Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Exterior Staining Guide

Step by Step

1. Read all product labels carefully, follow all instructions closely and ensure you prepare your deck correctly.

a) Clear your workspace by removing as many items as you can (planters, hoses, outdoor furniture). Cover items (steps, plants sidewalks, paths).

b) Examine the deck. Make any necessary repairs before you start staining (caulk seams, filler hole or gauges).

c) Stains require a clean, sound surface free of dirt, dust, grease, mildew, loose wood fibers and mill glaze. Use cleaners, removers and 80-grit sandpaper to ensure your surface is stainable.


2. After your wood is properly prepared, select an inconspicuous place to test your stain selection and preview final results.

a) The natural color or grain of the wood itself can greatly influence the final color.

b) Rough surfaces hold more color than smooth surfaces.


3. Once you are happy with your color selection begin by staining the vertical sections such as siding, railings and posts to prevent drips and splatters from landing on previously finished areas.

a) Brushing is the recommended application method for staining. If you roll or spray, always back brush.

b) Always apply stain in the direction of the grain of the wood.


4. Once vertical surfaces are complete, proceed to the deck/horizontal surface. Work two or three boards at a time and avoid stopping in the middle of the board to avoid developing lap marks.

a) Make sure to wipe up any excess stain. Don't let stain puddle on the surface.

b) To ensure proper stain penetration and even drying results, avoid applying stain in direct sunlight.



Stir stains frequently during application to maintain color uniformity.

The best time to stain is when temperatures are moderate (between 50℉ and 95℉), humidity is low average and nor rain is in the forecast. Ideally, you should start exterior projects after three or four consecutive dry days. If possible, complete your project within one week of surface preparation.


Waterborne vs Classic Oil Stain


Classic oil

Clean up easily, dry quickly and provide excellent UV protection, which slows down fading of wood's color, known as graying.

Penetrate deep into the wood, resulting in a uniform finish that protects the wood inside and out. Oils are proven to minimize peeling and cracking and are easy to recoat. More prone to mildew.


Stain Opacity



Durability: A+

Provides the most shielding and color while covering the majority of imperfections. All color while lightly allowing the texture of the wood to show through.


Semi Solid

Durability: A

Provides a barrier with even more color while covering most imperfections. Ideal for softwoods.


Semi Transparent

Durability: B+

Allows most of the grain pattern to show through with a bit more color while providing additional protection. Ideal for softwoods.


Translucent / Toner

Durability: B

Offers protection while allowing the grain pattern and texture to show through with the lightest tone. Ideal for hardwoods.



Durability: B-

A clear protective coating with no color added. Shows the natural beauty of wood. Some clears do not have UV protection.



Browse Our Selection of Exterior Stain Products

Shop now