5 Best Semi Transparent Deck Stain Reviews 2024

Deck Stain

Last updated on October 18th, 2022 | By: Grady Galvez

By: Grady Galvez ∣ Updated: January 09, 2024

Independent research is being carried by our expert team of editors to recommend the best and most preferred products. Our review process is right here!! To know more read more.

The best semi-transparent deck stain allows the natural color of the wood to shine through because it is essentially a “see-through” layer that protects the wood but lets the color of that would be seen.

Semi-Transparent wood stain is simple to apply, easy to maintain, and lets you have a ‘best of both worlds’ effect for your wooden surfaces that lay in the open. If you do need to strip the deck, it is a very fast and simple thing to do with.

These outdoor stains for wood also allow each deck to have a unique look because no two wooden decks will be the exact same color or shade. The article below reviews the best semi-transparent stains available in the market but if you wish to learn more about the different deck stains and their application.

Top Rated Semi Transparent Deck Stain - A Quick Comparison


Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon

best semi transparent stain for cedar siding

  • Containing Certified Ingredients
  • Available In Many Different Colors
  • No Specific Temp Range Required


KILZ L832211 1-Gallon

best semi transparent deck stain

  • 100% Acrylic Formula
  • Can Last 3 Years On Foot Deck
  • Resists Mildew In A Finish


DEFY Extreme 5-Gallon

best rated semi transparent deck stain

  • Easy To Maintain
  • Withstands Damp Conditions
  • Water-Based & ECO Friendly

Best & Fast Drying Semi Transparent Deck Stain - A Detailed Review

1. DEFY Extreme 5 Gallon

A water-based DEFY Extreme wood stain has a natural matte finish and is great for more than just decks. It can be used on surfaces such as siding, playsets, fencing, and outdoor furniture. Because it has tiny zinc particles throughout the stain, it reflects harmful UV rays, prevents color loss and fading, click here to see a stained deck.

Also, because of its high-quality resins, it tends to last one or more seasons longer than traditional stains. This DEFY Extreme wood stain is the best semi transparent stain for cedar siding that requires no stripping or sanding when you wish to apply another coat and the zinc particles also prevent your deck from growing mold or mildew.

It comes in one- or five-gallon buckets and in a variety of shades and tones. You can use a paintbrush or even a spray painter to apply the stain and it is also environmentally friendly and water-repellent. It is a good overall deck stain that is both durable and reliable.


  • There is little to no peeling and fading over time.

  • It does well even in harsh environmental conditions.

  • It doesn’t gray or loses color consistency over time.


  • Some users claim that it is more transparent than semi-transparent.

  • Some have complained about a “muddy” look after the stain is applied.

  • Some have claimed that the stain makes the deck look too dark in color.

2. Deck Premium Wood Stain

Available in either one- or two-and-a-half-gallon containers, we consider this as the best-rated semi-transparent deck stain because it is made by Saver Systems acts as both a stain and a sealant for structures such as decks, siding, and fencing products.

It protects the wood from damaging UV rays and dries to a flat, very natural-looking finish every time. This is a water-based, low-VOC stain that makes cleanup a breeze and it is available in four different finishes for your convenience, Check out the most authentic user review here.

The #1 Deck stain is the most suitable semi-transparent fence stain that can be used on any type of softwood including redwood, cedar, fir, or pine that has been pressure-treated.

Even if your deck is very old or hasn’t been stained in quite a while, this excellent stain will make sure that it looks extraordinary when the job is complete. In fact, it can give even an old, faded deck a brand-new look and people will hardly be able to tell that it’s a deck that has been around for some time.


  • It changes the appearance of your deck for the better.

  • It provides a bubble-free, non-slippery surface to walk on after it’s applied.

  • It is easy to clean and offers great penetration into the wood.


  • Some users complain that the wood still gets saturated when it rains even after two to three coats have been applied.

  • Some have complained about the water-resistant capability being unreliable.

  • There have been some complaints about the warranty not being good enough.

3. Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon

Made for both decks and siding, this Ready Seal oil based semi transparent stain enhances the natural beauty of the wood and provides stunning color and tone that everyone will notice.

This semi-transparent deck stain does a great job of preventing your deck from fading or becoming damaged due to harsh weather conditions or being accosted by the elements on a regular basis. It is also made with Tung and linseed oils that offer some of the best durability on the market. Here’s a full working of its application and subsequent finish that you get after using it.

The Ready Seal 512 does a great job of color consistency so even if the two containers that you purchase are bought many months apart, they can be used together without any problems. It is easy to apply and it looks great for many years to come, making it a very valuable addition to your stain and paint collection.


  • It is most durable deck stain color.

  • It is a high-quality product meant to last.

  • It is easy to apply.


  • There have been some complaints about the deck being sticky even after the wood has dried.

  • There have been some complaints about the effects not lasting very long.

  • There have been some complaints about the overall quality of the product.

4. BEHR Premium 1 gal. #ST-533

Made by a very reputable company, these Behr semi-transparent stain colors are easy to apply, dries very quickly, and works like a charm! It produces beautiful results and provides some of the best coverage of any product available today.

