Brushing vs. Spraying Deck Stain - Which Method Is Best?

Tyler Bains
Apr 11, 2024By Tyler Bains

Deck staining is an essential part of maintaining and preserving the beauty of your outdoor space. Not only does it protect the wood from weather damage, but it also enhances the overall appearance of your deck.

When it comes to applying stain, there are two primary methods: brushing and spraying. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of each method to help you determine which one is right for you.



Brushing is the traditional method of applying solid deck stain and has been used for years. It involves using a brush to manually spread the stain onto the surface of the deck. One of the main advantages of brushing is that it allows for better penetration of the stain into the wood, resulting in a more even and long-lasting finish.

Another benefit of brushing is that it allows for better control over the application. You have the ability to reach every nook and cranny, ensuring that the stain is applied evenly to all areas of the deck. This is especially important for intricate designs or decks with a lot of corners and edges.


Spraying, on the other hand, involves using a sprayer to apply the stain onto the deck. This method is faster and more efficient, particularly for large deck surfaces. It allows for quick coverage and can save you a significant amount of time compared to brushing. We prefer to use this for transparent stain on flat, non-lattice material.

deck staining spraying

One of the downsides of spraying is that it may not provide as thorough coverage as brushing. There is a higher chance of overspray or uneven application, which can result in an inconsistent finish. Additionally, spraying may not allow for the same level of stain penetration as brushing, potentially leading to a shorter lifespan of the stain.

Which Method is Right for You?

The choice between brushing and spraying ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Deck Size: If you have a small deck or one with intricate designs, brushing may be the better option to ensure thorough coverage.
  2. Time: If you are looking for a quick and efficient application, spraying is the way to go, especially for larger decks.
  3. Control: If you want more control over the application and a more even finish, brushing is the recommended method.
  4. Experience: Spraying may require some practice to achieve a consistent finish, while brushing is more straightforward and suitable for beginners.

Ultimately, the choice between brushing and spraying for deck staining comes down to personal preference and the specific characteristics of your deck. Some homeowners even choose to combine both methods, using brushing for the majority of the deck and spraying for hard-to-reach areas or for a faster initial application.


When it comes to deck staining, both brushing and spraying have their advantages and disadvantages. Brushing offers better control and penetration, while spraying is faster and more efficient for larger decks. Consider the size of your deck, the time you have available, and the level of control you desire to determine which method is right for you. Remember, the most important thing is to protect and enhance the beauty of your deck, regardless of the application method you choose.