Best Practices for Successfully Staining Your Deck

Getting your home ready for winter is far from relaxing. Outdoor accessories need putting away, the pool has to be closed and all doors and windows draught-proofed. But for those who are already thinking ahead to next summer, fall’s cooler temperatures are ideal for completing an important task: staining your deck.

As a rule of thumb, stain is used to protect outdoor wooden structures because it creates a flexible film that offers great resistance to varying weather conditions. If you love fresh, vibrant colours, paint is also a great option. And if you’re hesitating between the two, take into account that paint will mask the texture of the wood, whereas staining the wood will emphasise its grain.

Those who have already stained their patio will tell you that it’s no small task, but it’s far from impossible. With Sico’s five simple steps, you’ll have a professional-quality deck - right at your doorstep.

Step 1: Choosing the right product

When shopping for stain or wood finish, three levels of opacity are available: translucent, semi-transparent, and solid. So how do you go about choosing between them?


Sico’s translucent exterior wood finishes have the distinct quality of embellishing the wood’s natural beauty while bringing your chosen tint to the fore. The advanced technology of high-solid resin made of flexible alkyd offers a luxurious, durable finish similar to that of a high-quality varnish. Highly resistant to adverse weather conditions, flaking and cracking, this superior quality wood finish performs particularly well on richer woods, like cedar, for instance.


Sico’s semi-transparent stains bring out the natural beauty of the wood without masking its grain. This advanced, durable formula offers complete protection against damage and mould, on top of allowing you to choose the colour you like.


In terms of maximum opacity, Sico offers a range of solid wood stains that will mask most imperfections while giving your deck new life. This formula offers optimal protection against flaking and damage. It’s hyper-resistant to bad weather, maintaining its colour and presenting excellent resistance to flaking and mould.

Step 2: Cleaning your surface area

Specialists agree: the quality of the final result depends on surface preparation. It’s vital that you clean the surface of the wood adequately, using proper cleaning products, in order to eliminate stray wood fibres and stains resulting from mould, dust, and moss. Our tip? Sico deck cleaner, which will clean, brighten and condition the surface of your wood, returning it to its original state.

Stripping the wood

If the surface of the wood is untouched, stripping isn’t necessary. However, if the wood is already covered in a flaking paint or stain, use the Stripper to remove any remaining product.

Step 3: Sand down your surfaces

To ensure the stain adequately penetrates and adheres to the wood, sanding your deck before staining it is essential. Sanding down the surface is often the most neglected step - but skipping it is a big mistake.

To sand down the surface, grab a sanding pad. If the surface is large, you’ll want an electric sander. On horizontal surfaces, opt for 80-grit sandpaper. For vertical surfaces, increase the grit to 120.

Pro Tip

Check that your wood is ready for staining by performing the Water Drop Test. Pour a few drops of water onto your surface, and observe what happens. If the water beads on the deck’s surface, your wood is still water repellent, meaning you’ll have to keep sanding a little longer. If the wood absorbs the water, then Hallelujah! Your surface is ready for staining.

Step 4: Staining

It’s finally time to start staining your porch. It is especially important to avoid staining on a bright, hot day (over 25 °C). This makes the stain dry without penetrating the wood. It’s also important to make sure rain isn’t in the forecast for the next few days, so that the wood has time to dry between layers. It is vital to apply no more than two layers, as extra layers will weaken the film, making it crack more quickly. Staining must be done using a staining brush, but you can add a handle extension to work standing up and spare your back. 

Work in the shade rather than in the sun - the stain will spread more easily and you’ll sidestep brush marks for a more uniform result.

Friendly Advice

Wait for the right weather - but especially the right TIME.
For a uniform finish that isn’t riddled with brush marks, work in the morning, after the dew has evaporated, and stay in the shade. Keep in mind that you should avoid the midday sun if temperatures are above 20 °C.

Step 5: Maintenance

Now that your deck is as good as new, it’s important to maintain it. Sweep to avoid any build-up of humidity, and move your furniture and plants around frequently so that the wood beneath them can breathe. If your work is well done, you’ll have 1 to 4 years before you have to do it again, depending on the products you’ve chosen and the weather your deck is exposed to. Although the quality of the product is important for durability, it is important to remember - unfortunately! - that the rough Canadian climate has a large impact on the longevity of your work.

Ready to get started?

View our tutorial and follow the key steps to make your project a success!