Asked on May 21, 2017

Should a deck stay natural or use a stain?

JamesWilliamNaomie Moore aka baileyanddaisey, Castaic CA


If it should what type? Solid,semi or transparent stain
3 answers
  • All depends on what would look good with the house it is attached to and what you find pleasing. Do you want it to stand out or blend in. Each will be absorbed into the wood differently. I suggest testing several colors before applying to the entire deck. It is totally a matter of personal preference. Get a family member, friend or hire a designer to help choose if you are having difficulty. I would also seal with a waterproofing agent after the stain has dried for longer durability and wear.
  • William
    on May 21, 2017

    That is a personal choice.

    Wood decking has a warmth that its synthetic counterparts lack. The trade-off is higher maintenance, because wind, rain, sun, and snow can take a toll in just a few months. That's where wood stains come in, providing a layer of protection that can keep your wood deck looking great for years.

    The most durable options are often the most expensive up front, but their longer life should save you money over the long haul.

    Also known as opaque stains, solid treatments typically hold up for at least three years—the longest overall. They're fine for pine decks, where seeing the grain isn't important. On the downside, they hide the wood grain the way paint does. Solid finishes might also build up a film, especially after several coats, which can peel, chip, and crack like paint. That's a concern with older decks made of arsenic-laden, CCA lumber.


    They're generally not as weather-resistant as solid treatments, although some semitransparent products go the distance better than others. Semitransparent products let some of the wood grain show through, making them a good choice for cedar, redwood, and other costly woods that you want to show off. But even the best we've tested have needed refinishing after two years.

    Clear Sealer

    These may contain little or no pigment, along with water repellents. They're ideal for showing off the natural grain of a premium wood as much as possible, though the wood will still turn gray over time. Clear treatments may have ultraviolet inhibitors and wood preservatives. But with most of these, deck refinishing is an annual chore.
  • James
    on May 21, 2017

    We bought our 1950 built home 30 years ago. The cedar deck looked all washed out and I thought it would need to be replaced. I bought some deck cleaner and cleaned it. The next day when I sent out I thought the good fairy had built a new deck during the night. I got some stain and applied. It looked great for a long time. I then decided I needed a large deck because of family get together. After finishing I went to get some more of the stain I used before. I could not find it as they quit making it. I went with the solid deck stain which turned out to be like paint. It was Redwood color. A good color but I was upset as I like to see the wood grain and it looked like paint. So if you can get samples you might test it on a piece of scrap wood before finishing it.
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