When putting a stain on or painting a deck, the job can seem incomplete if the spaces between the boards are left unpainted or without stain. The problem with getting to the spaces between the deck boards is the fact that the boards are close together, and tools commonly used for painting decks, such as paint rollers, cannot get in between the boards. There are tools that can get into the spaces, though, even if the space is tight and hard to reach.

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Painting or staining a deck requires getting between the boards.

Pump Sprayer

A pump sprayer is a type of spraying tool that allows the user to spray paint while pumping and pressing the handle of the sprayer. It is first filled up with the preferred paint, and then the pump is pulled and pushed up and down. If it is the type of pump that has a trigger handle, pressure builds up and pressing the handle releases the paint. Otherwise, the pumping motion causes the paint to spray out. Aim the spraying edge at the crack and run it along the inside to get the paint between the spaces.

Sponge

A sponge, which is moldable and squishes, can be used to get between the spaces. Simply dip the sponge into the paint, wipe along the edge to remove drips and then put the sponge into the cracks between the boards. Drag it along the boards and the paint is left behind. One type of "sponge on a stick" that can be used for this purpose is a trim paintbrush made of foam rubber.

Bristle Paintbrush

A paintbrush of the right size is good for decks with a larger gap size. It is quick and easy to paint using a paintbrush as long as the brush fits in the gap space. There are a wide range of paintbrush sizes, but usually a brush designed for painting walls is appropriate—the thinner the better. Avoid the use of a paintbrush in small or narrowing gaps, because the bristles might get pinched in the crack or bent and become damaged.

Tips for Tools

The appropriate tool for painting or staining a deck depends on the deck size, and the best approach often requires a use of a combination of tools. Using a paintbrush or a sponge on a larger deck is impractical and time consuming, but those tools can be used for detail areas where a sprayer is impractical. Using a sprayer on a smaller deck might not be worth the setup to prevent paint from getting on a house. Use a paintbrush only when there are large cracks and use a sponge for the small cracks where a paintbrush doesn't fit.