6 Things to Avoid When Staining Your Deck | The Deck People

The Deck People

6 Things to Avoid When Staining Your Deck

A beautiful deck is a great place to relax, have fun with your family, host a BBQ or two and entertain guests. However, as it is exposed to Mother Nature’s relentless elements, whether harsh sunlight, rain, snow, or everything in between, it requires and deserves protection. One of the most efficient tools in your arsenal of deck protection is staining it. 

Staining a deck is not as straightforward as it may seem. You can’t just grab a stain and start spreading it on. There are several factors you must consider before diving in if you want to get the best results. Today, we’ll look at six common mistakes to avoid when staining your deck, ensuring you can get the most out of your deck.

1. Skipping Surface Preparation

Many homeowners commit the biggest error even before the first drop of stain hits the deck by skipping the proper surface preparation. The first step is to thoroughly clean and sand the deck. Failing to do so can lead to the stain adhering unevenly or not at all and cause premature peeling and flaking. Staining over dirt, mould, or damaged wood can make existing issues worse and, ultimately, even jeopardize the structural integrity of your whole deck.

So, while the deck cleaning adds some time and effort, power washing your deck to remove dirt and debris and sanding it to smooth out any imperfections while opening up the wood pores can yield significant results. 

2. Ignoring Weather Conditions

Obviously, staining a deck when it’s raining just doesn’t work, but the temperature can also greatly influence the quality of your project. The optimal staining temperature lies between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius and low humidity to get the best results. If you stain in sweltering conditions, your stain may dry too quickly and give issues with an uneven application or potential flaking. At the same time, weather that is too cold or humid can interfere with drying and curing, leaving the surface tacky and potentially attracting dirt and debris to stick to your stain.

Deck staining

3. Choosing the Wrong Stain Type

Not all deck stains are created equal, and selecting the wrong type for your deck can lead to less-than-optimal results. The three main stain categories are transparent, semi-transparent, and solid, with different levels of protection and aesthetic appeal. Transparent stains highlight the natural beauty of the wood grain but, as a consequence, also offer minimal UV protection, meaning you’ll have to reapply the stain more frequently. Semi-transparent stains provide a balance of colour and protection while still allowing some wood grain to show through. Finally, solid stains fully cover the wood but offer the most extensive protection and colour coverage. Among the factors to consider are your deck’s wood type, age, and the look you want to go for.

4. Applying Too Much Stain

It might be tempting to go with the old adage of “the more, the better,” but in the case of deck stain, that is not the case. Trying to apply too much stain can result in poor absorption, uneven colouration and a sticky, tacky finish that can attract dirt and debris while drying. So, instead of slathering on the stain, use a brush, roller or sprayer for a thin, even coating. Working in small sections can help you ensure thorough and even coverage without pooling or dripping. If there’s excess pooling on the surface, use a brush or roller to spread it out evenly before it dries and leaves an uneven mark on the wood. It’s always easier to add more stain than to remove excess once it has dried.

5. Neglecting Edges and Corners

Many homeowners focus on the main traffic areas when applying stain and either forget or neglect the harder-to-reach areas like edges and corners. However, this results in uneven colouration throughout the deck and can lead to premature wear and tear. Use a brush or small roller to reach those tight spaces and ensure they also get enough coverage to protect your deck from end to end. This will result in a more uniform finish for the whole deck and avoid these corners aging and deteriorating faster than the rest. 


6. Forgetting Maintenance and Reapplication

As much as we all wish that we could just stain a deck and then forget about it, it’s easy to forget that it is exposed to weather and foot traffic year-round. Even the most durable stain will experience deterioration, so to keep things fresh and protected, it will require regular maintenance and reapplication. Skipping this can lead to fading, cracking, and peeling and compromise the appearance and integrity of your deck. 

How often you have to reapply the stain depends on a few factors, so you must keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear, such as fading colour or chipping and flaking and schedule regular maintenance as needed. Depending on these factors, including climate and usage, you may have to restain your deck every two to five years to keep it looking and working its best.


Proper deck staining is more than just taking some stain and applying it, and the attention to detail and best practices can give you longer-lasting results that will also protect your deck from deterioration. A regular deck maintenance schedule can help you keep on track and ensure you can keep your deck in top shape for many years to come.

Contact The Deck People for a free, professional consultation to get the best and longest-lasting results. Our specialists can inspect your deck and identify potential issues as the first step toward a great outdoor living space you can enjoy for years.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward a vibrant and well-maintained deck, look no further than The Deck People, your deck contractors for deck staining Toronto. With our expertise and commitment to excellence, we stand ready to elevate your outdoor living experience. Explore the possibilities, unlock the potential, and entrust your deck to the professionals who understand the art and science of deck staining.

We value transparency and honest workmanship and treat you like a good neighbour. Contact The Deck People today at 416-949-3874 or fill out our convenient online form to learn how we can help you with our professional deck staining service. Your deck deserves nothing less than the best, and so do you.

About the author

Darren G. Hoffman

Darren G. Hoffman

Meet Darren G. Hoffman, an authority in the realm of Industry-Leading Cleaning, Staining, and Painting Services. With extensive expertise in staining/sealing, painting techniques, soft washing/power washing methodologies, and brightening/stripping methodologies, Darren brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Through his insightful blogs, he not only shares valuable tips but also ensures readers stay abreast of the latest developments in the field. Darren G. Hoffman is a prolific contributor at "The Deck People," where his articles serve as a guiding light for enthusiasts and professionals alike. His passion for excellence and commitment to delivering actionable insights make his contributions an indispensable resource. Whether it's uncovering the nuances of staining techniques or exploring innovative painting methods, Darren's articles are a must-read for anyone seeking expert guidance in the domain of cleaning, staining, and painting services.

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