The Best Way to Stain or Paint a Deck

The Best Way to Stain or Paint a Deck

No matter how you slice it, wooden decks require regular maintenance to keep them looking good. Weather and sun exposure wreak havoc on the wood. Improperly applied paint, stain or skimpy prep work can contribute to the problem. Most of the work that goes into refinishing a deck begins before you open the first can of stain. Solid prep work makes applying the finish a breeze and contributes to better quality results.

Tools You’ll Need

Before starting your deck-refinishing project, make sure you have the right tools. • The most efficient way to apply stain to a deck is with a Wagner FLEXiO sprayer and a RENUVO deck-staining tool . • For prep work, you’ll need basic hand tools (screwdrivers, hammer, etc.), plastic sheeting, and heavy-duty tape. If your deck has cracked or peeling paint, use a Wagner Paint Eater, deck cleaning solution and a pressure washer. • For protection, wear safety glasses and a mask.

Inspect and Repair

Inspect the deck for structural damage. Gently poke any suspicious-looking wood with a screwdriver to check for rot, and replace boards if needed. Examine the connections between the house and the deck, and check for bent, missing or rusted flashing. If necessary, tighten the fasteners that hold the deck to the house and replace any popped-up nails or loose screws.

Remove Old Stain and Pressure Wash

If your deck has cracked or peeling stain, remove it with a Wagner Paint Eater instead of a paint scraper. The job will go much faster. Place the tool on the surface and use a gentle circular motion to remove the loose stain. If your deck wood has mildew or mold, clean it with a pressure washer and an appropriate deck-cleaning product to kill the fungi and deep clean the wood. Hold the sprayer at a 15-degree angle, at least 12" above the surface of deck planking or wood railings. Move the wand across the grain – left to right and perpendicular to the boards in an even, consistent motion – to avoid pitting or grooving the wood. Allow it to dry thoroughly – at least 24 to 48 hours – before staining.

Prep to Stain

Sweep off loose debris that may have accumulated during the drying process. Cover the area around the deck with plastic sheeting to protect the house, yard and landscaping from spills or drips.

Apply Stain

For staining the railings and balusters, a Wagner FLEXiO paint sprayer will provide the best coverage. Simply follow the instructions for preparing the sprayer, fill the cup with stain and start spraying. For a smooth, even coat, hold the sprayer about 6-12" from the surface, moving back and forth at a consistent speed, with a 50 percent overlap for each pass.

For the floor boards, use a Wagner RENUVO painting tool. Follow the instructions for assembling the RENUVO and fill it with stain. Set the RENUVO pad onto the deck surface and use a mopping, back and forth motion to apply the stain. The groove brush applies stain in between the boards, while the large pad stains the top of the boards. Finish the boards with one long pass for the most even coverage.

Once you’ve completed the first coat of stain, allow the deck to dry completely and repeat with a second coat. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the sprayer. When the stain or paint has completely dried, remove all the plastic and tape from the deck and enjoy. Enjoy the beauty of your deck all season long, knowing you have protected your investment.

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