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Weather and time can take their toll on your deck and fencing, making the exterior of your home appear tired and worn out. The good news is that you can bring decks and fences back to life by painting or staining. You may be tempted to try doing the work yourself over a weekend but if you’re inexperienced, you could make the situation worse by prepping incorrectly or using the wrong materials. Preserve the value of your home by making the investment in a skilled painting contractor who will provide you with long-lasting, top-quality results.

Great Guys Painting will help you find experts in your area who are professional, punctual, and precise. We will match you with specialized deck and fence staining and painting pros who are licensed, insured and qualified to handle any job—large or small. Click now to request and compare quotes from highly-rated painters near you!

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Deck & Fence Painting & Staining 

Wood fences and decks are highly durable and attractive, but it’s necessary to stain or paint them to prolong their lifespan. Staining is easy if your wood surfaces are free of paint, but you have several options if they were previously painted. Following are the steps the pros take to paint or stain a deck or fence.


If your surfaces were painted and are currently peeling or flaking, they will need to be scraped before re-finishing. Your contractors will remove loose paint with hand-held scrapers, being careful not to gouge the wood underneath. If they are staining, they will strip all of the paint off with chemical strippers to reveal the natural beauty of the bare wood underneath. If the paint itself was in good condition, they may be able to stain over the paint after a thorough cleaning.

Power Washing

After any loose paint has been removed, contractors will clean all surfaces to rid them of dirt, debris, and mildew. They’ll wash the boards with a chemical deck, fence, and patio wash and then scrub the surface with a stiff-bristled brush while it’s still wet. The cleaner will sit on the wood for 10 minutes or so, and then be washed off with a strong garden hose or power washer. This will ensure that all of the surfaces are free of detritus that might get stuck in the paint or stain and be visible.


After washing, repairs should be made with wood filler to any boards that have been damaged. Then, those spots, and any other rough patches, will be lightly sanded with 120-grit sandpaper to ensure a smooth finish. The entire deck will then be lightly sanded with a pole or handheld sander so that it absorbs the paint or stain well. Once everything has been prepped, the crew will wash away any remaining debris and allow the boards to dry. 


Once the deck or fence has dried thoroughly, it’s ready for painting or staining. First, the pros will prime the areas to be painted with an exterior primer that prevents the natural oils in the wood from bleeding through into the paint. Then, they’ll paint with either an oil-based paint, which is better with moisture or exterior latex paint which is more fade resistant. Depending on the type of paint you’ve chosen, they’ll apply one or two coats to fully cover the old paint or stain. Paint is highly popular due to its durability (lasts 10 years or longer), versatility (you can choose any color you want), and easy maintenance (the smooth surface is very easy to clean).


If you’ve chosen to stain your deck, the finish will be applied to the floorboards with a paint pad applicator in long, even strokes. Smaller sections, like the steps and railing, and fencing will be painted by hand with a paintbrush. Professional stainers work quickly, making sure the finish is applied evenly without puddling (which results in darker spots). Once applied, the stain will form a thin film over the wood, creating a protective layer that lets the wood’s natural grain show through. Staining is very popular due its affordability and the lustrous, natural look it provides. Stain is easy to apply and lasts a long time, although quite not as long as paint. 

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How Professionals Stain and Seal Decking

You’ve weighed all the options and decided to stain your deck. Not only will it look great, but your deck will also last longer once it’s protected from the elements. Following are the steps the pros take to stain and seal decking.

1. Wait For Good Weather

The staining and sealing process can be negatively affected by rainy, hot, or humid weather. Plan to undertake this project at a time when the forecast is clear and the temperature is between 50°-90° for three to five days. 

2. Choose the Deck Stain

Your first step is to choose a deck stain. The more opaque the finish, the longer it’s likely to last. But lighter, more transparent shades are nice choices as they let the natural grain of the wood show through. There are many stains to choose from. Clear or wood-toned finishes bring out the wood’s innate beauty and make it glow. Semi-transparent stains show the grain but add a little pigmentation that’s designed to augment the wood’s tone. And solids or semi-solids conceal the grain for the most part but provide you with rich, intense color.

3. Clean the Deck

The first thing your painting crew will do is clean the deck. Newly installed decks will need to have the “mill scale” removed (leftover bits that may still be stuck to the boards from the lumber being cut). Older decks will be scrubbed down with sodium percarbonate wood cleaners to remove surface-level dirt. If the decking is stained, spots should be removed with a stain stripper. Finally, if tough stains won’t lift, they may need to be removed with a sander. 

4. Wash Off Debris

Next, the painters will wash off the chemicals and sanding residue with a strong garden hose and leave the decking to dry.

5. Mask Off Nearby Surfaces

Before the staining process begins, the painters will cover any areas that might get splashed with plastic and/or tape. This could include the siding on your house, nearby plants or ground underneath a raised deck. 

6. Repair and Sand

Now that the wood has been cleaned, you should be able to see if any repairs are necessary. Loose or broken boards should be replaced before staining, and any cracks filled with wood caulk. Wood absorbs color the best when it’s bare, so painters will make sure to sand all surfaces thoroughly before staining begins. Then they’ll do a final wash with a strong garden hose or a power wash to ensure the surface is clean and ready to stain.

7. Apply Stain

The deck must be completely dry for the stain to take, so it’s best to start in the morning after the sun has dried all of the surfaces. Stain can be applied in a variety of ways. Depending on the size of the surface to be covered, the painters may use a sprayer, a roller, and/or a paintbrush to get in tight crevices. They will work slowly and steadily, making sure the stain is applied smoothly and evenly. They’ll go back over each area as it’s stained with a brush, working stain deep into the wood’s pores. 

8. Apply Sealant

Stain provides great color and protection against UV damage but will not protect your deck from moisture. For this reason, unless you’ve used a combination stain-and-sealant product, you’ll need to have sealant applied about 48 hours later. Sealants are designed to protect decks against water damage. They are clear and contain waterproof chemicals that make water bead up and roll off. Typically, decks will only require one coat of sealant to do the job. Sealant is applied in the same way as stain, with a roller, sprayer, and paintbrush, making sure it’s not too thick (it can peel and chip if it’s oversaturated).

9. Maintenance

Once the deck has been stained and sealed it will be left to dry for at least two days before you can walk on it or replace your furniture. If you are in a sunny area, you’ll need to watch your deck for signs of greying in patches where the sun hits. You may find yourself re-sealing every year or so. Decks in other regions, where the weather is more varied, may necessitate re-finishing every few years, depending on their age.


Thinking about having your deck or fencing re-finished? Click now to receive free, no-obligation quotes for painting and staining services from licensed painting contractors near you.

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