30 Most Important Deck Staining Tools- Easy Guide to Staining

It is always prudent to have the necessary tools ready if you are a homeowner or DIYer looking to stain a deck. Staining is simple but can be complicated especially with poor preparation. Many time, lack of preparation may lead to waste of time as well as the staining formula especially in cases where you don’t get a perfect finish. Let’s discuss the necessary deck staining tools for your future or immediate staining projects.

On the other hand, please remember that we have deck staining supplies you cannot ignore if you want to deliver a successful project. So, this article gives detailed information on essential tools for a deck staining project. Please read till the end to get maximum benefit.

1. Thick Stripper for Paint Removal

This is a perfect tool to kick of your project, especially if you have a previously painted surface. It helps you easily get thick paint coats off the wood as it clings tightly to the wood piece.

2. Thin Stripper for Finish Removal

Thin strippers are ideal for removing old finishes. The process does not need a lot of staying power. You only need a little formula, and it dissolves everything. Thus, the stripper washes down the piece and prepares it for the next step.

3. Power Sander

Random Orbital SanderThe stripping process may leave you with an uneven surface. Hence, you’ll need to smooth the surface by sanding. A power sander is perfect for big jobs as it cuts down considerably on the tedium.

It is possible to sand by hand at approximately 100 to 200 strokes per minute. But a power sander can whip out a cool 6,000 to 8,000 strokes per minute. Also, it would be best to keep sandpaper discs of about 80 to 220 grit within reach.

4. High-Quality Sandpaper

High-quality sandpaper is sharp, durable, and delivers a fairly smooth finish. You can get some 320 and 400-grit sheets in addition to power sanding discs. Also, there are multiple blocks in the market, but you can go for a felt block or a woodblock with some cork glue.

5. Good Cloths

Good cloths are essential for wiping stains and finishes. They also save you the hassle of buying new shop rags. All you need to do is wash old cotton T-Shirts, and you are good! However, please ensure that they are lint-free to avoid leaving unpleasant surprises on the finish.

In addition, oily rags can combust when wet. So, put them outside or in a pail of water after use. You wouldn’t want to burn your shop down in an attempt to improvise.

6. Fine Steel Wool and Paste Wax

These accessories are useful in achieving a fine texture. However, it would be best to wait until the finish completely cures. Do a soft rub while following the grain. Then, buff it off with a soft rug.

Look for ‘0000’ grade steel wool, which is usually the finest texture in the store. Paste wax should not give you trouble, as whichever type you choose will serve the purpose. Most available stores have good products. Thus, you should get something to serve your purposes.

Also, the paste is a perfect choice as it adheres where you put it and does no harm to the wood. It protects against spills, and you can remove it easily with mineral spirits when necessary. So, even if you get a paste that does not deliver a desirable outcome, you can always remove it.

7. Deck Stain Brushes

Brushes certainly have a special place in deck staining projects. It aids in cutting along edges and hard-to-reach areas. It would be best to get a bristle brush that works for multiple formulas to avoid rushing to the store now and then.

You can even get a four or six-inch brush to back brush the surface for a more even and consistent finish. In addition, a special ‘crack and groove’ brush will come in handy when staining deck boards.

8. Deck Stain Pad

It would be best to use a stain pad or stain mop for larger areas. The accessories make the work 50 percent faster. More so, the stain mop has replacement pads to make the work more convenient.

On the other hand, stain pads have absorbent fibers that soak in more deck stain. They are also excellent for covering the deck floor. Therefore, you can be sure to get the maximum benefit from these tools.

9. Deck Stain Flooring Brushes

You may be wondering how different these brushes are from the normal ones. Well, these are the latest deck stain application tools in the market. They work best for applying clear sealers, but you can use them for stains too.

Flooring brushes attach to a threaded pole, and you can apply the stain as though you are mopping a floor. Thus, you get full coverage within a very short duration and complete the work faster. 

10. Paint Rollers for Decks

You can roll the stain with a paint roller. However, remember that rollers are not the ideal tools for holding deck stains. So, it would also be best to consider the correct roller nap for a better outcome. 

So, please get a wide 18-inch roller for your deck boards. Also, ensure that you stain the boards one at a time for better results. But a mop or stain pad will aid in holding more stain and reduce your trips to the stain bucket.

11. Deck Stain Sprayers

Best HVLP spray gun for wood finishingSprayers are excellent applicators for deck stain formulas. However, some pump-up sprayers meet the basic standards but do not deliver a nice and even application. Therefore, please choose your sprayer wisely.

Fortunately, we have airless sprayers that give the best finish. Although they are expensive to rent or buy, you can be sure to get value for your money. Also, you’ll need to practice and learn how to use the tools before engaging in a major project.

Besides that, it would be prudent to back brush the stain for a more sophisticated and expert finish.

