How to Stain Between Deck Boards

Written by lorraine o'neil
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Most deck boards are placed close together, which can make it difficult to stain between each board. However, using proper staining techniques will help you cover all the visible surfaces, giving you an evenly stained deck. If the gaps between your deck boards are larger, you can use a small tool to stain in between the boards. Thoroughly covering all the surfaces of the wood will give your deck a finished appearance, and will also waterproof the boards and increase the life of your deck.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Broom
  • Deck cleaner
  • Sprayer
  • Natural paintbrush
  • Small paintbrush or sponge (optional)

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  1. 1

    Prepare your deck for staining. Sweep and wash the deck thoroughly and apply a deck cleaner (available at most hardware stores) to prepare the wood and help it absorb the stain.

  2. 2

    Apply your stain using a sprayer, using straight, sweeping motions. Spray two or three boards at a time, being sure to spray the cracks in between the boards as well as the deck's surface. Pause between each group of boards to back brush the stain into the wood.

  3. 3

    Work the sprayed stain evenly into the deck boards using a natural paintbrush (look for a larger brush with bristles that are 4 to 5 inches long). Brush the stain evenly so the liquid does not pool, moving the brush in the same direction as the wood's grain. Run your brush along the cracks between each board to stain between the boards.

  4. 4

    Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the entire deck is stained. Allow the stain to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions, and apply a second coat, if necessary. If the cracks between your deck boards are large, consider using a smaller paintbrush or sponge to cover the inside surfaces. Dip your small tool directly into the stain and brush it evenly along the inside surface of each board, moving with the grain of the wood.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose a stain that is designed for outdoor use.
  • Wash your tools thoroughly after staining to prevent the sprayer from becoming clogged and the brush bristles from clumping.

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