How to Stain a Deck with a Sprayer!

Paint sprayers are also perfect for applying deck stain and can help you to stain an entire deck in just a few hours. Although the job is simple, you won’t get anywhere unless you know what you’re doing. We’ll walk you through the basics of staining your deck with a paint sprayer to give you a head start.

Things you will need

Before you start working, make sure that you have all the tools and equipment you will need to work on the project. Here is a list of the things you will need during the process:

  • A paint sprayer
  • Stain
  • Two types of spray tips
  • Stir sticks
  • Empty buckets
  • Masking tape
  • Drop cloths and tarps
  • Tip extension
  • Paint brush
  • Spray shield
  • Pressure roller kit
  • Cleaning rags

Choose the right type of sprayer

There are two types of sprayers that work best for applying stain: airless paint sprayers and conventional paint sprayers.

Airless paint sprayers can work well, If your using an airless sprayer, make sure that you set the pressure low enough that it will be able to handle deck stain. And if you hiring a sprayer – just remember to clean the sprayer thoroughly before returning it.

Conventional sprayers are a bit slower than airless sprayers, as they don’t put out quite as much material per second. That said, they’re much cheaper than airless sprayers, so if you need to purchase a spray gun exclusively for staining your deck, a conventional sprayer is probably your best bet.

No matter which type of sprayer you choose, make sure that you spring for a quality tool from a reputable brand. Do your research before you choose, because a low-quality sprayer is worse than no sprayer at all.

Tradextra staff are great people to call if your wanting to know which sprayer is best for the job! Our sprayer experts will guide you in the right direction.

Prepare the deck

The first step of staining your deck with a paint sprayer is prepping it accordingly.

Remove all furniture from your deck and set it aside. Pressure wash your deck, or at least hose it down, to make sure that there’s no dirt on the surface. It’s very important that you clean your deck thoroughly – stain should only settle on the deck, not any dirt or debris. Wait for the deck to dry completely before moving forward.

If there’s anything on your deck that you can’t move or do not want to stain, make sure that you cover it. Hang a drop cloth on any walls and put plastic sheets around the edges to protect them from stain. Masking paper can also work in a pinch.

Set up your sprayer

If you are using an airless paint sprayer to apply your deck stain, choose the smallest tip possible that still fits the job. A 211 tip will provide a spray width of 4 inches, while a 411 tip will provide a width of 8 inches. You likely do not need anything larger than that for your deck.

Be mindful of the pressure at which your sprayer is set. You should use a low pressure setting, preferably not more than 100 PSI, or you risk the possibility of damaging the wood.

Spray stain

Make sure that you read the manufacturer’s specifications and take the appropriate steps before you fill your pump sprayer with deck stain. The lid on your sprayer should be screwed on completely and the pump sprayer should be pressurized.

Test your stain before you actually apply it to your deck. Do a spray test and wait for it to dry before proceeding so that you can be absolutely sure that you’ve chosen the right color.

No matter what type of sprayer you use, you will have to work in sections. These sections will likely contain three or four boards at time. Spray end to end – do not stop in the middle, as it may lead to unattractive markings. Spray railings first to make the job easier

You should strive for a thin, even coat of stain across your entire deck. If any pooling occurs, use a brush to smooth the coat as best you can.

We recommend applying your deck stain in the morning or evening when possible so that the sun does not shine brightly on the deck while you are working.

Some important tips

  • Choose a spray tip based on the type of stain that you use. In general, a tip with an 8 inch spray pattern and a hole size of .013 will provide you with the best control. Keep your sprayer’s maximum capacity in mind as well.
  • If you have multiple containers of stain, mix them together before you start to spray. That way, you can be absolutely certain that you’ll have a consistent color across the board.
  • Keep the pressure on your sprayer low. Stains are light and require a lower pressure to achieve a good spray pattern, a finer finish and better control of the spray gun overall.
  • Spray the deck’s supports and railings first. You may need to hold the spray gun at an angle to get complete coverage, which often leads to pooling. If that happens, use a brush to remove and smooth out excess stain.
  • Keep the spray tip about a foot away from the surface of your deck while staining for best coverage.
  • Work in sections that allow you to reach planks lengthwise, even if it means investing in a tip extension.
  • Before spraying corners, focus on the edges.
  • Follow the boards and make repeated passes. Overlap each pass by about 50%.
  • Pay extra attention to inside surfaces that can otherwise be easy to miss.
  • Remove all furniture from the deck before you start staining.
  • Cover bushes, shrubs, plants and nearby walls with tarps before staining.
  • Avoid staining on a windy day.
  • Clean your deck with a pressure washer if possible to ensure that it is totally clean. Allow enough time for it to dry completely.

Clean up

Once you have completed spraying stain, clean up the tools and equipment. Remove coverings from windows, wall surfaces, bushes, shrubs and plants. Move everything back into place. Clean your sprayer after each use, especially if it’s a rental that you’ll have to return.