12. Brush Cleaner

A brush cleaner is an easiest and surest way to ensure that you use a clean brush. It also saves you from purchasing a new brush for every project. Thus, once you get a high-quality brush, it will serve you for a long, long duration.

13. Brush Covers

It is okay to have customized techniques such as grocery bags for covering and preserving your paintbrush. However, it would be better to purchase dedicated brush covers. They are easy and safe to apply or remove.

14. Stir Stick

Some formulas need extra stirring before you apply them. Hence, you need a stir stick to mix the contents well. In addition, you may require to thin the stain. And what a perfect way to ensure a consistent mixture other than stirring.

15. Stain Can Opener

The last thing you’d want is to struggle to open the stain can opener right before your big project. More so, it can be something to talk you out of the project if you are not careful. 

In addition, you will avoid opening the can wrongly and spilling the stain all over the place. Thus, it would be best to get a stain can opener and kick off the project in a successful mode. 

16. Wipe-on Stains and Finishes. 

What would you use if someone took away all your spray guns? I’d probably go for wipe-on products. They are perfect for both amateurs and professionals. In addition, they use multiple coats to build up longevity, but they are very pretty and easy to use.

However, it would be best to choose brush-on products wisely as they are thicker and need fewer layers to give a tough surface. They also stay wet for a longer duration and thus may lead to sags, drips, debris, brushstrokes showing on the finish.

So, wipe-on products avoid this headache altogether. They give you a perfect finish without a lot of trouble.

17. Painter’s Pants

Painter’s pants give you the luxury of choosing the best application technique without worrying about your nice jeans. They keep you from staining your clothes and also have extra pockets where you can store your screwdrivers. In addition, they have loops where you can hang your brushes, especially when going up a ladder.

18. Knee Pads

Sometimes you cannot avoid working on the deck floor as you mix the stain or pick the tools. Also, it is so uncomfortable to kneel on a hard surface for a long time. Therefore, knee pads come in handy and ease the staining process. 

19. Work Boots and Gloves

These accessories protect your hands and feet from injuries during painting. Also, they help you complete the project while your hands, fingertips, and feet are still clean. However, work boots and gloves are not mandatory for small or light staining projects.

20. Safety Glasses

Stain spraying sprees can pose a threat to your eyes as you may accidentally interact with harmful toxins. Thus, please ensure that you get some safety goggles when using the spraying technique.

21. Respirator

These masks are also essential for spraying sprees. They filter toxins off the stain and are thus perfect for respiratory protection. In addition, they will work well if you have oil-based stains.

Fortunately, they come in all possible sizes, and it is easy to get your perfect fit.

22. Tape Measure

It is always critical to know the deck measurements and how you’d want to shape the pattern. Hence, a tape measure will come in handy in giving accurate measurements. In addition, these statistics will aid in determining the correct amount of stain you need. Thus, you won’t need to keep going back to the store for more formula. Or have so much leftover stain that will be wastage.

23. Pencil

A pencil will help you mark out identified measurements to ensure you follow the prescribed layout. Also, it is a pretty small accessory and will not take up much space in your toolkit.

24. Dust Sheets

Dust sheets work for large projects or where you do not want to stain the area surrounding your deck. They range from plastic to cotton and other materials, and you’ll find the most suitable one for your work.

25. Masking/Decorators Tape

Since spraying sprees can be so messy, it would be best to get masking/decorators tape. They also help in covering areas that you do not want to stain. In addition, please get a high-quality accessory that will not keep coming off easily.

Besides that, remove the tape slowly and gently. Also, ensure that the stain is almost dry to keep it from bleeding out and compromising your project.

26. Drop Cloth

Spills happen all the time, whether you spray or brush the stain. And drop cloth is essential to keep the surrounding area safe from the stain. Also, canvas rags absorb formulas better than other cloths and are durable.

On top of that, these cloths have solvent and puncture-resistant attributes. They are also slip-resistant even when wet. In addition, drop cloths are lightweight and reusable. Therefore, a perfect addition to your deck staining project.

27. Painting/Staining Rags

These rags are similar to drop cloths, but they are mainly for wiping quick spills. Also, it would be best to get those that absorb stain and dry quickly without leaving streaks on the surface.

Besides that, you can use these rags to pad your ladder points. Hence, it is easy to clean your sprayer or wipe your hands when necessary.

28. Wet or Dry Vacuum

This appliance sucks up dust and debris from the working area. Thus, it aids in keeping a tidy and clean space. Also, it comes in handy when you have large stain spills.

29. Angle Grinder Dust Catcher

A dust catcher is useful during a paint removal venture before staining. It helps to collect dust and keep the area clean. In addition, it has a brush skirt and a spring suspension that seal the attachment to the surface.

Besides that, the Angle Grinder Dust Catcher features a removable segment that helps you close the grinder to painted or stained edges.

