Cleaning and Staining a Wood Deck

When staining a wood deck or other exterior wood:

  1. Mix up a solution of Flood Cleaner/Brightener Concentrate in a bucket, following the directions on the container.
  2. Scrub the wood thoroughly with the cleaner using a stiff, nylon brush.
  3. Allow the cleaner to remain on the wood for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Rinse the cleaner off with a garden hose using a sprayer attachment.
  5. Allow the wood to dry for several days before staining; or use Flood OneCoat stain, which can be applied within hours of cleaning.
  6. Mix all the containers of stain together in a large bucket to ensure a uniform color.
  7. Stir the stain periodically during application.
  8. Apply the stain using an airless sprayer, brush, or roller.
  9. Back-brush the stain into the wood when applying with a sprayer or roller.
  10. Allow the stain to dry the recommended time before applying additional coats.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Staining your exterior wood surfaces is vital to prolong the life and look of the wood, but make sure you take the proper steps. Otherwise, you may be a little disappointed in the end results.

Prior to staining you need to thoroughly clean the wood. And what I suggest is to dilute some Flood Cleaner/Brightener Concentrate according to the instructions and brush, roll, or spray it on the wood surface.

Scrub well with a stiff nylon brush and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing off the solution. You’ll need to have at least two or three days without rain to allow the cleaned wood to dry properly.

Another option, though, is to use Flood OneCoat stain. It requires only one coat, while protecting like two. And it can be applied just hours after prep, so you can finish a staining project in just one day.

If you’re going to use more than one container of stain, get a larger bucket and mix all of the containers together. This insures a uniform color throughout the project. Be sure to periodically stir the stain during the application.

To apply the stain, you can use an airless sprayer, a brush, or roller. But if you choose the roller or sprayer method, follow up by back-brushing. This will improve penetration and uniformity of the stain. If you want to apply additional coats, simply follow the label suggestions to determine the between coat dry time.


  1. I recently had my decks stained and they are still tacky feeling. The person who did the work for me only used Clorox (undiluted) to spray the whole deck. I understood the point because my deck wood was two years old and had never been stained so it had darkened. When dried, it was renewed looking and he put on first coat of stain. I asked shouldn’t he pressure wash first and he said no, it was not necessary. Could this have something to do with the stain not soaking into the wood properly? The weather was hot during and after work. Any suggestions?

    • Hi, Lois. We’d need a bit more information to understand what happened here.
      So the person who did the work cleaned the deck with Clorox. He stained the deck shortly after it dried.
      You said the stain hasn’t soaked into the wood properly. Can you please describe its current appearance?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here