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Wondering about choosing the Right Deck Stain for Pressure Treated Wood? Last summer, I too, was in a fix, looking for a valid answer. I went through a lot of online resources to come to a conclusion, but to my surprise most of them had only product reviews that too very vague and inconclusive for my quest. I decided to dig deep to make my deck staining a success, it was a bit off beat from my specialization in pressure washing but still it was worth the effort for deck staining is such an immersive & enjoyable experience for enthusiastic DIYers.
I research a lot and realized that in addition to the Deck wood type, there are other factors too that are crucial in finding a suitable stain or primer. The guide below explores the whole process of identifying the right deck stain.
Which one is better oil based or water-based deck stain? Let’s find out….
It’s a woodworker’s privilege to choose among water-based or oil-based stains, however, there are a few other considerations that one must keep in mind Water-based stains are good for simple woodworking jobs that are hard on time as they dry up quickly. They also offer a better resistance to mold and mildew as well.
If the surface is exposed to elements like rain, air, sun and high footfall then the long lasting deck stain that comes as a natural choice for it is the oil-based stain because it can help your surface or deck withstand the harsh treatment for long.
Another important consideration to take into account is definitely the wood type, its previous treatment and the condition of the wood (if it’s new or weathered wood).
Oil Based Stain
Used commonly, these exterior wood stains use a mix of varnish & linseed as base material that offers ample time to even out any excesses before drying. They penetrate deeper and leave a richer surface, highlighting the natural grains.
You just a need another coat to give them a refreshing look. They are the most long lasting stains due their great surface adhesion & they offer great protection against peeling as well. Typically the oil based stains require mineral spirits for thinning and cleaning up.
Easy to apply and offer an even finish.
Deeper penetration ability offers better looks and long life.
Great for working on large wooden jobs.
Not as popular as oil based stains, Water-based stains still come a handy option for certain projects. Water is used as a mixing agent or a thinner for clean up. These are more environment friendly & user friendly as
they don’t exhume any volatile organic compounds or odor while applying. Since they don’t block air from penetrating the wood, they resist decaying. If you are not satisfied with the finish with water-based stain, all you have to do is to clean up that part with water and apply a fresh coat.
Quick drying solution for small & urgent tasks.
Convenient to mix and easy to cleanup.
They Offer great resistance to Mildew and mold.
Environmentally & User Friendly.
Lets Discuss The Wood Type First …
When you stain your deck the type of wood also matters. Both of the stains whether water-based or oil-based give a lustre and protection against many things. The softwood is stained in the best manner by the water-based ones and the hardwood by oil-based ones.
The treated wood can be easily stained without any problems. If you use stain or going to use deck paint for old wood, it would certainly look great. The treated wood has less chances of getting rot, but can develop cracks with time. In order to reduce surface cracking deck stain and sealer can be used for your wood. A dealer can always help you to test the moisture content of your wood before staining a deck. Oil based or semi-transparent deck stains work the best for and on it.
There are chances of solid color and paints to peel off if used on the pressure treated wood. The market offers specially and specifically designed stains for pressure treated wood.
The Cedar wood requires oil-based stains, as this one weathers at a slow pace. This wood is widely available and is a cheaper one. With time and weather effect it just deteriorates and might flake away. Thinner oil-based stains work well for the new cedar. The oil should have a deep penetrating quality, as it will provide immense protection by going deep inside the wood and thereby conditioning the wood cells. Fading and protection against the ultra violet rays is required, and the oil-based stains work well for this. You can go for different types of treatment for your cedar wood, such as bleaching oil, semi-transparent stain, solid color stain and even primer and paints can be used. All these give a protective layer and a beautiful finish to your cedar wood.
Staining or sealing your redwood will add longevity to it and make it look beautiful, adding value to your yard. Any semi-transparent type of deck stain can work wonders for your red wood surfaces. The best wood deck stains should possess deep penetrating quality, for giving life to wood. The deck stain adds lustre and enhances beauty of your wood along with protection. They prevent weathering and also lets the wood look amazing. It should be always kept in mind that while coating the wood, extra amount of stain should not be applied and only what is required should be used. Years can be added to your wood with proper care and maintenance.
