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How to stain a deck title image

If you’re looking for an easy method for how to stain a deck, you’re going to want to keep reading.

Staining a weathered deck doesn’t have to be a big, painful project.  You don’t even have to strip off the old stain to get a fresh new look.

How do I know?  Because I stained and waterproofed my ten year old front porch in one easy step.


For some reason, when my house was built, the roof was designed so that it doesn’t fully cover the front porch.  About half of the porch is completely exposed to the weather (a lot of Seattle rain).

Yellow house with a wood front porch
My exposed front porch needs a lot of attention.

Being exposed to the weather means that the deck boards need a fair amount of attention to keep them weatherproofed and looking good.  Over time, they grow to look worn and weathered.

Weathered deck boards need to be refinished
The exposed deck boards on my front porch look weathered.

While I love DIY projects, I find maintenance projects to be a lot less fun.  That’s why I was thrilled to discover how to stain a deck, and apply waterproofing, at the same time.  I’ve done this twice now, about two years apart, to protect the wood and keep my porch looking good.

Preparing to Stain a Deck

My porch boards have never been painted, but I have used other stain and sealer products in the past.  Still, I didn’t have to do any sanding or stripping before starting this project.

About two days before I wanted to start work, I rinsed the deck off with my hose.  That helped to remove buildup of dust and pollen.  It also gave the wood plenty of time to dry again.

On staining day, I just swept off the dry porch one more time, and was ready to begin.

Sweeping a deck before refinishing
Rinsing and sweeping are the only preparation you need to do for your deck.

Apply the Deck Stain and Sealer

The Thompson’s WaterSeal Stain & Sealer product that I use is a stain and waterproofing combo.  Applying the product with a brush allows better control of the coverage, but you can also use a paint roller if you have a bigger deck.

Applying deck stain to boards with a paint brush.
I apply the deck stain with a brush, to help control the coverage.

Wearing gloves, I applied a thick coat to the most weathered boards, making sure to get the product down the sides and into any cracks.  As I got to the more protected boards, I applied less and less product.  Over-applying the product can make it sticky, because it doesn’t cure properly.

The stain comes in different colors.  I used Autumn Brown.  The great thing about this color is that it looks very similar to the color of pressure treated wood.  That helps it to blend with the treated lumber I used to build the deck.  (It reminds me a little of chocolate pudding while I’m painting it on.)

Stain the Deck in Sections

I usually stain short sections of a few deck boards, and then move down the length, until those boards are completely stained.  Then I move on to a few more boards.  Working this way keeps a “wet edge,” and helps the stain to blend better.

Stained deck boards
Stain a few boards at a time to keep a wet edge and allow the stain to blend.

Don’t Forget the Ends

Applying weatherproofing product to ends of deck boards
Apply the product to the ends of the deck boards, too.

Be sure to paint a thick coat of the product onto the ends of your boards.  This exposed area can wick in water if it’s not protected.

An Easy Way to Restain a Deck

It takes me only about an hour to stain and seal my front porch.  This simple deck weatherproofing is all it takes to get it looking great again.

It’s a good idea to apply a treatment to your deck every summer, so it will withstand harsh winter weather.  This small investment of time extends the life of your deck, and saves you from having to replace rotting boards.  Plus, it just looks good!

Stained front porch

Be sure to download your free copy of the Fall Home Maintenance Checklist for more easy projects  like this one, to keep your home looking great.

Something Else You Might Like:

The previous owners of my home didn’t believe in maintenance.  By the time I got it, the back deck was too rotten to save.  See how I replaced it with a concrete-alternative patio.

Remove a rotten deck
This deck couldn’t be saved. See what I did instead!


How to stain and seal a deck title imageEasy way to restain a deck title image

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