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Applying Finish

Project Overview

Applying Finish

Apply outdoor deck stain to hide or diminish the the brownish tint of PT wood. You can also use stain when you want to match the colour of the deck to the house siding or trim. Opaque stains provide the best colour coverage of the wood. However, they may peel and require frequent reapplication. Semitransparent stains soak deeply into wood fibers and wear well for longer periods, and they allow more of the wood tone and grain to show. Clear sealers or wood preservatives are good choices for cedar and redwood. They provide protection without diminishing the natural beauty of the wood. Choose a finish product containing mildew prevention. A clear sealer or preservative must have UV inhibitors or sunlight will break it down and affect wood colour. Paint is not a good finish choice because traffic areas quickly show wear. It also requires more frequent maintenance. Apply one thin coat of finish to penetrate and dry completely. Thick layers of finish neither penetrate nor dry completely. The wood should be dry before applying finish. New pressure-treated lumber must dry out completely before finish is applied. Check with the lumber supplier for the proper amount of drying time. Make sure whatever finish you apply is rated for outdoor use and for a deck surface. Follow the manufacturer's application instructions for best results. Harsh climates and heavy deck usage may require reapplication twice per year.

2 Steps


Step 1


Apply finish material with a sprayer. Use a hand-pumped unit for small deck areas or apply finish on small decks with a roller and brush. Use a roller on decking after spraying to force finish into the wood and to spread out any pooled material. This method is called back-rolling.


Step 2


Use a brush to work the finish into end grain, seams, and gaps between boards,. This method is called back-brushing. Back-brush vertical surfaces to remove drips. End grain soaks up finish, and you may need to apply more.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 3 hours

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.

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