A seamlessly stained deck that accentuates the natural wood grain is to die for.

Suppose you stain your deck floorboards but don’t know how to stain between deck boards: your deck will leave little to be admired and leave you feeling frustrated.

That’s why as a DIY-er who dreads having to stain between tight deck grooves, you need the right tool to make your work a lot easier.

Stick around to find out which tools you will need and a few tricks that will help you achieve a uniformly stained deck without breaking a sweat.

How To Stain Between Deck Boards

You can use a staining pad with a crack and groove tool to spread the wood stain evenly between either board. Soak up the stain and run it in the space between each board, using back and forth motions. If you use a paint brush or a stain sprayer, back brush the edges of the stained boards to ensure a sleek finish.

Before we embark on this post, take a moment to consider: ‘Should I paint or stain my deck‘.

How Do You Stain Deck Grooves?

Before staining deck grooves, ensure you have the recommended tools and materials listed below. Once that’s checked out, proceed to stain your deck grooves following the steps described. 

Remember to wear your gloves, goggles, dust mask, and closed-toe shoes. Also, have some patience through this process.

Tools and Materials

Steps for staining in between deck boards

Step 1: Prep The Deck

Preparing the wood deck for staining involves surface cleaning and sanding. Doing this guarantees the deck stain will seep into the wood and, in return, protect it from erratic weather patterns and Ultra Violet rays.

Clean your deck thoroughly with a deck cleaner. If you’re working on an older deck, you can wash it with a bleach solution to revive the once vibrant wood color. You could even scrub with a stiff bristle brush if needed. Ensure the cleaning solution gets between the deck board cracks too.

Then pressure wash the deck’s surface and board gaps to eliminate all the debris. And allow the deck to completely dry overnight or for about 24 hours or more before sanding. 

Step 2: Sand Your Deck

Sand the surface of the wood deck boards using a sanding machine and 60-80 grit sandpaper. Always sand along the wood grain. Not sure about which grit sandpaper to use for deck sanding, check here.

How To Sand Between Deck Boards

  • Your best option would be sanding using a thin sanding block wrapped with sandpaper. Ensure the sanding block fits the size of the gaps and sand both sides of the groove in a single pass.
  • If the gaps between deck boards are too tiny, you need to wrap a deck paint stir stick with sandpaper and work it out. You can use the sawing motion (up and down) or back and forth motions.
  • Vacuum or blow the dust off the sanded surface. Then run a tack cloth to ascertain the surface is dust-free. 

Step 3: Apply the Stain

Choose a deck stain and use any of the stain applicators below. Let the first coat dry before applying the second coat.

Read: Can I apply a second coat of stain a week later?

Staining pad with Crack and Groove tool

  • Pour some of the stains into a paint tray. Then place this staining tool on the tray to soak up the stain. Wipe off excess stain drops on the edge of the tray.
  • Run your staining pad on the deck boards as though you were mopping it. Stain the lengths of two boards at a time. Then flip the staining pad to expose the crack and groove tool. Apply stain on the cracks and grooves by running the tool between the board gaps.
  • This multipurpose tool reduces the staining time by about three quarters. It is technically the best and most efficient.

Bristle brushes

  • Another option would be staining deck floorboards using a brush. These brushes are excellent for staining the surface boards. Still, you can squish the bristles and tilt the brush to fit and stain the deck board gaps.
  • Regular stain bristle brushes also make great applicators for stains. However, they mainly cover the deck surface.  And therefore, you will need a separate crack and groove brush to stain between the deck floor.

Deck Stain Sprayer

  • Sprayers are also efficient stain applicators, especially for hard-to-reach areas such as the deck grooves. You can use either a pump sprayer or an airless sprayer, depending on your ease of use. Note that you should only use it on a wind-free day.
  • Use thinner deck stains and the correct nozzle spray pattern, angle the nozzle and spray carefully, overlapping each coat for sufficient coverage. Back brush or roll the overspray on the stained surface while it’s still wet for a uniform finish.

Trick For Staining Between Deck Boards

When you need to hack it, look no further from your kitchen. A dish scouring pad makes an excellent stain applicator that fits comfortably between your deck boards.

Just like painting between deck boards, wear your rubber gloves, dip this pad into the stain, wipe off drips and fit it into the small gaps in question and rub it back and forth to stain the area evenly.

If you can find a moldable sponge or replacement pad, they are great DIY options as well.

Best Way To Stain Between Deck Boards

The best way to stain between decking boards employs a deck stain pad with a crack and groove tool. This method requires the least amount of effort, and it stains both the surface and between the boards in one go. In addition, this feature significantly cuts down the application time.


How Long Does Deck Stain Need to Dry Before It Rains

How Long After Staining a Deck Can You Walk on It

What Stain To Use On Deck

Since a deck is exposed to all manner of raging elements, the best you can do is apply the best sealant that will help the deck wood withstand unpredictable weather and climatic conditions.

Ready Seal Exterior Stain and Sealer is an excellent oil-based product suitable for decks. This stain and sealer penetrates the wood pores and seals the surface to protect against moisture and mildew. It also has a UV rays filter to prevent your wooden deck from graying.

It is available in rich, wood-toned hues to accentuate the wood grain pattern and easily applies with a scrub brush, roller, or pump sprayer.


How to stain between cracks on deck

Begin with proper washing and sanding the deck. Then, choose your preferred deck stain and applicator. Next, put the stain on a paint tray; and dip your tool in the stain. Next, fit the stain applicator between the deck boards and drag it back and forth to ensure uniform stain coverage.

For more deck maintenance tips, you can also read our guide on how to mend a splintered wood deck. This will help you keep your deck in top condition for years to come.

Do I need to stain in between deck boards?

Yes, you need to stain between deck boards to guarantee that moisture won’t seep into the wood through the unstained spaces. Besides, staining between deck boards gives your entire deck a complete and even look.

Can you use a roller to stain a deck?

Yes, you can apply stain with a roller. Choose a wide size for staining a couple of deck boards at a time. However, rollers don’t hold up much stain; therefore, you’ll need to dip it back into the staining tray from time to time.

Read also: Which one is better between 3/8 vs 1/2 nap roller?

Is it better to brush or roll deck stains?

Brushing deck stain involves a certain degree of friction, allowing the wood to soak up more stain than it would if the stain were rolled. Even though brushing and rolling give you an even coat, it is better to apply deck stain to realize better diffusion into the wood grains.

How do you seal the space between deck boards?

A simple and effective solution to sealing the spaces between deck boards is to caulk between them. Use a Silicone caulk because it is pretty subtle, water-resistant, and an extremely airtight sealant.

What is the easiest way to stain spindles on a deck

One of the easiest ways to stain deck spindles is by applying stain using a pump sprayer. Alternatively, using a Contour stain applicator or a Painter’s mitt stains the curves and twists of deck spindles easily.

How do you clean debris between deck boards?

Cleaning the spaces between deck boards can be tedious if you have to get on your knees. So instead, attach a hook into the handle of a broom. Then, pull the hook through the cracks to lift out debris, sweep and dispose of appropriately. Or you can pressure wash the gunk off your deck boards.

How to Stain in Between Deck Boards Summary

Knowing how to stain between deck boards sets you apart as a pro. And having the right tools to get between the deck grooves is another plus.

We recommend using the multi-purpose stain pad with crack and groove tool when staining between deck boards! Still, you can spray stain the gaps, use a bristle brush or DIY staining pad to get the job done.

If you found this post informative, share it with whomever you think would benefit from it.

Interesting read: What is Cheaper Wood Deck or Concrete Patio?

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