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.