How to Avoid Lap Marks when staining a deck

How to avoid deck lapmarks

How to avoid lap marks when staining a deck. From homeowners who now know better. 

These homeowners decided to build a deck. We were told, however, to not stain our new deck until it was able to dry out completely. So we waited the few months to apply the stain. 

By then the deck was in desperate need of stain and had faded faster than expected. So us being the excited learn as you go type, bought some stain and got to work. 

Normal people might have googled how to properly stain a deck. 

But not us. How hard could it be? 

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how to avoid lap marks when staining a deck

How to avoid lap marks when staining a deck


  • quality stain
  • paint pan
  • roller with long handle (Tip-my broom handle screwed into the roller making it a long handle) 
  • paint brushes 
  • common sense 

Clean your deck.

From having loved our deck the past year, it had gotten rather messy. Make sure clean off your deck really well.

Since we didn’t want to buy anything extra for a one time use, we decided to make due with what we had. The stain, paint pan, paint roller and a couple of paint brushes. 

We like to not over complicate things. We made sure no rain was in the forecast for the next few days and put on our painting clothes. That was the last thing we did right. 

Step NOT to do

For some reason we decided not to work together but to have one person do one side while the other person did the other side of the deck. I’m not even sure why we thought that was a good idea, clearly it was not! 

Not only that, we didn’t even stain the deck with the grain! As in two boards at a time all the way down. We went the exact opposite direction and kept getting lap marks. 

Well of course we did! The stain was drying faster then I could get back to the top. 

how not to stain a deck
how not to stain a deck
How not to stain a deck

How to stain a deck the correct way

After letting this carry on for far longer then it should, we decided we needed to come up with a new plan. So instead of working alone we decided to let our two half brains make a full one. 

The new plan was to do the entire length of the deck board (not going over our previous work) two at a time, with a roller. While the other person took a paint brush to get into the grooves. Magically this gave us the results we were looking for, a lot faster. 

Things to remember

Pick two to three days where there is no rain in the forecast. Always go the length of the deck boards, one or two at a time. If you have someone who can help, it’s useful to go over the just rolled portion with a paint brush to get into any small grooves.

And for goodness sake, BEFORE stating a DIY project that’s not easy to fix, maybe just check Google for any advice. 


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