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Home Maintenance>Decking  /  January 13, 2020

5 Common Questions About Deck Staining: Answered

Staining is a crucial part of maintaining and extending the overall life of your deck. But it’s important to understand the ins and outs of deck staining before tackling the job – or having a professional tackle it for you. 

If you have questions about staining your deck, Handyman Connection of McKinney has answers. We’ve answered some of the most common ones right here:

How do I prepare my deck for staining?

A wooden deck should be clean and splinter-free prior to staining. We typically clean and pressure wash the surface of your deck before getting started so you don’t have to do it yourself. 

Pro-Tip: Though it may be tempting to pressure wash the deck yourself, it’s very easy to permanently damage your wooden deck this way, unless you know what you’re doing. If you’ve never used a power washer on a wood surface before, let an expert handle it for you

When should you stain your deck?

It’s best to have your deck stained while temperatures are between 50 and 90 degrees.

Here in North Texas, this usually means March through June or September through October are the best times to stain your deck. However, if we’re able to find a few moderate, dry days outside of that, we may be able to lay a fresh coat of stain with no issue. 

It’s also best to stain your deck on a dry, rainless week, as you’ll want to make sure the deck is completely dry before adding stain. Once we’ve power washed your deck, we typically will return to start staining once the wood has had 24 hours to dry. 

Note: If you have a new deck, it’s usually best to let it weather for a few months before applying a coat of stain. Give us a call if you have questions about when it’s best to stain your new deck.

How much stain is needed?

1 gallon of stain is usually enough for 200 to 300 square feet of your deck. Use this table to help estimate the amount of stain you may need:

     Gallons of Stain           Square Feet Covered     
               1                     200-300     
               2                     400-600     
               3                      600-900     

The average deck can be anywhere between 300 to 400 square feet – but when calculating your stain coverage, you’ll have to think beyond your deck’s main surface. Also, keep in mind that you may want to apply more than one coat, depending on the stain you choose. 

Remember to consider:

  • Railings: You’ll want to multiply your deck railing’s length with its height (standard height is typically 3 feet, but measure to be sure). 
  • Stairs: You can measure the width and length of the treads and risers to come up with the square footage of your stairs.
  • Wood Type: Different wood types absorb stains differently. It’s important to apply only as much stain as the wood can absorb within 10 to 15 minutes. 

How long does it take stain to dry?

Most stains take only a few hours to dry, but you should try to avoid using your deck for one to two full days to make sure your new stain is not disturbed. Additionally, it’s generally best to hold off on putting heavy furniture back for anywhere between a few days and a full week.

Important: Keep in mind that these recommended times can vary with the temperature, humidity and sunshine. When we’re finished staining your deck, we can help give you a better idea for how long to let it dry based on the weather that week. 

How often should you stain your deck?

That depends on the stain you choose and the severity of the weather that year. 

Semi-transparent stains tend to last longer than solid color stains. Solid color stains typically will need to be reapplied within a year or so, while semi-transparent stains can last for a year to three years. 

But, if McKinney has a particularly intense summer or a very wet winter, this can shorten your deck stain’s longevity. 

Signs It’s Time to Stain Your Deck

  • Boards are splintery and flaky
  • Deck does not repel water (water does not bead up, it soaks into the wood) 
  • Surface is soft in areas (note: if boards are extremely soft, they may need replacement, which we can also help with)

Call Handyman Connection of McKinney for Expert Deck Maintenance 

If you’re already thinking about how to prepare your home for spring and summer, Handyman Connection of McKinney is here to help. We offer a variety of general handyman services, including decking, carpentry, electrical, plumbing and more. For expert workmanship from McKinney’s top local craftsmen, call (972) 752-6985 today. 

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