Best Way to Apply Wood Stain –
It is not difficult to apply wood stain to decks, furniture, railings and other wood surfaces. How long it maintains its beauty and protective features is another question. Today’s stain and sealant combinations are easy to mechanically apply by brushing, spraying or rolling them on. Big jobs done by first time do-it-yourself types can look like they were professionally done, but the real proof is what it looks like a year from now. This is where the pro tricks really help.
Surface Preparation –
Instructions are printed on the containers for all brands, explaining how to apply wood stain and sealant. Usually, there is a short section advising thorough surface preparation, Unfortunately, this is the step that is most often ignored by those attempting a quick weekend DIY restoration of wood surfaces. What it comes done to is that the look and feel of the wood before the stain and sealant is applied will be the same afterwards. Staining and sealing does not eliminate surface imperfections, holes, rough wood or grime. Grime, especially oily stains, must be removed, splinters need to be removed, and surface imperfections need to be filled and sanded. The majority of the time spent on the staining project should be spent on surface cleaning and preparation.
Curing New Decks and Wood Projects –
Treated wood is especially prone to having a high moisture content. New projects may not be ready to apply wood stain for several weeks. Most DIY types think new decks and outdoor furniture need to be stained and sealed before it rains. However, rain quickly evaporates on a sunny warm day while internal moisture leftover from the pressure treating process may take weeks to work its way out of the wood. Follow the instructions for the brand of wood being used for the wait time to let the wood cure before staining or sealing.
Protecting Other Surfaces –
Great care should be taken to protect anything plastic from contact with stains. Vinyl siding and fencing easily absorb stains, and it may be impossible to remove. Cover any nearby plastic surfaces with non-absorbent paper taped with painter’s tape. Concrete also readily absorbs stain. If you are spraying stains and sealants, even nearby furniture and cars can be hit with overspray, especially on windy days.
Spraying, Rolling and Brushing –
Spraying helps with even coverage, and it makes jobs very quick to complete. An often skipped but critically necessary step is a test run on some leftover wood samples or on an inconspicuous area of the wood project to check for coverage and how it looks after drying. Spraying can reach the nooks and crannies but can be notorious for over or under coverage. Brushing is the slowest, and may end up using more product than necessary. Rolling is the middle ground for quick coverage, but it does not work for railings and misses spaces between wood deck planks. A compromise would be to brush railings and spray decks and furniture.
Choosing the Product to Stain and Seal Wood –
A one-step product such as Ready Seal is a dream for DIY types. It eliminates having to stain and then seal. Also, the product is forgiving for less than perfect application methods and timing. Traditional products require back brushing techniques to be used to cover brush strokes and to make areas where one stained area overlaps another blend properly. Also, Ready Seal penetrates into the wood fibers rather than just being a surface film. This is important because surface films crack, flake and peel off as wood expands and contracts.
Proper surface preparation cannot be stressed enough. It is easy for you to practice with a brush or roller to get technique down pat before tackling the actual project, but you cannot compensate for an improperly prepared wood surface. Every exposed spot of wood should look and feel how you want it to look after the stain and sealant are applied. The next most important step is the product you apply. Bargain bin stain and sealant formulas are not going to hold up to the sun, rain, snow and foot traffic that a professional grade product like Ready Seal can easily take.