If you’re new to deck staining, this is a great product because it is easy to use and apply. It produces results that are better than most people were expecting. A quick look at the review by David J Aure, who recently used this product.


  • It is a very high-quality and reliable product.

  • It is excellent as a water-repellent product.

  • It can withstand a variety of environmental conditions.


  • There have been some complaints about flaking and mildewing of the wood.

  • Some users have claimed that it didn’t penetrate the wood at all.

  • Some have claimed that the effects lasted only a short period of time.

5. Kilz Exterior - Water Based Semi Transparent Stain

Available in nine tones, the Kilz L832111 waterproofing exterior wood stain offers long-lasting protection and a mildew-resistant finish every time. It is made from 100% acrylic and does a great job of protecting the wood from snow, rain, and the sun.

With this product, you get up to 250 square feet of coverage for the first coat and up to 500 square feet for the second. It is also easily applied with a paintbrush, pad applicator, or a pump sprayer.

The Kilz L832111 wood stain protects both the beauty and the integrity of the wood for many years and it can also be used on siding, fencing shakes, railings, shingles, and outdoor patio furniture.

It lasts up to three years when used on decks and up to five years if used on siding or fencing. It can be used even on decks that haven’t been stained or treated for a while, you can see further details about its features & specifications here.


  • It dries quickly and dries very hard.

  • It offers excellent coverage regardless of where you apply it.

  • It is a little thicker than other types of stain.


  • There have been some complaints about unusually long drying times.

  • Some have complained about the color of not looking the same as it does on the container.

  • There have been some complaints about an “uneven” look.

Pet Safe Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Things To Consider Before Buying Semi Transparent Deck Stain

1. Application of Product

Most of the time, a semi-transparent deck stain can only be applied if the wood is clean, smooth, and dry so if your deck looks messy or old, it’s good to give it a deep cleanup with pressure washer brush before starting with the stain.

Sanding the wood is a great way to begin and you have to make sure that all “fuzz” or uneven spots are smoothed out before applying the stain.

Stain products will only penetrate the wood efficiently if the wood is clean and dry.

oil based semi transparent stain

You should also apply the stain in thin coats because if you don’t, it may not penetrate the way that it should. Most importantly, you have to closely follow all of the directions on the packaging of the product because if you eliminate or alter just one step, the entire look can be the opposite of what you wanted it to be.

2. Types Of Wood For Decking

As with most other items, certain types of wood are better than others when it comes to decks. The wood used for decks usually includes:

  • Pressure-treated wood, which is chemically treated to resist mold and rot and is very reasonably priced
  • Cedar, which is lightweight, very strong, and resistant to insects and rot
  • Redwood, which is a natural-looking wood and very attractive; though somewhat expensive, it is a high-quality wood that is considered the classic choice for decks
  • Composite wood, which is usually made out of recycled plastics and wood fibers and is virtually maintenance-free
  • Tropical hardwoods, which are very expensive but can last for decades; these require an oil-based stain and not one that is water-based

There are other, less traditional types of deck materials, including aluminum, so it is best to research the advantages and disadvantages of each before making a final decision.

3. Exposure to the Elements

Decks are outdoors, which means that they are going to be exposed to the elements all year long. For this reason, it is good to research the advantages and disadvantages of each type of deck stain so that you can choose the right stain for your area of the country.

Whether it stays hot and humid most of the year or your winters are exceptionally cold and bitter, it is good to search for a product that is made for that specific weather condition. Otherwise, the stain simply won’t work the way that you wanted it to and you’ll end up using more wood cleaner or mildew blocker than you do stain product.

4. Safety versus Aesthetics

You’re not just staining your deck to make it look better; you’re also staining it to protect the wood and make it last longer. Yet another advantage of using the best deck stain and sealant is the product’s ability to keep you safer because a non-slippery, smooth, and sealed deck is always safer than one that isn’t treated properly or at all.

Fortunately, the deck stains made today can serve both purposes because most of them can both protect your deck to keep it safer and make it look extraordinary as well. An attractive stain that is also a high-quality protecting sealant is advantageous for many reasons and finding this product shouldn’t be difficult at all.

4. Solid Stain vs Semi Transparent

Selecting any one is these is a matter of one’s own preference and if you are in a dilemma then you should think of the deck finish you will like to have.

Whether the solid stains or the semi-transparent stains, both are made of same elements but the former is thicker than the latter.

Transparent stains show the wood grain after being applied and soak into the wood surface while the solid stains sit on the wood surface and produce a protective thin film.

5. Oil-Based or Water-Based?

A high-quality semi-transparent deck stain usually is available in both oil-based and water-based varieties and each of these has its own positive and negative qualities. Much of the time, the stain that you choose is just a matter of preference and taste but if you’re curious about these stains, below are a few things to keep in mind.

