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Woman on a ladder using a sprayer to stain a wood siding house exterior.

How To Stain Wood Siding or Home Exterior

Tips for staining wood siding on a log cabin or wood shingled house. We walk you through step by step including tips on the best paint sprayers to use, maintenance, and techniques for staining wood.
Keyword restaining a deck, restoring a deck, staining a deck
Prep Time 2 days
Cook Time 3 days
Total Time 5 days
Servings 1 house
Author Rachel
Cost $250


  • Deck Brush
  • Painting accessories
  • Stain Brushes
  • Paint Sprayer
  • Safety Equipment


  • Exterior Cleaner To remove algae, mildew, and dirt. You may need something stronger such as deck brightener for greyed wood.
  • Stain Color


  • Clean the deck and remove any peeling or chipping stain. You can use a pressure washer with up to 2000 PSI pressure, but be careful not to gouge the wood.
    Pressure washing a deck surface.
  • Remove mildew and grayed wood, if necessary. For wood surfaces, a deck brightener will remove the top layer of gray wood and kill mildew.
    Woman cleaning a deck with a deck brush.
  • Mask any areas that you don’t want sprayed. Sprayers today are very controlled. If you are careful, you only need to mask off about a foot from where you spray to prevent overspray. Mask off any stucco, brickwork, windows, gutters, etc with painter's tape and plastic for large areas. (Photo is from another one of our projects).
    Woman using her finger to burnish edges of tape.
  • Apply stain. I always apply stain with a sprayer and then back brush to work the stain into the grain. A sprayer cuts time by 50-80%.
    Woman on a ladder using a sprayer to stain a wood siding house exterior.


Staining Wood Tips:
  • For large projects, I HIGHLY recommend using a quality paint sprayer. It cuts maybe 50-80% out of the work time. Cover nearby bushes and windows with plastic to make cleanup easier, but they aren't that messy once you get the hang of it. 
  • Stain top to bottom in sections for less overspray and you won't have to worry about touching the lower stain.
  • Even with a sprayer I recommend brushing the stain in. This helps catch any drips and, for transparent or semi-transparent stain, will help the stain bond with the wood.
  • I usually do at least two coats of stain, 3 for clear or light transparent stain. Check the product labels for how long to wait between coats.