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Deck Staining Like a Pro

Deck Staining Like a Pro

Amateurs use shortcuts and don’t follow directions; professionals use time-tested methods and common sense. Through my experience with deck stain applications, separating the amateurs from the pros is simple. Anyone can stain a deck like a pro if you just take your time and pay attention to what you’re doing. Here are just a few items that will impact the final appearance of your deck.

STAINING SUPPLIES

Amateurs believe that all supplies (brushes, rollers, pads, etc.) are interchangeable and usually select cheaper products. Pros realize the importance of using high-quality supplies that provide more even application, fewer problems with streaking and buildup, greater ease in application, and a better final appearance. Investing a little more initially will pay off in the end.

CHOOSING YOUR STAIN

Amateurs often choose stains based on price, thinking that there’s little difference. Pros know that there are significant differences between stains, from how they penetrate the wood and resist UV penetration and weather effects, to the look following application and wear over time. Professionals do their research and know which brand(s) will give them the best appearance and value over years.

WATCH THE WEATHER

Amateurs are often in a hurry to get it done. Pros watch the weather reports, realizing that staining should be done in the right temperature range (read the directions) and when the stain will have enough time to dry before rainfall.

BLEND BATCHES

Amateurs often don’t plan ahead. They’ll use one container of stain, and when they run out, they’ll buy another container of the same stain and keep going. Pros know that the same color of the same brand may have minor variations from one pail to the next. They plan ahead and mix all of the stain that they’ll use upfront so that variations are blended together to make one consistent color.

THE FIRST TIME

Amateurs will often apply the first coat of stain quickly, thinking that they’ll touch-up the appearance later. Pros know to do it right the first time. They apply the stain to the vertical posts first, then the horizontal boards, staining entire boards from end to end with the wood grain, and then moving on to another board rather than staining across boards. They carefully apply the right amount of stain and never over-apply.

Shifting from amateur to professional standing when staining is easy. Just take your time, follow the directions, and plan ahead.
You’ll be glad you did.

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