Viewer Question and Response

Re: Deck Staining Videos parts 1 & 2

Question:

Jason,

I liked your video on deck washing and staining. Actually, I really REALLY wished I would have seen it before I power-washed mine because I made the rookie mistake of creating start & stop marks and had to do it twice.  My question is regarding deck staining.  I saw that you used a brush to stain the entire deck.  What is your opinion on using an airless sprayer to apply stain followed the use of a paintpad.  I’ve seen this technique used in a couple of videos and wondered what your thoughts are.
 
Thanks,
Donnie

 

Answer:

Hi Donnie,
If you are really interested in manicuring your deck you can also sand the imperfections out using a D.A. sander. Your success will depend greatly of course on how much you cut into the wood with the pressure washer. By doing this it MAY be possible to eliminate the stop and start marks created, but it really depends on how bad the damage is. 
 
As far as applying the stain with an airless and a paint pad… I’m not going to say it’s the wrong way to do it and in some cases you may find that this is just the system you need to do your deck. If I had a very large deck to do, that was very porous, with nothing around that would get affected by the over spray of the stain and minimal to no exposure of say the siding of a house, I’d say go for it and just make sure you mop up the excess. 9.99 times out of 10 however decks aren’t built out in the middle of a field and for that reason my way would be cleaner and turn out a better product and in many instances is just plain faster (assuming the same quality of work). You have to remember that when you run penetrating stains though a pump this stuff floats a long, long way and will really get on things you don’t want it to get on if you aren’t extremely careful. Doing handrails with this method is pretty much a non starter for me for the above reason as even if there is nothing around, your deck can turn out splotchy if you spray the outside hand rails towards the deck and the stain meant for the hand rails floats onto the decking itself. Additionally the chance for over application seems to be harder to control then if the stain were applied to be applied by hand.
 
Bottom line is that if we were both watching the same YouTube videos (and I think we were) I would really like to see the decks done with this method in person. There are a lot of things you don’t see in how to videos and I’m sure the amount of overspray that gets on everything around the house is one of the things that you probably don’t see. Should you decide to go with the advice of the other videos I would also direct your attention to a hudson sprayer if you don’t have an airless. In rare circumstances I use them to apply stain and in even rarer circumstances I use an airless. The airless seems to atomize the stain to a greater degree and thus the material floats around more, however, the airless does apply the stain more evenly (which shouldn’t be an issue if you are going to back mop it with a paint pad). For all of the reasons I’ve given I would say the guys showing the airless/paint pad method are showing you a production level of doing things which leaves you with an “acceptable” amount of imperfection. We’d probably disagree on our definitions of “acceptable” but I think you are now educated enough to make your own determination. As a final note, I should also point out that all of this advice assumes of course that the only thing we are talking about is solvent based penetrating stains.
 
Thank you for your question and I wish you the best of  luck with your project!
 
Jason
*Please note that parts of the questioners email were omitted to keep the sender’s identity private. 
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