Knowing how to prevent footprints on a stained deck is more important than you might think. After all, if you’re waiting for the stain to dry, the last thing you want is someone (or something) to go walking across it.
So, here are 7 ways to prevent footprints on your recently stained deck.
How to Prevent Footprints on a Stained Deck
1. Tape off the area
Let’s start with the obvious: tape off the area. While any tape will do, why not hit the point home with some caution tape? Put it across the door and the deck stairs to stop someone from inadvertently walking on it.
2. Cover it
To prevent animals from walking on your deck, try tenting it with a tarp or similar sheet. Granted, this could be challenging once the stain is wet, but you could set it up before. Just arrange the tarp in such a way that animals can’t get under it.
3. Install an ultrasonic repellent
How better to prevent animal tracks on your deck than repelling the animals completely? An ultrasonic repellent emits a noise that most animals can’t stand, keeping them away from your deck. Of course, make sure you get a pet-safe one if you have animals of your own.
4. Use a solid stain
Granted, this won’t prevent footprints on your deck but should make them less obvious. Stains come in solid and semi-transparent varieties. The former is, obviously, a solid color, meaning marks don’t show up as easily.
5. Use oil-based stains
Similarly, opt for oil-based stains if you’re worried about marks during drying. Oil stains are more forgiving and generally cure more quickly than water-based versions. As such, there’s less time to worry about footprints happening.
6. Stain in thinner coats
Staining your deck with numerous thinner coats might take longer, but it also means marks are less obvious. For example, if you use one thick coat, a footprint will show up easily. But if someone steps on the deck after a single thin coat, you should be able to cover it with the next one.
7. Cleaning off footprints
Of course, footprints can occur at any point, and can often stick around even on a completely dry deck. If this happens, your best bet is to clean them off. Normal cleaning chemicals are too harsh for wood, but oxygen-based stain remover actually does a decent job.
Mix a quarter-cup into a bucket of water and scrub the stains thoroughly. It might help to do a test patch somewhere to see how the stain and wood react. Failing this, you’ll probably need to paint over tough stains.
Hopefully, some of these suggestions for how to prevent footprints on a stained deck should work for you. It’ll always be easier to stop people and pets from walking on a freshly stained deck, but wild animals are a different story. If you’re concerned about this, your best bet will likely be an ultrasonic repellent device.