyes with goggles. You should also wear a mask that will protect your airways against inhaling vapors from products with a solvent base. To be on the safe side, always read the labels on the cans before you begin. It's also a good idea to test the product you've chosen on a sample of the wood you used for your deck or on a part of the deck that won't show. This way, you can make sure the color and the texture are exactly as you intended before you begin.

To get the job done right, you'll need to choose from the following: a paint brush, paint sprayer, paint pad, or short nap roller (1/4"-3/8"). Give a liberal application to the wood, allow the paint to rest for about 5 minutes, then remove any puddles created with a swipe of a paint pad on a pole or a dry 1/2" roller.

Make sure the stain has thoroughly saturated all splits and checks. You'll need to recoat all of the deck's exposed ends several times, until you've achieved a good saturation for all of the wood pores. You may need to give an entire second coat of stain to get a nice even finish.