If your home has wood siding, you may be able to beautify it by applying a semi-transparent wood stain. Wood stain is a great alternative to paint. It adds color and seals the wood, while still allowing the natural structure and grain of the wood to show through.
Whether you’re staining new wood siding, or you’re removing the paint on your wood siding and resealing it with wood stain, we have plenty of tips that are sure to help you through the process.
- Use A Pressure Washer To Clean The Wood Before Staining
Stains adhere best to completely clean wood that is free of dirt, oil, and other debris. A pressure washer is the best way to clean your wood siding before you stain it.
If you’re preparing new wood siding for staining, or restaining your existing siding, you should rent a pressure washer that can put out about 1,500 PSI. This is enough to strip stain and dirt from the wood. However, if you are looking to remove paint from your siding, you will need a pressure washer with 3,000+ PSI. You should use eye protection, work boots, and ear protection to protect yourself during the pressure washing process. In addition, ensure that your doors and windows are protected – a powerful pressure washer can damage older single-pane windows, or strip the paint off of an unprotected door.
- Apply Stain When Conditions Are Right
Most exterior staining must be applied at temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees. However, most stains adhere most effectively at mild temperatures of around 70 degrees. This will depend on your stain, so check the label.
High humidity can also be an issue when staining wood, so let your wood dry completely after rainstorms, and try to apply stain when weather conditions are dry.
- Mix Your Stain Regularly While Applying It
Before you begin staining your home, you should mix your stain thoroughly with a paint stick. Stain can “settle”, and pigment may be uneven – just like paint, it needs to be stirred regularly to maintain a consistent color.
Once you’ve mixed up your stain, test it out on a small section of your home, or on a spare piece of wood to ensure that you like the color, and that it’s mixed properly. Then, it’s time to start staining!
- Follow The Wood Grain When Applying Stain
Brushes are usually the best option for staining your siding. Rollers won’t work for most lapped siding, and often soak up too much stain, which can lead to unsightly vertical dripping.
Choose a brush that is about 75% of the width of each individual board, and apply stain evenly. For oil-based stains, you should use a natural-bristle brush. For latex stains, a brush with synthetic bristles is a better choice. Use short, even, and smooth strokes, and work in the direction of the wood grain. Keep a rag handy to wipe down any excess, and avoid drip patterns.
- Work From Left-To-Right, Top-To-Bottom
This is the best way to work on “lapped” siding, which is the most common type of wood siding. Staining your boards in this order ensures that you’re always above the ladder, which makes staining easier on your arms and shoulders.
It’s best to work on 3-5 boards at a time, working around the entire exterior of the house. This allows you to avoid “lap marks” – stained areas that dry before they are blended with adjoining sections. If you work until you get to a natural stopping point – a door or window, for example – you can avoid these marks entirely.
Follow These Tips – Stain Like A Pro!
Stained wood siding is natural, beautiful and unique, and can provide a much more attractive appearance than painted siding. Stain is also a highly effective sealant, so your siding will be protected from the elements, and look great for years to come. Follow these tips to rejuvenate your home, and stain like the pros!