How to Stain and Seal a Wooden Deck for Lasting Protection

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper

  • Pressure washer

  • Paint stick

  • Painter’s pan

  • Hand-held foam applicator

  • Long-handled foam applicator

  • Warm water

  • Mineral spirits

A stain and seal product gives a wood deck lasting protection.

Stain and sealer give a wood deck's surface a durable coating and enhances its look. Many wood deck coatings contain both stain and sealer in one product. Stain and sealer manufacturers make oil-based and water-based products. Both products use the same application method. Properly applied oil-based stain and sealer lasts longer than water-based products. Water-based products use less material per coat. Wood deck stain repels water, resists mold and mildew, limits fading and provides lasting protection from wear.

Step 1

Remove everything from the wood deck's surface.

Step 2

Inspect and repair the wood deck, as needed. Replace any rotten or warped boards. Drive all loose nails or screws into the decking. Remove the deck's rough spots and splinters with sandpaper.

Step 3

Remove the wood deck's old coating and all of the mold and mildew with a pressure washer. Let the deck dry completely before continuing.

Step 4

Open the can of stain and sealer. Stir the stain and sealer with a paint stick. Mix the product until all the different colored swirls blend together. The stain settles at the bottom of the can during storage.

Step 5

Fill a painter's pan halfway with the stain and sealer material. Close the bucket's lid and set the bucket out of the way.

Step 6

Apply the stain and sealer from the painter's pan to all of the hard-to-reach areas across the deck's surface, including the benches and deck posts, with a hand-held foam applicator.

Step 7

Cover the wood deck's planks with the stain and sealer in the painter's pan, using a long-handled foam applicator. Work the stain and sealer across the entire length and width of one deck plank at a time, working with the plank's grain. Do not let the stain and sealer puddle on the wood deck.

Step 8

Let the stain and sealer dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Apply a second coat, if desired, using the same method used for the first coat.


Clean water-based stain and sealer from the foam applicators with warm water. Clean oil-based stain and sealer from the foam applicators with mineral spirits.

references & resources