30. Spray Shield

A spray shield helps mask a region or do a quickie shield from overspray. It is suitable for large staining projects and makes the whole spraying process safer and faster. On top of that, please consider shorter strokes when working with a spray shield. Or else, you may overshoot its length and end up with stain spatters on other surfaces.

31. Work Light

It would be best to get a work light, especially if you are working at night. Also, it can be a perfect backup plan when there is a blackout, and you need to complete the project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most asked questions about staining tools include:

  • Should I Use a Brush, Sprayer, or Roller to Stain My Deck?

The best applicator to use for your stain is a brush. It aids in ensuring that the formula penetrates deep into the deck wood. Thus, it delivers a long-lasting finish to protect the surface.

In addition, a brush helps you follow the wood grain during application. Hence, it is easy to achieve a uniform and expert finish. You can also whip off excess stain easily before it starts to run or puddle.

On the other hand, a roller is an excellent applicator. But it comes in handy when you want to remove excess stain from an area.

Besides that, a sprayer works well for large areas. It helps you cover a larger surface area within a short time. However, you’d need to cover the surface well to prevent stains in unwanted areas. So, it would be pretty ‘ambitious’ to use a spray on a small surface area. 

  • Is There a Tool to Stain Between Deck Boards?

A Moldable sponge is a perfect tool to use for staining between deck boards. It is also perfect for oil-based formulas and aids in applying the recommended thin coats. On top of that, you can use a bristle brush to spread the stain between small gaps.

  • Can I Stain a Deck in the Evening?

Yes, it is okay to stain your deck in the evening. The timing couldn’t be better as the environment is not too hot to cause the stain to dry too quickly. This way, you are sure of a successful product.

Also, it would be best to do the work during the spring or the fall. These seasons present a perfect condition for deck staining. However, please consult the weather forecast. You would not want your stain washed away by unexpected rain.

  • What Is the Best Brush to Apply Deck Stain?

You can choose from natural bristle or synthetic bristles brushes, depending on the stain you have. For example, it would be prudent to use synthetic bristles brushes for oil stains or 100 percent acrylic formulas. Unlike natural bristled brushes, they will not become limp.

Conversely, natural bristle brushes are suitable for multiple projects. You can clean and reuse them. Therefore, they are also ideal for applying stain formulas.

  • Do You Have to Remove Old Stain Before Restaining

Yes! It would be best to remove the old stain finish before restaining the surface. This way, you’ll deliver a consistent and uniform finish. However, you do not have to strip off the old stain if you use the same brand and color.

  • Will a Pressure Washer Remove Old Deck Stain?

Pressure washing is a fast way to remove deck stain or finish. However, you’ll need to take care to avoid damaging the deck. Also, it would be best to use a 1500 psi pressure setting as it is strong enough to clean deck stains.

On top of that, please hold the sprayer about three inches from the deck. Then, move the sprayer in the same direction as the grain. This way, you clean the deck without compromising its integrity.

Besides that, remember that pressure washing does not substitute sanding. Often, pressure washing will only remove dirt and debris and not smoothen the surface. Therefore, You can use 80-grit sandpaper.

The power washer may also lead to fuzzy and splintery patches. The more reason you need to sand the surface before staining it.

  • What Should I Check Out For When Staining My Deck?

The first thing to check out is if the deck is new. If yes, it would be best to clean it using a deck cleaner. Also, consider whether you had painted or stained the deck previously if it is an old one.

Adding a coat stain on an already stained deck is not a good idea, and you will not achieve a successful product. More so, you may think that you are protecting the wood by adding another layer. But this is not always the case. So, please strip of the old stain first.

On top of that, consider going board by bp0ard during the application process. This exercise helps you to avoid ‘lap marks.’ Therefore, you complete your work faster without wiping off spills or streaks.

Lastly, always back brush the stain if you have an airless sprayer or roller. This way, you get the stain to soak into the wood grain. In addition, spraying is a perfect application technique when you avoid over-spraying. However, the magic is usually in back brushing.


We are always checking out equipment that will enable us to do our staining projects faster and better. More specifically, we surf the net endlessly, sour paint and stain shop shelves, and pick our brains on the pros and cons of various products. All in a bid to get the best:

Deck Staining Tools.

It is always wise to have a few things within reach before you begin your deck staining project. They include pencils, painter’s tape, permanent markers, stirring sticks, cleaning canning jars, brushes, rollers, sprayers, sandpaper, lint-free rag, and protective gear. You may not use all the equipment, but you’ll not be sorry to have everything you need.

Like any other job, getting the correct tools for the deck staining project is half the battle. More so, using high-quality applicators will make the job easier and deliver a top-notch finish. Also, please note that some deck stains are fairly thin and runny. Therefore, some applicator tools will work better than others.

Image of a woodworker wearing hearing protectors for woodworking

Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.

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