How to Maintain Your Deck Stain and Keep It Looking Great

There are few things as classic and universally loved as a charming and well-cared for stained wood deck. Whether a rich warm Cedar wood, clean-looking pressure-treated pine material, indulgent hardwood decking; a stunning DIY deck build with natural wood, and a perfect coat of deck stain is almost a part of the American dream.

Wood Deck vs Composite Decking

As technology and innovation move forward, however, many homeowners and deck builders are choosing decking materials with a low-level of efforts such as composite decking, aluminum decking, and PVC deck boards. These alternative decking materials typically feature a durable capstock that prevents water-damage, fading, and staining meaning they're long-lasting and low-maintenance.

So while composite decking is rising in popularity across the US, the most popular deck material throughout the country remains natural wood lumber coated with deck stain.

How to Keep a Stained Deck Looking Great

Learn these 5 easy tips on how to maintain your deck stain for an enduring outdoor living space that requires less annual effort than ever before.

As always please wear protective eyeglasses or goggles and safety gloves before working with any chemicals, tools, or sharp materials.

How to Maintain Your Deck Stain for Years

Keeping your stained wood deck looking great for decades to come can be easy with these tips and tricks from DecksDirect

1. Allow New Wood Decking to Dry Out a Bit

All new wood shows improvements and benefits from weathering, or drying out, prior to staining. Weathering allows that natural atmosphere to dry the moisture out of the wood fibers to make it more absorbent to any liquids applied. The weathering process naturally starts breaking down the surface fiber of the wood to remove any mill residue or green finish.

The more porous that you can make the decking lumber, the more stain the natural wood fibers will absorb and accept. This will help your deck stain project last longer and be less likely to peel in the months to come.

2. Clean and Brighten Old Wood Decking

Applying a wood cleaner and wood brightener to an existing deck provides more value and positivity than simply making the lumber look nice. Both parts of the deck cleaning process open the pores of the decking material more to create an open, clear foundation for a smooth level of deck stain or penetrating oil.

Simply power-washing alone will not improve the overall absorption level of the wood deck, instead, apply cleaners and the brighteners every time before staining.

3. Avoid Applying Too Much Stain

One of the most crucial factors in staining a deck is remembering to only use a moderate amount. Applying more stain will certainly make DIY deck renovations feel like they're going smoothly, however, you'll find it only becomes more difficult.

Painting on more stain than necessary will generally build up on the surface of the wood and form a film. When a film is formed, the breathability of the wood is decreased, increasing the likelihood of peeling. Even worse, too much stain or oil can create a tacky, sticky surface that pollen, fallen leaves, and debris can get caught. Apply only as much stain as the wood can easily absorb, and give your deck a thorough wipe-down to remove any excess.

From learning how to maintain your deck stain and keep it looking great to caring for composite decking, turn to DecksDirect

4. Use a Brush or Hard-Bristled Broom to Apply Wood Stain

Always use a brush when applying stains or deck oils and it will make a huge difference in your results. As the bristles of the brush to work back and forth across the surface of the wood, they will slowly break down the surface tension of the lumber.

This will allow the stain to soak deep into the wood be more absorbed into the plank for a longer-lasting look. If spraying or rolling the stain onto your deck, we recommend working the surface of the decking material with a brush to aid the stain getting into the wood.

5. Choose a Deeper Color of Stain

In general, the more opaque or darker a wood stain, the more protection it will offer, and the longer it will endure. With darker stains and oils, less of the wood decking's character comes through, however, the lasting range can be improved by years. Over time, the stain will slowly lighten to allow the wood grain to shine through for the best of both worlds!


You can also clean mold from decking, remove moss from your deck, and clean algae from wood with our deck cleaners and brighteners: Messner’s Cleaner and Brightener or the DeckWise Wood Deck Cleaner and Brightener. In stock and ready to use, these cleaners prevent mold, block algae growth, and bring new life back to your outdoor space.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! To learn more about how to build your family's dream outdoor space or keep your home's deck in tip-top shape for decades, give one of our deck designers a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at hello@decksdirect.com. Our deck experts will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for a gorgeous deck that you created and designed!