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outdoor deck project

How to Stain a Deck with a Paint Sprayer

Learn how to stain a deck using a Wagner paint sprayer to look great all summer long and stay protected from bad weather.

DIFFICULTY: Intermediate


I have a brand new deck on my new house y’all… which means it’s time to break out the paint sprayer for a project! Ready to get started?

The very first step is to grab supplies... including your deck stain. I wanted a solid stain to unify the porch and the stairs that I had built next to the porch. Since the woods are slightly different I didn't want a semi-transparent stain that would show the differences. I picked a solid waterbased Superdeck stain in King's Canyon.

It's a mid-gray tone that matched the samples of my siding and comes in an IR Reflective formula which means it helps to reflect sunlight and keep your deck cooler under foot. Of course, in order to really utilize that IR technology you have to put the stain on just right. Two light coats are recommended so instead of grabbing a paint brush or roller (which would put on a heavy and uneven coat) I grabbed my Wagner FLEXiO Sprayer. It’s perfect all waterbased stains and would put my new stain on evenly across the entire deck.


deck before staining


deck after staining

Prep your Space

In order to stain your deck it needs to be prepped. For a new deck that means that the boards have had time to settle in… the recommended time line is 4-8 weeks. Then you can sweep them off and go to town.

For older decks you may need to pressure wash off old stain before getting started. Luckily it’s pretty easy to check if your deck is ready to accept stain. Take a small glass of water and pour a small amount (literally like 10-20 drops) onto your wood. If the water is soaked up into the wood then you’re good to go… the boards will accept new stain. If the water is NOT SOAKED up and remains sitting on top of the boards then your wood is still sealed and you will need to remove the old stain before starting on this project.

preparing deck before staining

Cover all Walls with Plastic Drop Cloths

Since we’re spraying we’ll need a little bit more prep work: in the form of painters plastic. Basically we’re going to cover anything that we don’t want to stain. Especially since working with a paint sprayer guarantees a bit of overspray… even if it’s minimal.

For most deck’s you’ll need to cover the house siding or walls that connect to the deck. In my case I had to cover not only the house siding but all of the metal railings and columns on my deck as well. Since I have quite a few railings I decided to use painters plastic that already had painters tape attached so I could just roll and go. Then tape down the bottom of your plastic (cover the bottom of your columns) and you’re good to go.

masking deck

Start Spraying!

Then it’s time to break out your sprayer. Your Wagner FLEXiO sprayer has 2 nozzles: one for larger surfaces and one for fine finish. The larger surface nozzle can spray an 8×10 surface in a matter of minutes and can hold more paint/stain. It’s ideal for bigger projects like staining a deck.

I went ahead and filled mine up with stain and plugged it into my extension cord. Now you can start spraying! Make sure that you have the front nozzle in the correct direction so that you can spray with the grain of the wood. In this case we’re going to be spraying along our boards and the spray fan from our little gun can just about cover one board a pass… which is super convenient.

Hold your sprayer 6-12 inches away from the wood and spray consistently along the boards of your porch. Make sure to stay in constant motion so that you don’t spray too long in one spot, if there are any paint drips grab a brush or paper towel and smooth them out before they dry. Honestly this little Wagner sprayer makes it super easy to see where you’re spraying and stay consistent… I didn’t have a single spot that needed brushing out on the entire deck. Once you’ve finished the first coat check the re-coat time on your stain (mine was 2 hours) and then we’ll do another coat!

spraying deck with paint sprayer

Spray a Second Coat

Once your first coat is complete you’ll have a better idea of how the project is going to look… and how many coats you’ll need! Remember that even if your deck looks great after one coat you’ll want to do at least 2 so that it stays looking great for years to come. 2 coats of stain will help your deck to hold up to the wear and tear of daily life.

After 2 hours you’ll be able to fire up your sprayer and apply a second coat. Make sure to keep track of where you’ve sprayed as it won’t be as noticeable on the second coat! Make sure to give the second coat 2 hours to dry and then you can move on to the next step.

applying stain with paint sprayer

Remove the Painters Plastic and Touch-up

Okay y’all, if you’re spraying the entire area (including the railings) or you don’t have railings you might be able to skip the touch-up step. For those of us with a few harder to reach areas we’ll need a few minutes with a brush. Just hit the ends of the boards or areas the sprayer couldn’t reach (under the railing)

Then it’s time to remove the painters plastic! This is kind of the best moment since the plastic comes down so. much. easier. than it went up! Just grab and pull… for the most part the plastic should come right off. Once the plastic is off you can go around and double check all the bottoms of the columns and weird spots on the railings that might need touch up.

painting edges with sprayer

Let your deck cure

I know, I know… it looks dry and beautiful and you want to move your rockers or table back onto your deck right. this. second. But keep in mind that it may be a few days before you can put furniture back on your deck. Just because it’s dry to the touch (or able to be walked on) doesn’t mean it’s cured! Make sure to read the instructions on your stain can so you know how long a cure time to allow.

removing clothes from deck

Decorate and Enjoy!

Now that your deck is stained and cured it’s time to put it back together! This is LITERALLY my absolute favorite part. We moved my lockers back and put up a few ferns… as well as the planters I had put together in preparation of this day. Overall… I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!

This porch project was so much fun, it took a total of 3 days (day 1: prep work, day 2: staining, day 3: putting things back!!) and I cannot believe how well it turned out. I am very proud of my work here!

This sponsored post was created by Happily Ever After Etc. Head to the blog for the full post and details.

decorating deck with paint sprayer
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