Friday, July 8, 2011

Different Types of Stain

There are basically 3 types of stain to choose from:


A clear stain which adds no color to the wood.  This is a favorite with people that enjoy seeing the wood’s natural beauty. Make sure if this is the type you want, that the product has UV blocking chemicals. This will help keep your deck protected from the sun’s rays. This type of sealant usually has to be reapplied in a few months to a year’s time.  It offers the least amount of protection for the wood. The good news that in recent years, these clear stains have been improved on and some guarantee to last up to 2 years. It’s best if you use your own judgment.  If your deck is not repelling water then your finish is worn off and needs to be reapplied.


This is the most popular stain sold. It’s because it has good points that people are looking for in a deck stain. It allows the grain of the wood to shine through but adds a tint to the wood.  The wood shows through but this type of stain gives the wood longer lasting protection. The more tint in the product, the more protection it offers from the sun. This type of stain usually lasts 2-3 years.


Just what it sounds like. These stains allow very little of the grain or the wood’s texture to show through. Although the look of this type of this stain is the least popular, it gives a wood deck the most protection from the elements.  You only need to reapply every 3-5 years which some homeowners find a big plus.

If your wood is in good shape and you enjoy the look of your natural wood, then choose the clear or semi-transparent stain.  You’ll have protection but yet can still enjoy the deck’s beauty. If your priority is protection and low maintenance or your deck is unsightly and covering it up is preferable than the solid stain is the perfect solution.

No matter which type you use, read the directions on the can carefully and follow them exactly. A poorly applied product will ruin the look of your deck and probably won’t give you the protection you need.

Caring for Your Old Deck

 If you treat your deck annually, you probably won’t be asking yourself this question.  But if you’ve been lax on upkeep or perhaps have bought a home with an existing deck, there are ways to bring it back to life.   Often times, you can rejuvenate life into an old deck.  Some decks can get badly discolored.  If you wait too long to treat the wood, it can become damaged beyond repair and you will have to live with what you have or rebuilt your deck from scratch.

Before treating your old deck, take some time to clear the surface from all loose dirt and debris. Using a broom and a pressure washer, remove as much dirt as possible.

There are two different types of deck treatments.  There is a water repellent preservative that adds a clear finish and protection to the wood.  These are often a wax or silicon base.  These products seal the wood surface but don’t soak into the wood as deeply as an oil stain.  This type of deck treatment should be reapplied every year.  Be sure that the label says their product will protect your deck from mildew, water, and UV rays.

Then there is a semi-transparent oil stain.  This one also lets the beauty of the grain show through but adds a hint of color in the stain. This type of finish usually lasts longer than the transparent treatment but how often you need to reapply will depend on the area you live in and the conditions the deck is exposed to.

Treat Your New Wooden Deck

If you’ve just had a new wooden deck constructed, the first thing to do is weatherproof the wood.  This will protect your new deck from the weather.  You should also apply a sealant to your existing wooden deck to ensure the protection will last through the coming year.

Before treating your deck you have to get it as free from debris as possible.  If the deck is new then this should only be loose dirt and leaves blowing around the yard.  Sweep away any sawdust remaining from the project.

The contractor should have smoothed out any rough boards but if that’s not the case, do this step before applying your sealant. This can be done with just a piece of sand paper.

Once you’ve got the deck clean and smooth, it’s time to start applying the sealer. It’s possible to do this with a regular paintbrush or roller but a paint sprayer works much better.  It also gives you a better, more uniform finish.  A handheld paintbrush can be used for the smaller, hard to reach areas. To prepare the area, make sure you cover all nearby foliage and surrounding areas to avoid random deck finish hitting items it shouldn’t.

Your local hardware store will carry the various types of deck sealants.  A deck sealant improves the durability of the wood and will help prevent deterioration of the wood over time. A wood sealant will help prevent damage to your deck from all the elements including sunshine. The wood absorbs the sealant while it places a protective barrier around the wood.