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Whether you are doing the job yourselfor hiring a contractor to do the work, you should have a thorough understanding of the staining process. The following information offers some guidelines for preparing your home's exterior wood surfaces for staining.

Timing
The best time to stain your home's exterior, deck siding, or outdoor furniture is when temperatures are moderate (above 50°F, but below 95°F), the humidity is low to average, and there is no rain in the immediate forecast. Ideally, you should have three to four consecutive dry days prior to beginning any exterior staining project.

Tools for the Job
Benjamin Moore offers a complete line of brushes and rollers designed to work with stain. Alkyd or oil-based stains should be applied with natural-bristle brushes. Synthetic-bristle brushes are ideal for latex stains. The following is a list of tools and supplies for exterior staining projects. Speak to your Benjamin Moore retailer for advice on the right application methods and products for your particular project.

• Stain brushes or pad applicators
• Benjamin Moore rollers and roller covers
• Stain mitt
• Sprayer
• Caulk
• Gloves
• Hose or power washer
• Paint scraper
• Painter's tape
• Rags
• Sandpaper
• Wire brush


Preparation (All Exterior Projects)
To achieve the best results, be sure to take the time to properly prepare the surface to be stained. As with paint, proper preparation is the key to a successful staining job that will last. See the following categories to find which best describes the wood condition, and how to prepare its surface.

• New wood – "mill glaze" is found on new, smooth planed wood, and interferes with the adhesion and penetration of stain. Use Benjamin Moore BRIGHTEN Brightener and Neutralizer (317) to remove the mill glaze found on all new wood.

• Unfinished wood – Use Benjamin Moore CLEAN Multi-Purpose Cleaner (318) to prepare wood for staining. CLEAN removes mold and mildew.

• Maintained finished wood – Use Benjamin Moore CLEAN Multi-Purpose Cleaner (318) to keep stained surfaces looking crisp as well as to prepare for regular maintenance touch-ups.

• Mildewed/neglected wood – Use Benjamin Moore RESTORE Wood Restorer (316) to remove dead wood fibers and for cleaning. Please note that Benjamin Moore RESTORE darkens tannin-rich woods such as cedar and redwood. Use Benjamin Moore BRIGHTEN Brightener and Neutralizer (317) to reverse the darkening effect.

• Worn/stained wood – Use Benjamin Moore REMOVE Finish Remover (315) to remove existing oil and/or latex finishes as well as to remove opaque solid color stains and water sealers from wood prior to refinishing or restoration. Use Benjamin Moore BRIGHTEN Brightener and Neutralizer (317) to neutralize Benjamin Moore REMOVE residue.

• Tannin-rich woods – (cedar, redwood) – Use Benjamin Moore Alkyd Primer (366) to control tannin bleeding when using solid color stains, particularly under lighter colors.