Staining Wood Decks, Siding and Fences

Staining Wood Decks, Siding and Fences

Staining wood decks, siding and fences can be a little challenging if you’re a novice. Luckily for you, Home Smart used to do wood deck restoration but phased it out a few years ago. Because our fantastic customers can’t find painters to do these smaller job, we’re taking on deck projects now. If you have bare wood and the wood is in great shape or it’s cedar, transparent stain is a great way to go because it will enhance the beauty of the wood and is a low maintenance product.

Preparing the deck

Cleaning is essential. We don’t recommend bleach or expensive cleaners. Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate is a product that turns into  hydrogen peroxide with an added cleaner. It is actually safe to ingest and leaves no residue. It is a disinfectant so it will kill off any growth on your deck and after a light power washing, you’re ready for sanding.  (If you want to go with a ready made wood deck cleaning system, try Penofin cleaners, brighteners and strippers. You can get these at Windsor Plywood). Sanding basically opens up the wood so that lots of the stain can get into the fibers of the wood. For the walking surface you don’t want to have your wood smooth. You want a 60 – 80 grit paper. If you use 100 -120 your deck will be slippery. If you’re not an expert, you are best off using a random orbital sander. Belt sanders or the big drum sanders you can rent are very difficult to use. Believe me; don’t try it. After sanding you can blow off the deck if you have a leaf blower or broom off the dust or vacuum it up. If you don’t have a blower, rinsing off the deck with a hose is probably best but you’ll have to wait a few days for the wood to dry again.


Personally I believe that brushing the stain in is the best. You can use a roller but brush it in after you’ve rolled out a couple of boards. With a hybrid oil stain like the one talked about in the video below, applying it is dead easy. The only mistake you can really make is if you don’t wipe off any excess stain that might be sitting on top after a few minutes. It is really important to do the whole length of any board in one go. Don’t stop half way along a board and wait a few minutes because a lap mark will form. Rolling out 3 boards at a time is a good rule of thumb.


What product is best

I like pure oil stains. Water hybrid stains are harder to work with and don’t penetrate into the wood as deep. I just don’t like them as much. I don’t want to bad mouth any product so I’ll just say that we now use Cabot Australian Timber Oil for hybrid stains. The video above is about this product. Click here if you want to see our video about a pure oil stain called Ace. The reviews online for Cabot are a little above average. There are products that are rated higher but availability is the issue. I have customers that have used this on their decks and I personally found this stain to be really beautiful and it seemed to wear quite well after two years. No matter what you use on a walkable surface, you will always have to restain at least every couple of  years. At least with transparent stains, it’s pretty easy to do. If you have any questions or want an estimate for a staining project, give us a call or email using a request form by clicking here. I hope you found this helpful.