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How to Prep a Deck for Staining

The Most Important Step

Don’t give up on your deck! No matter how dull and grey, no matter how many layers are peeling away. You CAN fall in love with your outdoor space again by restoring your deck.

Proper preparation is THE MOST important part of a great results. About 95% of exterior deck finish failures are due to improper preparation. Deck stains require a clean, sound surface to penetrate – free of dirt, dust, grease, mildew, loose wood fibres, mill glaze and barbecue sauce. So don’t skip the prep step!

Read on, watch the video, then download this handy how-to guide for when you’re ready to start.

ProTip: Take the Droplet Test

Sprinkle some water onto your deckboards. Does it bead? If so, then the water isn’t penetrating the wood – and neither will your stain. You’ll need to clean and sand to recover the wood and allow for maximum absorption of your stain.

Step 1: Choose Your Cleaner

Choose which Benjamin Moore concentrated cleaner you need based on the condition of your deck. One 3.87L jug makes up to 30 litres of cleaner!

Grey, Weathered Wood?

So you haven’t touched a deckboard since the deck was built, and there’s green mould behind the garbage bucket you’re fairly sure science hasn’t discovered yet? You need RESTORE. Use RESTORE to remove dead wood fibres, heavy mould or mildew. Pair with BRIGHTEN to finish the job, and you’ll be amazed by the transformation.

Already Stained Wood?

If you’ve previously stained your deck and are ready for a re-coat, be sure to remove those extra layers of existing stain so the new coat can fully penetrate all areas. REMOVE Finish Remover will remove existing oil and/or latex finishes, even solid colour stains and water sealers. Pair with BRIGHTEN to finish the process and neutralize the residue.

Unfinished Wood?

If you’ve been good with regular deck upkeep and maintaining that clean, golden glow each season, you may be able to skip right to CLEAN. Benjamin Moore’s Multi-Purpose cleaner removes surface dirt, mould and mildew for a fresh deck each year and a clean starting surface if you’re finally ready to commit to a stain colour.

Brand New Wood?

“Mill Glaze” is found on all new wood, and it interferes with the adhesion and penetration of stain. Benjamin Moore’s specialized cleaner, BRIGHTEN, will remove this mill glaze. Sand with 80 grit sandpaper to give your boards the extra “teeth” required for the stain to penetrate.

Step 2: Get Cleaning

Use a scrub brush with an extension pole to rid your deck of old mildew, loose wood fibres, dirt and grease. This combination will also remove the factory applied mill glaze on new wood.

Once scrubbed, rinse away cleaner and debris, and let dry.

Step 3: Sand & Sweep

Pair the extension pole with a pole sander and 80-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of your deck boards. This will improve the boards’ ability to absorb stain.

Be sure to sweep away any loose dust after sanding.

And you are now ready to stain! Read how to stain your deck to get started >>

If you have questions and want expert advice, stop by the Benjamin Moore Paint Shop nearest you! We’re Here to Help.

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