Staining protects the deck from outer elements that can quickly accelerate wear and tear. Proper maintenance of decks is essential because they generally remain exposed to harsh weather conditions, including heavy rain and sunlight. Deck staining helps guard against damage from water, mould, rot and ultraviolet (UV). Whether it is about staining your newly built decks for the first time or restaining your existing decks, one question that might come to your mind is how to stain a deck.

As professional house painters in Sydney, we have come up with a proper step-by-step guideline to stain your deck.


  • High-quality paint brush
  • Hose line with trigger gun
  • Stiff brush
  • Paint roller
  • Paint stirrer
  • Sandpaper
  • Lambswool applicator
  • Long handled broom
  • Paint tray
  • Drop cloth
  • Rags
  • Deck cleaner
  • Deck stain

Step 1: Prepare the surface

Before staining a deck, you need to inspect the surface properly to remove debris and other imperfections. It will be a smart move to select a sunny day with no forecast for rain. At first, use an 80-grit sander and sand the deck in the direction of the wood grain. After that, start with sweeping with a broom to remove wood dust particles. For a newly built deck, It will be enough, but If it is an older one, it requires a deck cleaner. To get a proper clean surface, mix deck cleaner and scrub the deck with it using a stiff brush. Make sure you are scrubbing in the direction of the wood grain.

Pro tips: A deck cleaner can make your deck dark in colour, so try to follow up with a deck cleaner with a deck brightener for natural colour.

Step 2: Pressure washing

After scrubbing the surface, it is now time to thoroughly clean it with pressure washing. Using a pressure washer, rinse off the cleaner after 15 minutes, but make sure the pressure is not too intense; thus, your deck wood gets damaged. Wash your deck with the lowest possible power setting. It might take repeated washing, depending on how dirty the deck is. After proper cleaning, make it completely dry for the next step. It may take 24 to 48 hours to dry the surface properly, depending on the weather.

Step 3: Add painters’ tape and create a plan

In this step, add painter’s tape in the areas where exterior walls are adjacent to the deck. It will protect your wall from deck stains. Before moving into the staining process, determine your starting and finishing points for easy entry and exit. Otherwise, you can get trapped in a corner while the stain dries.

Step 4: Cut in and stain the deck

When the deck is dry, it’s time to stain the deck. Start with cutting in the boards without touching any other surface. Never cut all the board together to avoid lap marks. It is better to cut in 2 boards and stain them fully with a lambswool applicator properly dipped into a stain tray.

Then, move on to the next two boards. Don’t make the stain too thick to avoid peeling problems in the future. For this, use a brush-on and brush-off technique. That means when you completely stain two boards, finish with brushing off the whole length.

After drying the first coat, apply the second to make it long-lasting. If you want your deck stain peeling and fading-free for longer, then go for a third coat. At last, remove the tape and let the final coat dry for 48 hours for a smooth finish before walking on it.

Wrap up

Staining a deck is an easy yet tricky job. Following the above step, you can easily make your deck long-lasting with proper staining. Moreover, if you want to consult with expert residential painters near you, Priority One Coating is always ready to help you with the best service.