Staining a tree house is really no different than staining wood siding or a deck other than it is elevated. Care must be taken when dealing with heights. Use ladder stabilizers and a fall restraint system for protection. Always tether yourself to a safe point on the tree with the proper harness equipment. The use of a bucket truck can also work well if you have that option. But assuming you are the one that built the tree house, you probably have safe means of getting up high to stain the tree house.
First the wood needs to be cleaned. Never stain wood that is not cleaned and prepped correctly. Use a wood cleaner to help loosen dirt and grime from the wood. Use a scrub brush or pressure washer to further remove contaminants and gray wood fibers. Do not use too much water pressure as it can fur up the wood. Keep the nozzle far enough from the wood that it does not cause damage to the tree house.
After the wood is clean, it is important to apply a wood brightener. This will neutralize any cleaner that you used and correct the pH balance of the wood. Neutralizing the wood will brighten the wood’s appearance and open up the wood pores to accept new stain. Allow the tree house to dry for several days before staining.
It is best to stain a tree house when the air temperature is between 45-95 degrees. 60-80 degrees is ideal. Try not to stain the tree house in direct sunlight as this can cause an uneven finish. There should not be any rain for 12 hours after staining. Check your local forecast before starting your tree house staining project.
Knowing how to stain a tree house is all about using the right equipment. A large brush, roller, or sprayer works well to apply stain. Start at the top of the tree house and work your way down. If the tree house is constructed with deck boards or wood siding, apply stain to the entire length of a board before moving to the next. This helps to reduce lap marks.
When applying stain to a tree house, allow the wood to soak up as much stain as possible. If excess stain remains on the surface after 10 minutes wipe it with a clean rag or brush. Do not allow excess stain to dry on the surface. Only apply as much stain as the tree house wood will absorb. Allow the stain to dry for 24-48 before using the tree house.
Knowing how to stain a tree house is a great way to protect your investment. Any surface subjected to the elements will deteriorate if it is not protected. Applying a water resistant finish to a tree house will ensure you get many more years of use out of it.