Frequently Asked Stain Questions

Have questions about how to stain your deck or wood project? Check out the frequently asked staining questions below for helpful tips and tricks.

Do I need to clean my deck prior to staining?

Yes. It's important to remove all dirt and contaminants from the surface of the wood to ensure stain penetration and maximum durability. Cleaning the deck prior to staining is critical for a beautiful long-lasting finish. Olympic® Premium Deck Cleaner deep cleans to remove dirt and mildew stains.

How long should I allow my wood to weather prior to putting stain on it?

Today's products do not require that you allow the wood to dry out like you would have in the past. Once the structure is in place, you can begin your staining project.

How do I know if I need to sand my deck prior to staining?

If the wood has never been coated previously, it is always good practice to sand the surface. This ensures the stain will properly soak into the wood and have a nice uniform finish. If you have previously stained your deck, you can place a piece of tape on the deck and see if wood fibers pull off onto the tape. If that happens then it is time to sand again.

How do I know it is time to restain my clear, toner or semi-transparent stain?

Over time, your stain will break down and allow new stain to soak into the wood. To test your existing stain's effectiveness, perform a simple water test by putting a small amount of water in a few areas of the deck. If after a couple minutes the water soaks in, the wood is ready to be stained. If the water is repelled and just lays on the surface your sealer is still working and you would need to strip and sand prior to restaining.

How long do I have to wait to restain my solid color stain?

Solid stain is much easier to recoat, as there is not a minimum recoat time like there is with the clear, toners and semi-transparent stains. You can recoat at any time to freshen up or change the color of your solid stain with a simple cleaning and recoating of the same product.

If I want to ensure that I have the best long-lasting finish, what steps should I take?

To ensure that you have the best looking project it is recommended to do the following steps. Strip off any old stain that may be there. Clean with Olympic® Premium Deck Cleaner and sand the surface to remove any loose wood fibers and contamination and ensure that the new coating soaks in evenly. Pick the finish that you want and apply accordingly.

How many coats of stain should I apply?

That depends upon what type of stain you are using. Clears, toners, and semi-transparent stains only require one thin coat applied. Solid color stains require two coats for optimum durability.

What is the best method to apply my stain?

The best method to apply stain is by brush. This ensures that the stain is applied evenly and has a nice uniform finish. If wanting to roll or spray, please always make sure you back brush. See our how to appy clear, toner or semi-transparent stain and our how to apply a solid color stain videos for more information.

What is one tip I can use to ensure my project turns out the way I want it?

To ensure your project turns out the way you want, properly prepare a test patch area. This allows you to look at a small area to see how the finish will look. Any changes in color or additional prep work that is needed can then be determined with minimal effort.