How to Stain a New Deck | and Avoid Lap Marks

How to stain a new deck. Tips on how to clean and stain a new deck along with how to avoid stain lap marks.

How to stain a new deck

We were advised not to stain our homes pressure treated deck as it was drying out completely.

But by the time it was fully dry, the deck was in desperate need of stain and had faded pretty badly. So we bought stain and supplies from the home improvement store and got to work.

How to stain a new deck

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For this post we used BEHR Premium transparent waterproofing finish in Cedar Naturaltone

This is our own personal experience. Be sure to seek professional guidance.

Faded new deck ready to be stained


Remove all furniture. Using a hose or pressure washer, wash the deck. If using a pressure washer be sure to use a fan tip at no more than 600psi. Keeping the spray nozzle about 4-6 inches away from the deck. Failing to do so will result in damage to the wood.

Allow the deck two days to dry completely.


Be sure there is no rain in the forecast two days prior to and after staining the deck. Follow stain manufacturers directions.

Water based vs Oil based stain

You can choose between water based and oil based stain- all weather protection.

Water based- Easy clean up with soap and water. May chip away in high traffic areas over time.

Oil based- Designed to fade over time.

Transparent vs Semi-Transparent

Transparent- Allows the natural pattern of the wood to show through with subtle hints of color. Designed to last up to approximately 4 years on decks.

Semi-Transparent- Allows wood grain and texture to show through. Added subtle color and enhances wood patterns. Designed to last up to approximately 6 years on decks.

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Think about where you’ll be exiting the deck.

Stain from the top down. If staining the railing along with the deck, start with the railings first.

Using a paint pad applicator, stain one deck board at a time going the full length of the board. You may want to use a paint brush to get into any hard to reach areas.

Doing one section at a time instead of one deck board at a time may result in lap marks.

how not to stain a deck
After- how to stain a new deck


Allow pressure treated wood to fully dry out, waiting approximately one year before staining. Pick two to three days where there is no rain in the forecast. Always go the length of the deck boards. If you have someone who can help, it’s useful to use a paint brush to get into any small grooves.

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