How to Prepare a Deck for Staining

Step One: Inspection & Sanding

The first step in your deck preparation project is to give your deck a thorough once over. As you inspect it, take the time to clear dirt or debris from the crevices between the planks and remove or fix any protruding nails. This is also the perfect time to ensure your deck is still in good condition. You will want to keep an eye out for: wood rot, softness in the planks and splintering wood. If your deck is experiencing any of those issues, it is best to repair them before staining. 

Once you’ve removed any all and debris, it’s time to sand! You will want to sand down any rough areas to flatten the deck’s surface and make sure the deck is consistently smooth and flat throughout the entirety of the deck. If your deck is brand new, you get to skip this entire first step – lucky you!

Step Two: Cleaning

Although cleaning your deck prior to staining it is essential to remove and dirt, dust and grime, it is also needed to remove any product residue that might be left on your deck. Many wood preserving products contain wax and silicone, which can prevent the stain from sticking to your deck’s surface. To properly clean your deck, choose a cleanser that will remove old stain and sealers so that all the wax residue will be removed. 

To clean your deck, add your carefully chosen cleanser to your sprayer, and work in small sections. Completely clean each small section before moving onto the next one. You will have the entire deck done in no time!

Step Three: Power Washing

After your deck is cleaned, it needs to be rinsed! No matter if your deck is old or new, it’s a best practice to power wash it clean before attempting to stain it. This makes sure there is absolutely nothing on the deck that could prevent the stain from adhering properly to the wood. 

After you power wash the deck, you will want to give it at least 48 hours to dry before the staining team is scheduled to come. If your deck is in the shade, wait at least 72 hours for it to dry. The stain won’t adhere properly if your deck is still wet!

Although preparing your deck to be stained will take some extra time on your end, it will pay off in the long run. If you don’t take the extra time to sand, clean and power wash your deck, you can expect your stain to come out uneven, or worse, not work at all. 

If you’re ready to have your deck stained, give our experts a call today! 

This is guest post by Alexis Krasinski: Alexis Krasinski is a freelance writer who specializes in everything from landscaping to skincare. She can be reached at