Staining Center

The most important step in a successful staining project is prep. But, what exactly does that entail? It’s important to assess the situation in which you’re working. Before getting started, here are a few key factors to consider when planning and preparing. Remember, the key is to know what you’re dealing with. Be sure to get up close and pay attention to the small details.

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Preparation Steps


  • It is crucial that you remove any mold, mildew and dirt from the surface of the wood.
  • A good cleaner formulated specifically for wood and will remove mold & mildew. Cleaning the deck with a stiff bristle deck brush is a necessary step in any successful staining project. This will remove mildew stains and provide a sound surface to stain. You never want to use regular soap and water to prep a surface because soap will leave behind residue which will reduce penetration. When thinking about other household cleaners, note that they either won’t effectively clean the surface and/or could damage the wood.
  • Follow the product guidelines for the cleaning solution carefully.


  • If the surface still has loose wood fibers, splinters, or has a very rough feel to it, we recommend that it be sanded smooth with a 80-100 grit sand paper. This is strong enough to smooth the surface and still allow stain to penetrate. (TIP: Always sand in the same direction as the wood grain to avoid marking the surface with your sandpaper).
  • There are numerous electric sanders on the market to assist you with this task. If there is a small section of decking that needs attention, a pole sander will helps with the task and is easier on the back than bending down.


  • Mechanical grinding can damage or destroy a wood surface very easily and should be left to a professional.

A Note About Priming

When you plan to apply a solid color stain to a deck or if you have your siding has chronic problems like continued Tannin Bleed, we recommend the use of a primer first. A primer will increase the adhesion of the topcoat therefore extending the life of the stain. Oil-based primers help with moisture vapor transfer on siding. In many cases, moisture trapped behind an unprimed coating can lead to surface peeling.