How to Refresh Stained Wood

Tips and Tricks to Paint Over Stained Wood for a Fresh New Look

Your kids play on your deck, you barbecue on your deck or you just hangout. Believe it or not, small things like grilling, playing and simply “vegging out” can take a toll on your deck. Especially since it’s outdoors, it takes the brunt of all the weather in your area, which means it needs some TLC from time to time. Here are some quick tips to show your deck some love and breathe new life into the wood—it’s like building a whole new deck without a hammer and nails. All you need is some deck stain in your choice of wood stain colors. Let’s get started!

What You Need to Refresh Your Deck

The materials you’ll need include but are not limited to:

  • Scrubbing Brush
  • Water/Hose
  • Deck Stain
  • Sealant
  • Optional: Scraper/Sander
  • Optional: Pressure Washer

We included two optional tools because we think they’ll make your life easier. You can pick up a scraping tool for a few bucks at your local hardware store and if you don’t have a pressure washer, they’re usually available for rent at the hardware store as well.

If you go the pressure washer route, This Old House suggests a power washer with 3,000 psi with a 40-degree fan tip. They also make a good point when using a power washer: “Take time to get used to the machine and make sure to use only the 40-degree fan tip. If you don’t feel comfortable directing that much power at the wood, try using a stiff-bristle scrub brush. It will produce the same result, although it will take longer and require more muscle.”

How to Refresh Your Deck


Ok, now let’s put the materials into action. Re-staining your deck is the same as a paint job, which means you need to clean the area and prep it for your new water based stain. To prep your deck, use your scraper to remove any old and loose paint and buff out any damaged areas. You can make your life a little easier by sanding the area instead of scraping (you can usually rent a sander from the store as well).

Now grab your brush and remove any additional dirt you may have missed. Home Depot advises against using a metal bristle brush on cedar or redwood because the metal bristles may scar the soft wood. Once all the gunk is gone, thoroughly clean the area with bleach or soap depending on the type of wood. Here are some tips on how to find the right cleaner: This Old House. Whether you’re using a power washer or a bucket and mop, the most important step is to let the deck completely dry before starting the deck staining process.

Now You Can Stain

The best way is to spray the large section of your deck with the stain, then to apply stain in smaller areas and in between slats with a brush. Apply the stain parallel to the deck boards. Keep in mind that wood tends to be thirsty, which means you may need more stain than you think. Prepare wisely by buying double the amount you need—remember, you can always take back what you don’t use!

Apply the next coats while the first is still wet. Apply a clear water repellant between stains for added protection against wear and tear. If any of the stain starts to puddle, take your brush to even out the muddled areas.

You’re all set! Although it’s a time-consuming process, it’s an easy way to add value to your home without breaking the bank. Don’t have time? Call our professional home painters in Huntington Beach. We take care of home interiors and exteriors. Contact us to learn more.