Asked on Jul 11, 2018

Solid stain versus semi-transparent stain for decks?

Lisa SzantoBonnieGai29790073


4 answers
  • Cindy Hagemann
    on Jul 11, 2018

    It depends on the look you want for your deck - do you want the wood to show through or be a solid color? Either way, it is a good idea to also use a water seal product on top as well.

  • Gai29790073
    on Jul 11, 2018

    Semi transparent looks better but will need to be redone after a couple years but depending on your weather. If it rains a lot it will be needed more often

  • Bonnie
    on Jul 11, 2018

    Anything that sits on top will show wear and peel/flake. This will cause more maintenance issues long term.

  • Lisa Szanto
    on Jul 12, 2018

    Solid color Stain (no matter the brand hype) acts like paint because it sits on top of the surface - depending on where you live will determine how long it lasts. Such as living in colder climates will cause deck stains like this to fail sooner, such as peeling because they are essentially paints. Semi-transparent and transparent (ST&T) absorb into the wood, which assists in preserving the cells of the wood and feeding the wood moisture. The more pigment or color tinted into these ST&T will determine the fail rate. Yes you will see the grain but ST&T are far better products for the wood because they work into the wood helping to preserve it. Most brands now are modified Linseed oil, which is soap and water cleanup. Due to the EPA standards you will be hard pressed to find a full-oil deck stain. Personally I prefer Cabot Australian Timber Oil although I have only seen it come in 3 colors. The wood soaks it right in and with multiple coats you get the color depth you would get with a solid (it will still show some grain). The other product out there known as *Deck re-surfacers which give you this thick gritty textured coat on your deck are a COMPLETE waste of your money especially in northern winter climates -THEY WILL FAIL - no matter what the manufacturer advertises. Ice and water will get up under the product causing major cracks and chips flaking off. Rustoleum lost a law suit in 2017 and had to pay consumers back for just this reason. Just replace with Trex type product if you want that type of surface instead of wasting your money on this type of product. I mix paint for a living and deal with consumers on a daily basis. I have heard and seen how these products perform.
    • Sta20461147
      on Jul 12, 2018

      Thanks Lisa. Your reply has been very help. We live in the Chicago area so you know that the winters can be brutal. We have always had deck companies stain the deck and we have been very dissatisfied. They only put 1 coat on of semi-transparent. I am going to try the 2 coat route this time. Thanks again for your reply.
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