What's the best finish to use for a deck and railing?

We are building a deck and railing this spring around our above ground pool and want a natural easy to maintain finish that will stand up to the sun/water on Vancouver Island BC Canada. The material will most likely be pre treated fir dimensional lumber. So second part of the question is how to address the pretreated lumber prior to staining, ie dry out time or any special prep. We want to see the grain of the fir not that ugly green! Thanks for the opportunity to ask a question that is troubling our project!


  5 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Dec 20, 2017
    Hi there, everywhere I've read says that you need to give pre treated lumber a good year to fully dry out. (Note: it will shrink a bit so keep that in mind when building your deck). Once its dried out you can use any type of outdoor wood stain and/or seallant. Because my own deck is also pre treated I actually chose to not stain it for now and just let it go gray naturally.

  • Sharon Sharon on Dec 20, 2017
    What type is the treated wood? kiln dried, air dried, treated wood and is it Thompsonized? or wet treated wood? The best stain IMHO is an oil-based semi-transparent exterior stain and it lets the grain show through. The solid opaque stains have a tendancy to peel.
    If the deck is not kiln-dried you must wait up to 6 months to stain or 12% moisture, use a meter.
    If its treated and Thompsonized you must use oil-based stain, the water based won't take.

  • Karen Tokarse Karen Tokarse on Dec 20, 2017
    Don't use ANYTHING but OneTime deck stain from www.onetimewood.com. This is the BEST deck stain. I did my decks about 8 years ago, and they still look new! On one deck, I didn't stain the railings and I totally regret it. They are grey and ugly while the deck below looks new. I will do it right next time.

    Behr solid stain, we've used Behr over and over and its Wonderful.