Give a timber deck a tinted finish

Give a new deck a chic, on-trend look with a tinted finish that still allows the beautiful grain to shine.

Bunnings magazine, February 2021

Tools and materials:


Deck cleaning solution

Deck sealer or stain

Hose with adjustable nozzle

Lambswool applicator with extension pole

Medium-width paint brush

Painters tape

Paint stirrer

Safety equipment (eye protection and non-slip shoes)

Stiff-bristled broom

Timber prep product

Timber staining

A low-level timber deck was the answer to creating a chic base for this outdoor room. Made from treated pine, this modular system has decking panels that are relatively lightweight to work with and can be stained any colour. The water-based stain used here leaves a semi-opaque finish.

Essential exposure

Any new timber that will be subject to the elements must be sealed to protect it from deteriorating, but first it should be exposed to the weather for at least a month to leech out the natural tannins, pigments and oils. If these aren’t removed, the quality of the finish can be compromised. An alternative that’s quicker is to treat the timber with a prepping product designed to activate with water, followed by a deck cleaner to do what the weathering does in a couple of hours.

Tinted finish timber deck

1. Prep the timber

Wet the deck using a hose, sweeping away pools of water with a stiff-bristled broom. Pour the prep solution into a bucket to brush it liberally over the boards, applying a thick coat and leaving it for 15 minutes.

Pro tip: Work backwards, standing on the un-prepped decking to avoid slipping.

Tinted finish timber deck

2. Apply the prep solution

Wearing non-slip shoes, systematically scrub the solution into the boards, then rinse off thoroughly with a hose.

Pro tip: Use the hose to mist over the deck to keep it damp throughout the preparation and cleaning process, wetting the boards again before applying the cleaner.

3. Mix and apply cleaning solution

In a bucket, mix one part cleaning solution with four parts water and scrub it thoroughly over the damp decking with the stiff-bristled broom. Leave the solution for 20 minutes, keeping the deck damp by misting over any patches that begin to dry out.

Pro tip: Water activates the solution to remove the tannins.

Tinted finish timber deck

4. Rinse well and leave to dry

Hose off the solution until the soda-like bubbles have dispersed, directing the wash away from structures or plants, then brush off excess water and leave to dry completely. Sweep the deck with a dry broom to remove any residual dirt.

Pro tip: After cleaning, treated pine will look lighter and more even in colour.

5. Paint and seal

Mask around posts, steps and along walls with tape. Stir the stain to disperse pigments for an even colour and pour into a bucket. Paint stain around the edges of the deck and seal the exposed ends of the boards with a brush.

Pro tip: For access to the decking end-grain, paint the fascia separately and attach it after sealing the deck.

Tinted finish timber deck

6. Stain, dry and repeat for three coats

Apply the stain with a lambswool applicator, working quickly along three boards at a time, using a sweeping motion and working backwards to avoid walking on the wet stain. Leave to dry for two hours, then repeat to apply a second and third coat. Leave the deck to dry for a day before walking on it.

Tip: For 30 modular decking squares (just over 30 square metres) you’ll need at least four litres of timber prep solution and four litres of stain for each coat.

Looking for the right finish for your deck?

Our how to guide on choosing decking oil, paint and stains will come in handy.


Photo credit: Cath Muscat

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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