Learn how to prepare a deck for stain or paint. Follow these guidelines for cleaning and sanding decks to prepare for applying stains and paints.

Before you apply stain, make sure the surface is clean (no dust, dirt, wood fibers or grease), dry and free from mildew. When a surface is not clean, stains and other finishes have trouble sticking and may end up peeling.

  1. Thoroughly sweep the deck to remove all leaves and other debris.
  2. Liberally apply cleaner using a roller or pump sprayer (wear protective equipment to avoid contact with skin and eyes). If you have a large deck, work in small sections to make sure the area stays wet at all times.
    • Allow the cleaner to set for approximately 15 minutes. If necessary, mist your work area with a garden hose to keep it wet while the cleaner soaks into the wood.
    • If you encounter any grease stains, clean them with a TSP substitute or another mild detergent.
  3. After 15 minutes, work the cleaner into the surface using a stiff synthetic-bristle brush. Scrub thoroughly to remove all residue.
  4. Use a garden hose with a good stream to completely rinse the cleaner from the wood. You may also use a power washer equipped with a 45-degree tip set at 1200 - 1400 psi. Keep a distance of 8- to 12-inches from the surface and spray with the grain of the wood to avoid damage to the surface of the deck.
  5. Once the deck is completely dry, lightly sand any areas of new wood to remove any remaining residue.

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