Staining Your Charleston Deck The Right Way

July 10, 2014 | By | 4 Comments

Last week we were contracted to refinish and stain a front porch in Charleston SC. This was porch was done previously with latex stain multiple times. When decks and porches get stained too often, or before they are ready, with a new oil/latex stain they build up a film that not only looks bad but will block the grain giving it more of a solid appearance.

Righting the Wrong

After seeing this porch for the first time I knew the old coating had to come off. There are basically two choices when removing an existing coating. Either chemically strip or sand it completely off. Since chemically stripping latex stain is near impossible I chose to sand it off.

We used our Festool RO90 sander coupled with a dust extractor and 40 grit paper to remove the old latex stain. After removing the built up coating we went over the entire porch with 100 grit paper to remove some of the scratches caused by the removal process.

Sanding Charleston Porch Floor

Choosing the Right Stain

The most important part of this job was choosing the right stain that will look nice and not build a film next time it’s re-coated. These types of stains are commonly referred to as a non-film forming stain.

Basically, there are three main types of semi-transparent stain.

  • New Lower VOC Oil Stains
  • Latex Stains
  • And What I Call -Old School Oils

The only type of stain I sell to my customers are the old school oils such as TWP. They have higher VOC’s than the newer stains which allows them to penetrate deep into the wood. They are also able to be re-coated with without the need to strip them every three years because they do not build a film, which is exactly what I look for in a good semi-transparent stain.

Caked up latex stain

Close up of the
oil caked on latex stain

Applying the Stain

TWP and most other non-film forming stains need to be applied “wet on wet.” That means you allow the first coat to soak in for a little bit then go over it again before it’s fully dried. If there are areas that haven’t soaked in after 30mins use a rag to wipe it off. This commonly happens on knots because they tend to be harder and don’t absorb as much stain.

TWP Pecan Stain

Long-term Maintenance

The beauty of this system is the ease in which you can maintain it. If after three years it starts to look dull and worn after a good cleaning you can simply reapply the stain. There will never be a need to use strippers that won’t work and your deck or porch will look great, be protected, and cost less to maintenance down the road.

Stained Porch in Charleston

Staining front porch

Finished Stained Deck

Give Us a Call!

Call Paragon Painting, for all your staining needs. We will always use the best products on the market and give you a detailed painting quote with a fair price. We service the entire Charleston, SC area including:

SummervilleMt PleasantMoncks Corner, Folly Beach, Ladson, North Charleston, Hanahan, James Island, Sullivans Island, and beyond. We are the exterior and interior house painting experts, call us at 843-695-9450




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About the Author (Author Profile)

I've been brought up in the painting industry and have learned everything I know from my father Paul Briggs. He is the founder of Paragon Painting and I joined him full time in 2003 after graduating college. I am now happily married with two beautiful children ages two and five.

Comments (4)

  1. steve

    hello, What color of twp did you use on the above pics of a porch deck. That is the color I’m shooting for. I don’t mean to be a bother, but I can’t seem to make my mind up. I did my front deck in twp natural, and It’s a little too orange for my liking. Since your a professional, is it alright to have 2 different decks stained 2 different your opionion. Thanks, if you have time to reply I would appreciate it. Steve

    • Hi Steve, The color of the deck in the pics was TWP Pecan. I don’t think its a big deal to have a front and back deck two different colors. After a few years when it’s time to recoat use the Pecan and make them the same then.

  2. steve

    Thanks, Ryan. my deck is pressured treated, and has to be stripped of an oil based failed cabot stain. Was the deck you did in the pics pressured treated. also, are you saying I can stain right over the natural without stripping. thanks again, You are the only one who has answered my questions, and I am grateful. steve

    • Hi Steve, The deck in the post was pressure treated and sealed with a latex stain that I sanded off. You can stain right over the natural without stripping but you’ll have to wait until it’s ready to accept new stain. A good way to test it is to splash water on the deck. If the water beads up it’s not ready, if it soaks in then give it a light sand with some 60grit and go for it.

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