How to Restain a Decking 

Many thanks for taking your time to read our information on how to restore and restain a decking. This is written for our UK readers, but the general practise will of course apply to most other countries.

In this article we are going to cover off approximate costs, the preparation, and the process. We will also include information on keeping your deck the same colour of stain, or changing the colour of the stain. We also explain if you should consider painting your deck.

Finally we will take a look at what tools are available to help speed up the process if you don't want to do this manually. So let's get started.

How to Re-stain a Deck

It is always great when you have a brand new decking installed and it does look great. Brand new decking boards look great, and depending on the quality of those, they are weather proofed to make them last a few years. You should check when buying those as to the number of years guarantee of use.

However, as the years slowly pass, and Mother Nature takes its toll, the decking will start to fade and look old and worn. That is when you need to consider how to keep it preserved and in good working condition. Some people will treat their decking once a year, but it is more popular to give the boards a full treatment every 2 years.

How much does it cost to re-stain a Deck?

This will depend on what product you prefer to use on your boards. You can buy a cheap wood stain, such as that used on fences, or buy a more expensive oil based stain and preservative, which gives much better protection. For most people that is about balancing their budget as to what they can afford at the time.

Re-staining a Deck - Stain or Decking Oil

When it comes to staining the deck, you have a couple of choices to consider:

  1. Stain - A 5 litre tin of decking stain costs around £35-40 for a decent brand such as Ronseal or Cuprinol
  2. Oil - A 5 litre tin of decking oil costs around £3-40 for a decent brand

What's the Difference?

This can get confusing so we want to explain the difference. Stain is what gives the colour that will change the appearance of the wood. With oils you can buy a clear oil which will retain the natural wood look.

Where it gets confusing is that you can also buy oils with a colour.

Decking oils have high concentrations of oil and wax and those help make decking boards highly resistant to water and dirt and provide a durable and easily maintained finish.

Decking stains are similar to varnish like products in that they coat the surface of the deck. They help seal the decking from the elements. They have to be removed if re-coating and hard to strip if you have grooved decking.

Decking Stripper

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Decking Stain

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Decking Oil

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Re-staining a Deck - The Process

The general process is as follows:

  • Prepare the deck by removing all the furniture and brushing away any debris
  • Use a power washer on a low setting if you need to get rid of moss
  • Replace any boards that are damaged
  • Use a decking stripper if you want to remove the old stain (important if you want to change the colour)
  • Allow the deck to dry fully
  • Apply the new stain and allow to dry fully
  • Replace the furniture

Re-staining a Deck - The Preparation

Like most painting or staining jobs, it is all about how much work you are prepared to do to get the surface right. Staining over dust, dirt or moss will be a waste of your effort and money. The surface does need to be brushed clean of any debris so as the stain can penetrate the decking.

It really is worthwhile spending time on this process to get your deck as clean as you can. Some people also recommend power washing the deck before applying a stain. We would only recommend doing this if the deck is covered with something like a green moss as that can be hard to shift otherwise.

It however the deck is just dirty or has lots of old debris, then a good brush is enough. Power washing for decks is generally speaking just too severe, unless you have a low setting on your power washer.

Re-staining a Deck - The Same Colour

This is always going to be the easiest option. Unless the stain has flaked there is really no need to strip off the old stain and you can simply stain over the top of the old stain. Ideally it is always better to remove old stain, but in this case, there truly is no great requirement to do so.

Re-staining a Deck - A Different Colour

If you plan on changing the colour then you will need to strip off the old stain to get back to the natural wood. This is especially true if you want to go for a lighter colour of stain.

If you are going for a darker stain, then you might be able to get away with not removing the old stain. It will really depend how close you want to get to the colour of the stain you are applying. If you want the exact match of that, then you would need to remove any old stain.

If you simply want the decking to have a darker look, then you could just restain over the top of the existing stain, providing it is not flaking.

Tools that Make Restaining a Decking Easier and Faster

There are a few tools that will help make restaining your deck a bit easier and save you some time.

Stain Pressure Sprayer

Decking Brush Set

Decking Cleaner

A stain pressure sprayer and brush pump such as the one shown above from Cuprinol is a huge big time saver. Likewise a proper decking brush really helps to quickly remove debris. Finally something like a decking cleaner helps speed up the preparation process.

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