Stained a Deck the Wrong Color? Here’s How to Fix it

By MWB-Team •  Updated: 05/28/23 • 

You’re staining your deck; however, you realize you used the wrong stain color upon completion. Apart from using the wrong stain color, the final results may appear different from what you expected.

Whether you used the wrong color or your deck came out too dark, too light, or other different color variations, we hear you. The good thing is you can do something to fix it and achieve the desired results or even better. Below are some ways to fix the color of your deck.

Use Solid Colored Stains

This is the easiest and fastest way of fixing a wrong-colored deck. All you have to do is use a solid-colored deck stain over the existing stain, and you’re good to go. Solid-colored deck stains are good at hiding imperfections and, in this case, helping you get your desired color.

Restaining a deck

Restaining a deck

The rich and opaque color of solid stains also accentuates the texture of wood and, compared to other types of wood stains, provides more deck protection. Solid stained colors offer better UV protection, are easier to maintain, and last longer while costing the same as other stains. If you’re looking for the best deck stains, check out our best deck stains.

Wood Bleach/Stripper

Apart from covering your deck with a solid color stain, you can also use wood bleach or stripper on your wrong colored deck. A wood bleach or stripper is a good option if you’re lightening the opacity of your current deck stain or making a dramatic color change of the deck.

Before committing to using a wood bleach/stripper, ensure it will work by testing it on a small part of your deck. If you achieve the desired results, then you can move to apply the bleach/stripper on the deck.

Before and After Deck Stripping

Before and After Deck Stripping

Wood bleach and strippers work well with flat decks that have little imperfections. If your deck has an imperfection, like cracks, scrub thoroughly between the cracks to get most of the old stain out. After using bleach/strippers, clean and rinse the deck using a pressure washer and allow it to dry.

After drying, test your desired deck stain on a small part of your deck. Wait for it to dry; if everything looks good, apply it over the whole deck.


Sanding is one of the most traditional ways of fixing deck stain color. Before sanding, first, make sure the current stain is dry. You should also countersink every nail and screw so they don’t rip your sandpaper. Use a nail punch (Here’s a 4-Piece Nail Punch) to countersink every nail sticking up while also screwing down the screws.

Sanding down a deck is an easy task if you have a reliable oscillating or orbital sander. Hand sanding would take so much effort and requires a significant amount of time. The deck should also be flat, lacking many curves that require sanding by hand.

sanding a deck

To remove the existing stain on your deck, start with a lower grit sandpaper, like 40-grit. Once you remove the existing stain, work through finer sandpaper grits like 80, then 120 to create a smoother finish.

Sanded and Unsanded Parts of a Deck

Sanded and Unsanded Parts of a Deck

Once you’re done sanding, sweep or vacuum the deck and apply the preferred stain color. Remember to test the stain color on a small part of your deck and see the results before applying it over the whole deck. This will ensure you are certain of the color and avoid another deck color fix.


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