Whether you’re staining a copse deck, bench, or fence, these able tips will enhance its attending and longevity
An alike appliance of stain will anticipate baptize and UV appliance from biting the wood.
By Paul Hope
Updated by Daniel Bortz
A abundant copse stain does bifold duty. First, it adds to the aesthetics, either by acceptable the accustomed atom arrangement of the copse or by accoutrement blemishes, depending aloft the stain you choose. Second, it can add years of activity to a deck, fence, or alfresco appliance by attention adjoin rot and accident from ultraviolet light.
For both achievement areas, Consumer Reports begin cogent differences amid the about 30 copse stains in our ratings. “The best copse stains we’ve activated can action at atomic three years of aegis to a deck,” says Rich Handel, CR’s analysis architect who oversees our copse stain and accessory ratings. “On added surfaces like a fence or alfresco furniture, a abundant stain could authority up alike longer, possibly alike nine or 10 years.”
We analysis clear, semi-transparent, and solid copse stains. As the name suggests, the bright advantage has no blush pigment, so you can highlight the accustomed acceptable looks of the wood. But it additionally offers far beneath protection. Semi-transparent has some pigment, so it protects the copse somewhat more, while still acceptance you to see a bit of the copse grain. Solid stain, which applies like paint, offers alike added aegis but no arresting copse grain.
To apprentice added about the altered kinds of copse stains, alpha with our copse stain affairs guide. Already you apperceive the blazon you’d like, see our complete copse stain ratings, area you can array through about 30 options, appliance filters to aught in on the best ones for your needs. (CR associates can apprehend about some of the top scorers, below.)
Whichever cast you choose, able alertness and appliance are as acute as the stain itself. Here’s what you charge to know.
Stain copse aback it hasn’t rained for three canicule and aback the anticipation calls for at atomic two canicule of dry acclimate amid 50° F and 90° F, with low to boilerplate humidity. This allows the stain to blot in and dry properly.
But be alert of light, too. Our experts agenda that absolute sunlight can account the stain to dry too quickly, afore the copse can blot it. If you’re alive on a activity that gets absolute light, aces a time of day (usually aboriginal to mid-morning or backward afternoon) that will accord the stain several hours to charge and dry afore the sun hits it.
The best brushes and rollers acquiesce for smooth, alike layers. So accomplish abiding you have:
A synthetic-bristled brush. These brushes assignment best with water-based stains (the alone blazon we analysis because they’re easier and safer to use than oil-based stains). Synthetics advance their integrity, admitting accustomed bristles can become bending as they blot the baptize in the finish.
A short-nap roller. A ¼-inch nap or beneath allows anniversary stain band to attach to the copse and prevents pooling. Rollers with a best nap will administer too abundant stain at once, authoritative it adamantine to get alike coverage.
These added steps, taken afore you alike accessible a can of stain, will advice accomplish your stain go on added easily.
Sand the wood. Smoothing out any blemishes, splinters, or splits goes a continued way to ensure an alike application.
If your copse deck, fence, or appliance was congenital from pressure-treated barge fabricated afterwards 2004, you can band on your assurance affectation (to abstain inhaling dust) and do the sanding yourself. Alpha with base sandpaper to abolish damaged spots, again advance up to bigger grits to actualize a smoother apparent above-mentioned to staining. Remember to ambit or apple-pie bottomward the copse surfaces already you’re done. Use a adjustable knife to apple-pie amid accouter boards.
If you’re staining copse fabricated from pressure-treated barge afore 2004, appoint a pro to beach the surfaces. (These may accommodate chromated chestnut arsenate, a actinic that releases baneful arsenic into the air and surrounding soil.)
Make abiding the surfaces are clean. If you acquire an old deck, use accouter cleaner, a abrade brush, and a burden washer to apple-pie it at atomic a day afore you plan to administer the stain. Let the copse dry for as continued as directed by the instructions on your can of copse stain. For anew congenital copse structures, which don’t charge a cleaning, artlessly delay six to eight weeks afterwards accession afore applying stain.
A little backbone and basic assignment afore staining can advice ensure a frustration-free acquaintance and seamless results.
Read the instructions on the can carefully. This will acquaint you how abundant advantage you can apprehend from a distinct can—and whether you’ll charge added at the ready. It will additionally acquaint you how abundant dehydration time the artefact needs. This can alter by stain blazon and manufacturer.
Protect the surroundings. Baptize any plants and shrubs abreast the activity and awning them with artificial sheeting. The bedding will assure them from overspray or runoff, while watering advanced will advice accumulate their roots from assimilation up any agitated stain.
An alike appliance of stain beyond all surfaces will anticipate baptize and UV appliance from biting the wood. To accomplish this, administer a attenuate covering with a besom or roller. Don’t stop in the average of a lath or let puddles anatomy because the antithesis stain will dry on top of the copse and cell off. (Plus, it’ll attending splotchy.) Stir the stain as you go to accumulate it able-bodied blended.
Decide amid a roller and a brush. Rollers are best for large, collapsed surfaces, like a collapsed accouter balustrade or fence panel. Brushes can advice you get into tighter spots, like amid accouter boards or alone pickets on a fence, but they additionally accomplish it easier for the stain to basin in one spot.
Or try aback brushing. An ideal antithesis can be a action alleged aback brushing. That agency appliance both your besom and roller: Alpha in tough-to-reach spots with a brush, alive bound to ensure alike coverage. Again cycle aback over the absolute apparent with a roller. In accession to allowance you abstain pooling, the roller will ensure complete advantage and anticipate besom marks.
To analysis copse stains, CR’s engineers administer two coats to ache boards, again abode them on the roof of our address in Yonkers, N.Y. They face the boards south and angled down, like a roof, to accent the furnishings of the sun and acclimate for up to three years.
Because manufacturers periodically reformulate their products, we retest samples from time to time to accomplish abiding our ratings reflect the best abreast advice available.
One year of testing tells you how a stain will do afterwards a year on your accouter or about three years of weathering on vertical surfaces (siding or fences), as you’ll see in our copse stain ratings.
CR agenda associates can apprehend on for reviews of three of the best copse stains in our tests. For added options, analysis out our abounding copse stain ratings.
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit alignment that works ancillary by ancillary with consumers to actualize a fairer, safer, and convalescent world. CR does not endorse articles or services, and does not acquire advertising. Copyright © 2023, Consumer Reports, Inc.
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