How Often Should I Stain My Deck?

Posted on: November 11th, 2021

How Often Should I Stain My Deck?

If you’re lucky enough to have a deck, you’ll want to know how to best maintain it. So, just how often should you stain your deck? Deck maintenance, and how often you do it, depends on a number of variables. The type of material it’s made of, the condition of that material, the age of the deck, and when it was last treated are all important factors. On average, decks should be refinished every 2-3 years. 

If you live in the Sacramento area, including Arden-Arcade, Laguna, Rancho Cordova, or Woodland, we can stain your deck for you. But you’re welcome to do it yourself with this guide.

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When to stain a deck 

A beautiful deck is an extension of your home and can be a space to spend time with family and friends. But how do you know when minor fixes are called for, opposed to refinishing the entire deck? Proper upkeep is essential in keeping your deck not only looking great but also in extending the life of the wood. There are clear signs your deck needs attention other than just looking shabby. Here is a list of common signs that your deck may be ready for refinishing: 

  • Wood looks dry and old 
  • Mold and mildew are visible on your deck frame or planks 
  • Splintering boards 
  • Peeling and flaking paint 
  • Soft or spongy spots when you walk across it 
  • Loose screw boards or raised screws 
  • Cracked boards 
  • Color has faded or discolored due to exposure 

Cost to stain a deck 

In order to determine how much it will cost to stain your deck, you need to know the size of the job, conditions, and the cost of the specific stain or paint you will be going with. There are numerous varieties of stain options out there that vary in quality. Make sure you use a quality product that is conducive to the climate where you live. On average, it costs between $2.00-$5.00 a square foot to paint a deck. 

Deck Stain With Brushes

Deck paint vs. stain 

When refinishing your deck, both stain and paint will help protect it from moisture and weather-related damage. However, both differ in terms of appearance, durability, application, maintenance, and cost.

Stain is typically more budget-friendly and costs between $20$35 per gallon. Exterior paint suitable for decking ranges between $30-$60 per gallon. Also, using paint requires you to spend extra on a primer and wood preservative. 

If you’re going for a natural look, stain should definitely be your choice. Stain also allows the grain of your wood to show through. If you want to hide the imperfections in your decking, the high concentration of pigment and resin in paint will fill in the pores and holes and do the trick nicely. Paint gives you a much wider variety of colors to choose from and tends to give off a more manufactured look. 

How long does deck stain last? 

Decks can really take a beating! The sun beating down, the rain pounding, and the snow piling high. Dirt and residue are going to settle in and build upon that flat surface. That’s why it’s so important to treat your deck with a good quality stain or paint. The best stains should last 3-5 years when applied correctly. 

How much stain do I need for my deck? 

Obviously, the bigger your deck, the more stain you will need. For decks and patios that measure roughly 175 square feet, you shouldn’t need more than one gallon of stain. The type of transparency won’t affect the amount you need. If your deck measures closer to 500 square feet, plan on buying two gallons of stain to ensure you have enough for full coverage.

What’s The Best Temperature To Paint Outside?

How to clean a deck before staining 

To have the best success with any DIY project, preparation is key. While prepping can be tedious and time-consuming, it’s well worth it to ensure you love the finished product. Here are some simple steps to follow before applying stain or paint to your deck. 

  1. Completely sweep away and remove all leaves and debris from your deck. 
  2. Apply cleaner to your entire deck using a roller or pump sprayer. Make sure to wear gloves, masks, and protective eyeglasses and avoid letting the cleaner come in contact with your skin. If you have a large deck, work in small sections to ensure covering the entire surface. Allow the cleaner to set for approximately 15 minutes so it has adequate time to soak into the wood.
  3. After 15 minutes, use a stiff bristle brush to work the cleaner into the wood. The goal is to remove all residue. 
  4. Use your garden hose with a powerful stream to thoroughly rinse the cleaner from the wood. If you have a power washer that also works well. Keep the psi between 1200-1400 to not cause any damage. Keep the sprayer at least 8-12 inches away from your surface and spray with the grain. 
  5. Once you’ve allowed the deck to completely dry, lightly sand any areas to remove any remaining residue. Now you’re ready to apply the stain or paint of your choosing. 

How long to wait to stain pressure-treated wood? 

When working with pressure-treated wood, it’s best not to stain it until it’s completely dry. The chemicals used in the treatment process often leave moisture behind that you don’t want the stain or paint to seal over. Depending on the humidity and climate of where you live, it typically can take anywhere from a week to a few months for pressure-treated wood to fully dry. 

How long does stain take to dry outside? 

Once again, humidity and climate are both going to play a big part in determining how long your stain will take to dry outside. Obviously, drying time will be shorter in the warmer, dryer states. The cooler and more humid your state is, the longer the stain will take to dry outdoors. In general, interior stains take between 6-24 hours to dry while exterior stains take somewhere between 24-72 hours. 

How to spray stain a deck 

There are several different methods you can use to spray stain your deck. It’s always good to have several options as it gives you more freedom to work with what you have accessible. One of the more efficient ways to spray your deck is with a low-pressure pump sprayer. It’s easy to use and delivers excellent results. You can have your entire deck stained within just a couple of hours. 

How often should you stain your deck Conclusion 

If you have questions regarding deck stain or any other painting project, contact PaintRite Pros. We offer a variety of high-quality painting services to people throughout the Sacramento County area. If you live in Roseville, Stockton, Davis, or anywhere else in the area, we can stain your deck for you! We have a 4.9-star rating on Google with hundreds of reviews. We’ll do everything we can to make sure you’re as ecstatic with our work as possible. That’s the PaintRite Pros way. 

Do You Have To Pressure Wash Before Painting?


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