Deck stain sprayer

How to Stain a Deck

A deck is a great decorative and functional space where families gather for barbecues, birthday parties and loads of other fun activities. Taking care of your deck will extend how much use you can get from it. Power washing and staining can add years to an already highly useful area.

Tools & Materials

Like any project, you will need the right tools and supplies to do the job right the first time. Because the sooner you finish the sooner you can get on with well, anything you want.

Safety Goggles

Power Washer

Scrap Wood or Cardboard

Outdoor Broom/Leaf Blower

Quality Stain

Extension cord


Preparing and cleaning the surface is one of the most important parts of the staining process. Follow these simple steps to ensure your job looks great and lasts for years to come.

Video: How To Prep and Stain A Deck

Step 1 - Inspection & Repair

Before prepping the surface, repair or replace any loose or broken boards. Remove or re-nail any boards that may be loose. If nails or screws are needed, use non-rusting galvanized nails or screws.

Step 2 - Cleaning the Surface

Before you begin power washing, you should remove everything from the surface of your deck (e.g. grill, table and chairs, flower pots, etc.). Sweep any loose debris off the deck. Time saving tip, use a leaf blower to remove any debris. Hard water can create spots on glass that are difficult to remove so cover windows close to the surface of your deck to prevent extra work later on. Large water filters can be rented to treat hard water coming through a power washer.

Step 3 - Power Washing

This part of the process is very important. Without power washing your deck, the stain will not apply evenly due to marks, debris or other items obstructing the material from reaching the surface. Once your safety goggles are on, go to the farthest corner and start spraying while moving the 15-degree tip left to right just perpendicular to the decks surface. (You can go as wide as you’d like as long as you are comfortable.) Maintain, the same distance from the tip of the washer to the deck surface throughout the cleaning. Keep a minimum of 12″ when washing the railings so that you do not put a groove or pit your material.

By consistently staying with the pattern in the wood you know where you have started and stopped during the cleaning process.


Once the power washing is finished let your clean deck dry for three days. Make easy work of your staining project with a Wagner FLEXiO Sprayer.

Step 1 - Cleaning off your deck

Take a look around your newly power washed deck and remove all surface debris before you begin the staining process.

Step 2 - Protect your deck

Invest in a high-quality stain or sealer. This will better protect your deck, extend the life and have less maintenance in the future.

Step 3 - Begin staining your deck

Place the pad flat on the deck boards and begin staining. To completely saturate the surface, use a back-and-forth motion following the grain of the wood. Always finish the stroke toward the rounded end of the pad. This will prevent streaking and ensure an even coating. Using the Wagner Deck Mate makes it easy to apply a consistent amount of material with its small brush located on the bottom. This applies material between the deck boards giving it a clean, professional look.

Step 4 - Cover the railings

It’s okay to apply the material by brush. However, it will take you longer. Using the Wagner Control Stainer or FLEXiO Sprayers to spray the material will definitely be quicker while giving you a professional look and finish that will last.


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