An oil-based stain:

  • Is great for decks that are exposed to harsh weather conditions
  • Takes a little longer to dry
  • Has better penetration than a water-based stain
  • Is exceptionally durable

A water-based stain:

  • Retains its color better than an oil-based stain
  • Is more breathable and therefore won’t trap moisture
  • Cleans up easily with soap and water
  • Is great for woods that resist decay and rot, such as redwood, cedar, and cypress

best semi transparent stain for cedar siding

Depending on where you live and what your deck will be exposed to, it is easy to choose the right type of stain once you decide on the results that you were hoping to get from it. There are also hybrid deck stains that combine oil- and water-based latex and they contain many of the benefits of each type of deck stain.

Why Use A Semi-Transparent Deck Stain?

Well a semi-transparent deck stain is used because it not only brings out the natural color of the wood but also being see through lets only the wood’s color to be highlighted.

The best thing about semi-transparent deck stains is that it is pretty simple on maintenance and you can easily clean the deck with the help of a high-performance pressure washer.

It makes it super easy to remove the grime and dirt even without stripping or sanding the wood in advance. The deck stain comes in two formulations which are oil (alkyd) based and water (latex acrylic) based.

It all boils down to your preference. Both the formulations are equally great in terms of durability and withstanding drastic weather conditions.

Best Rated Semi Transparent Deck Stain

How To Stain A Deck Using Semi-Transparent Stain?

The semi-transparent stain should be ideally used or applied when the wood is dry, smooth and clean. So if the deck is messy or is old you should always clean it with a good pressure washer brush. This should make it clean before using the semi-transparent stain.

The uneven spots of the wood should be smoothed before we apply the stain by sanding the wood. This is important as for the wood stain to penetrate the wood efficiently the wood should be clean and dry.

Semi Transparent Stain Reviews

Another important step which needs to be followed is that the stain should be applied in thin coats, to make it able to penetrate the wood properly.

The product always comes with a set of instructions, these are very important and need to be followers properly. If even one step is missed you may spoil the whole process and have the opposite results of what you may aspect.

How To Stain A Deck With Semi-Transparent Stain

Frequently Asked Question's

Q1. Which is the best semi-transparent deck stain?

Last updated on October 18th, 2022 | By: Grady Galvez

Ans1. #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Deck Stain is a top-notch brand for staining decks, fences, siding, patio sets, and furniture too. This is formulated with the latest technology and prevents your wood from fading, graying, or peeling. Henceforth, the best stain provides your decks with ample of protection against the harmful and damaging rays of the sun. For long-lasting results, they can be applied on damp wood and makes your decks look fresh and helps them to keep well-maintained.

Q2. Can you spray stain on a deck?

Last updated on October 18th, 2022 | By: Grady Galvez

Ans2. An airless paint sprayer can be used to apply stain on your deck. These sprayers are effective and efficient both and deliver the optimum results within few hours. The same work would have taken days if you were to stain your deck by hand. So, the sprayers are quicker, easier, and effective for staining decks.

Q3. Is it required to remove all the stains before re-staining?

Last updated on October 18th, 2022 | By: Grady Galvez

Ans3. We re-stain a deck to remove its dullness and give it a fresh look. And if your deck has weathered and has started peeling, then removing the previous mess is very important in order to get a smooth and long-lasting finish. Though these deck stains provide a lot of protection to your wood but eventually wear away and flake due to various reasons.

Q4. Can a semi-transparent stain be put over a solid stain?

Last updated on October 18th, 2022 | By: Grady Galvez

Ans4. The quality and nature of a semi-transparent stain is to show the character of the wooden surface on which it is applied. The grain of the underlying wood shows through beautifully after applying the stain. If you use a semi-transparent stain over a solid stain, then it won’t last long, appear good and will rather look strange. Though the solid stain can easily be applied on a semi-transparent stain. The semi-transparent stains are designed to penetrate deep inside the wood and applying them over a solid stain will prove of no use.

Q5. How long does it take for a semi-transparent deck stain to dry?

Last updated on October 18th, 2022 | By: Grady Galvez

Ans5. As we have mentioned above also that the semi-transparent deck stains have the quality to penetrate deep inside the wooden surfaces on which it is applied. So, these penetrative semi-transparent stains require at least a drying time of one to two days. Though the weather conditions also play a vital role in making the wet stains turn dry. On the other hand, the non-penetrative stains take a lot more time to dry, and that may be weeks.

Q6. What is the difference between transparent & semi-transparent deck stain?

Last updated on October 18th, 2022 | By: Grady Galvez

Ans6. When we are talking about two different types of stains, they have got probably their own space to solve a purpose. But they do carry some attributes that may vary.

Q7. What is the difference between semi-transparent stain and solid stains?

Last updated on October 18th, 2022 | By: Grady Galvez

Ans7. Semi-transparent stains are a little more transparent than solid stain colors. They’re also easier to apply because they can be applied with a brush, roller, or sprayer. Solid stain colors are opaque and require an application with a paintbrush or roller.

In Conclusion 

A semi-transparent stain offers many benefits for your deck and finding the right type and brand shouldn’t be difficult for you. Taking good care of your deck is crucial now its up to you , either you can regularly clean it yourself or hire that take care of your decksand since continuous care is so important, it is good to know that you have options when it comes to the type of stain that you choose, including the semi-transparent type. If you want the natural beauty of the wood to come through, semi-transparent deck stain is for you and you can even purchase the stain online if you like.