How to Estimate Deck Staining


Wood is arguably the most popular material used in deck building. The introduction of wood stain offers a seemingly endless number of color possibilities. Not every deck is created equal, creating a vast difference of materials between applications. The amount and cost of stain needed for any given deck project can be successfully estimated by just about anyone in a matter of just a couple of hours (depending on the size and detail of the deck being measured).

Step 1

Calculate the total surface area of the deck by measuring its length and width using your tape measure, then multiply them by each other. Not all decks are created equal. If the deck you are estimating is irregular in shape, try breaking it up into sections with dimensions that are easier to calculate (this can apply to decks which may have triangular components or areas that wrap around a corner of the house), then add them together for the total square footage.

Step 2

Check the area coverage of the stain you are going to use (this will be in square feet and located on the product information label).

Step 3

Divide the total square footage of the deck by the coverage indicated on the stain container (round this number to the higher whole number); this will be the amount of stain you will need. Multiply this number by the unit cost to find the total cost of stain needed for your deck.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Paper
  • Pencil


  • Estimating in Building Construction (6th Edition); Frank R. Dagostino and Leslie Feigenbaum; 2002

Who Can Help

  • Wood Stain Information
  • Sherwin-Williams Exterior Stain Information
Keywords: wood deck, deck staining, construction estimating

About this Author

J. Cavan Barry is an architecture student with over a decade of experience in the general construction field, and four years in architecture. Barry also has nearly a decade of automotive repair experience and is an avid auto enthusiast. After finding an interest in creative writing, he began writing a novel and recently finished the first draft.

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