Staining Siding and Decks

21 September 2011 Maintenance

Staining The Cottage

Staining the cottage is not a popular chore, but protecting the siding and deck from the elements is an important part of cabin maintenance.

Choosing the right colour to stain the siding or deck

Getting an exact match to the previous colour is difficult, especially if you don’t have a can of the stain that was used for the original coat. Whether it was a an off-the-shelf colour, or a neutral base that was tinted, the latest version will likely be a bit different.

The paint companies are constantly improving the products to make them more weather resistant, but the chemical changes in the stains affect the resultant colour.

It is also important to keep in mind that the colour changes over time depending on the exposure to sunlight and the elements. If you plan to match the existing colour of the wood, taking a sample with you to the paint store will help, but the original colour was likely different than the existing weathered wood.

Choosing the best type of stain for the siding or deck

How do you choose the best stain for the cottage?
Consider choosing a hybrid acrylic / oil formula. This type of stain is easy to apply, can be used on most wood surfaces whether previously stained or not, and cleans up easily. A bit of soap and warm water is all you need to clean the brushes and rollers.

Before you begin to stain the wood

Take the time to clean the wood properly and wait for it to be completely dry before you begin to stain. This step is a bit of extra work, but ensuring the wood is clean is important for getting the best results from the new stain.

Be sure to wear the correct protective gear when sanding old paint or stain. Lead based products can release lead dust or fumes which are toxic.

Organizing the equipment

It is important to use the proper tools and equipment. Not only is it safer, but it also makes the job easier. Rent or buy the correct length ladders. Use hooks to hang the can off the ladder. Place plastic drop sheets underneath the area you are working on. Use the correct brushes, and rollers as recommended by your paint retailer.

Staining the deck and siding

What is the best way to stain the cottage siding?
Stain requires a minimum of 24 hours to dry properly so you should be sure that there is not any rain in the forecast for the next day or two. The ideal weather for staining is partly cloudy and about 20 degrees.

If it is a hot and sunny day, begin by staining the west and north sides of the cabin in the morning. Stain the east and south sides in the afternoon. Applying stain on hot surfaces or in direct sunlight is not only uncomfortable, but it may also affect the efficiency of the stain.

Only pour about ¼ of the stain into the can or pail you plan to use to stain with. Refill once it is used up.

Take the time to stir the stain frequently and combine cans to ensure a consistent tint.

Do a small test spot in an inconspicuous place to make sure the stain looks right and soaks in properly.

When using stain, it is important to maintain a consistent wet edge. Only work on two or three boards at a time. If the stain is not applied in a consistent manner across the entire board, you may get lap marks.

For siding, stain side-to-side from top to bottom. Begin at the peak and work down. Stain each of the boards entirely until you reach the first board that runs the full length of the side of the cottage and then start at one end and work your way fully across the wall doing a few boards at a time.

How should you stain the cottage deck?

For decks, start at the boards closest to the cabin and work your way from one end to the other. Do the stairs last.

It is best to complete a side of the cottage or the entire deck all in the same day. Leaving part of a side of the cabin, or a section of the deck unstained and trying to finish it on another day may result in visible differences in colour tone.

Clean all brushes, rollers etc. thoroughly at the end of each day. Seal cans securely.

Put all equipment away at the end of each day.

Staining safety tips

Safety is always a concern when staining the siding of the cottage. You want to avoid an injury but you also want to avoid making a big mess.

Use ladders properly and safely. Do not over extend to reach a spot. Have someone help you move the ladder.

Use paint-can hooks when working from a ladder.

Wear gloves, safety glasses, long sleeve shirts, pants, proper footwear, and a hat.

Take frequent breaks and drink lots of water – staining is hard work.

Stop when you begin to get tired. You don’t want to have an accident.

Special Tip:
Consider staining the cottage deck or siding in September. The weather is comfortable and the work is bug-free.

If you take the time to clean the wood, use the proper equipment, and stain the boards in the right sequence, staining the cottage siding or deck can be done quickly and efficiently.