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Stain a deck or outdoor wood structure

  • Difficulty: hammer hammer
    Close Difficulty
    Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
    Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
    Experienced Do-It-Yourselfer - Difficult
    Professional - Expert
  • Completion Time : Week-end Project

In a long weekend, revamp your dilapidated deck or other outdoor wood structure with a fresh application of stain. The even color, as well as its protective properties, make staining your wooden structure both an aesthetic and functional project. Further, the new stain job will likely add curb appeal and even bring additional value to your home.<br />The procedure is easy: remove the old protection and apply the new. Depending on the structure, though, the process can be time-consuming and tedious. Save yourself time, energy and maybe even a few dollars by reading the tips below to help your project move along quicker. Decide on the proper stain for your project, and soon you’ll be enjoying your freshly stained deck (or other outdoor wood structure). <br />


Tools and materials required


  • Paint brushes (large and small)
  • Belt sander
  • Broom
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sanding bloc
  • Scraper
  • Spatula
  • Steel wool


  •  Chemical or water-based paint remover
  •  Heat gun
  •  Sand paper
  •  Stain

Before Assembly


You may choose from two types of removers:

  • Methyl chloride- or sodium hydroxide-based paint removers are quick: they work and dry in less than 15 minutes. They - and their fumes - are flammable and toxic.
  • Water-based removers are just as efficient, but slower.


Stains are available in transparent, semi-transparent or opaque oil or latex bases. They do not require a primer, are applied to unpainted wood, and only require one coat to treat and colour wood. Stains form a thin film on the surface of the wood, as does paint. But stains offer better protection than paint as they are less inclined to peel or flake. Because they are so thin, stains results in a semi-porous surface. Light coloured opaque stains tend to yellow with time. Stains that call for a coat of protective varnish should be avoided outdoors as they tend to flake.


The application of wood preservative should, ideally, be done in the shade or under a light sun, on a surface that has been completely dry for at least 48 hours. Plan to let dry for 12 to 24 hours after application

  • Make sure the structure is solid and stable, and adjust if needed.
  • Tighten any screws, anchors and nails.
  • Replace any parts that are damaged.


Treated wood should be handled with precautions.

  • Wear gloves and long sleeves when handling treated wood to avoid skin contact and to protect against splinters.
  • Wear dust mask, eye protection, gloves and long sleeves when sawing, sanding or shaping treated wood to avoid skin contact with or inhalation of sawdust, to protect against splinters and to protect eyes from flying particles. When making cross cuts, use a cut sealer as the factory-treatment rarely goes to the heartwood.

During construction:

  • Use nails, screws, bolts, connectors and other hardware resistant to corrosion: stainless steel, hot-dipped galvanized, yellow zinc or other hardware specially coated for outdoor use. Ordinary fasteners will rust, causing unsightly stains that will weaken the structure, ultimately causing it to fail.
  • Make certain the wood is thoroughly dry before painting or staining, and follow the coating manufacturer's recommendations. Use only good quality oil or acrylic coatings on water repellent pressure treated wood.
  • Do not dispose of treated wood remnants or sawdust in compost heaps, wood chips, or mulch. Do not use it as animal bedding or litter.
  • Never burn treated wood.


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