Why “Natural Finish” Deck Staining is SUCH a Finicky Undertaking…

Why “Natural Finish” Deck Staining is SUCH a Finicky Undertaking…

Believe it or not,

I am in my 3rd decade in the Home Improvement Industry!

Feels kind of funny to be able to say it, but yes,

I suppose I am some type of

Elder Statesman.


Perhaps one of the most dynamically evolving portions of the industry that I have witnessed over this time period is “natural finish” deck staining technology.

When I first got involved in the industry, we had some historically SUPER sweet natural finish deck staining products that were the backbone of many of our deck staining suppliers.

As time progressed, however, I personally have witnessed revolutionary shifts with regard to these types of products, as environmental laws have tightened up and become more restrictive than any of the natural finish deck stain producers could have possibly anticipated.

As this has occurred, normally ultra-reliable “go-to” natural finish deck staining products have seemingly overnight become the source of application issues in the field as well as potential service challenges on the backside of things.

As our industry has done their best to adapt and keep pace with these dramatic shifts, we have done a tremendous amount of trial and error on our end to be able to recommend and put into effect what we believe are the very best natural finish deck staining methodologies for our Clients.

Although not perfect, and still ever-evolving, I do believe we have (knock on wood…) the best systems in place for ensuring that our Clients have what is best available in terms of natural finish deck staining technology, for each of their absolutely individual deck requirements.



There are many variables when it comes to properly getting a natural finish deck staining job done correctly.

Although it is not able to be controlled, the weather is at the forefront of everything.

We prefer it being bone dry the day before you stain, the day you stain, and the day after you stain.

We try our best to communicate this to our Clients.

In New England, with particularly challenging stretches of on-and-off wet weather, we understand that it can be mountingly difficult for Clients to remain patient as they wait for the ideal time to stain.

Nonetheless, proper weather conditions are VERY important.

Another VERY important thing to pay attention to is the way that the stain is applied.

My recommendation is that the stain should be applied one board at a time, end-to-end, while always maintaining a wet edge.

For best results, we either brush, rag, or brush/rag in tandem our natural stain applications.

If ragging, be sure to store all used rags in a bucket of water (if you want to know why I say this, feel free to reach out to us and set up some time to chat with me and I will be happy to fill you in…).

We typically utilize one-coat natural finish deck stains.

Before any product is applied to the deck, the deck should be thoroughly cleaned and prepped to bare wood as best as possible.

If the deck was previously coated, there are a variety of techniques that can be utilized to ensure that the finish you are applying, will be as beautiful as ultimately possible.

It is important to note that all horizontal natural stain finished deck surfaces (floors, stairs, and the top of handrails) should receive a maintenance coat, minimally, once every 1-3 years depending upon how they weather and a few other factors.

As you can see, natural finish deck staining is not the easiest to plan, nor execute.

If done correctly though, your deck can easily be the envy of all those who may see it as well as be protected to maintain its SWEET-looking state for a long time to come!



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