3 Best Deck Stain Reviews as per the Opacity Levels
Popularly know as clear deck sealers also, clear stains are primarily used as a water repellent sealer to enhance the lifespan of deck. Deck sealers refrains the moisture penetrating into the wood as exposure to water can lead the wood to swell due to absorption and it shrinks when the moisture is dried. A continuos repitition of swelling and shrinking can crack, split or warp the wood.
But the clean stains lack the required pigmentation to protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays, so the wood can sometimes darken or gray over time.
Application: So as evident by the description above, clear stains can only work for decks or surfaces which don’t have any exposure to sun and it works as a useful agent against water & moisture to enhance the durability of the surface.
Semi clear Stain provide a touch of transparency and enhance the look of the wood with a tone or shade of color. Typical colors of semi-transparent stains include cedar, redwood, natural, and a host of brown hues. Best of all, you can use this deck stains regardless of where you live, especially if you find one specifically made for the type of weather you’re used to.
In case you have a wooden surface, exposed to sun as well as rain, a semi transparent deck stain would be a better option for it can offer a natural-looking deck with protection against water as well as sun. Semi clear Stains are transparent and can tone up the color shade as well giving an attractive finish.
Aplication: Due to its ability to fight against mmoisture and sunlight, these deck stains are effective in all types of weathers. A range of colors like natural, cedar, redwood and brown hues are available across brands of semi-transparent stains.Check below to see the most recommended product or you can compare the top semi transparent clear stains here.
The next in the transparency scale are the semi-solid deck stains which is based upon an linseed oil based penetrating formula which can pierce deeper in the wood. Like semi-transparent, semi solid stains are among the most popular and commonly used for they offer a good protection against moisture and ultra violet rays and still enhance the wood grains which enhances the lools of the surface.
Aplication: They are preferred when long lasting finish, along with durability and protection is required. They add life to your wooden furniture, siding, decks and also protect and prevent the growth of mold, mildew, algae etc.
Semi Solid Stains are easier to maintain and are good for surfaces with exposure to rain and sun, so ideally these stains are most useful for decks that are in the open. Some of most common semi-solid deck stain colors include Espresso, Mountain Cedar, Sequoia, Woodland, and Oxford Brown.
Solid deck stains are preferred specially for surfaces which have worn out due to years of esposure to rough weather or excessive usage. Its a solid stain offers the highest level of protection against rough usage and often last quite longer compared to other opacity stains before requiring a re-job. Typically, a solid stain can last about 5 years easily.
Aplication: Solid Stains are best applied to cover up the wear and tear of wood over time, it essentially cover up the faults and disfiguring of the wood and looks more like a finished paint.
These types of stains usually come in colors such as taupe, gray, walnut, and even white, and they can be used on a variety of wood, including redwood, pine, and even mahogany.
Staining your deck isn’t as difficult as it may seem, especially once you do your due diligence so that you can decide which stain is ideal for your needs. The guide above has been created with the sole purpose of helping users find the most suitable and best deck water sealers, for helping you decide which stain to purchase. Mentioned products come from the most reliable deck sealer brands and can be an easy pick for you one-time deck stain.
A longest lasting deck stain is good in protecting your deck and keeping it mildew-free and attractive for a very long time. Choosing the right stain is crucial, but once you decide what is and isn’t important to you, the decision becomes much easier, making you feel a little more confident about that decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
The solid deck stains last for a very long time. They give a perfect finish to your wood or furniture. A number of reasons act as a deciding factor for choosing the best one (already discussed in the above article). The piercing or penetration of the wood stain also helps in deciding so. The more penetration, the more durability.
A lot has been debated on this, so to consider in short, oil-based stains work best for hard wood surfaces while water-based stains for softwood textures. Oil based stains give a more natural look to your wood base while water-based ones give a little synthetic feel. Water based dry faster as compared to the oil-based ones. Oil based stains give a yellowish look. Lastly, it depends on your wood texture and choice which you opt for.
Though all products have varying features but 70 degrees F is the most suitable temperature for applying the stain. The area should be dry and not moist, because moisture hampers the application of deck stain coat. Even if rain is predicted then this shouldn’t be applied as a precautionary measure. Very hot surfaces or moisture should be avoided, as it effects the finish and drying schedule.
The coats should be applied entirely depending on the need of the wood. Some wooden surfaces have less porosity or more, as its better to put a maximum of 2 coats for best and excellent results. The right coating will add lustre and rich look to your wooden space. The market offers one coat products also, the guidelines should be followed accordingly.