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Staining Your Deck: Stain Choices and Tips

We had our deck built 3 years ago and started to notice this year that the wood is changing to a greyish colour. Rain, sun, and winter snow can definitely take a toll on a wood deck. We are looking into deck staining, since treating the wood can help it last longer, and protect and preserve it. You find below tips and stain choices for staining your deck!


There are many different deck stain choices available to choose from!

Oil based Deck Stains

Oil based stains like this deck stain are made of synthetic and natural oils. It penetrates the wood very well, is easy to apply, and has a more natural look. From what I hear, the better a deck stain can penetrate, the better it performs. It  does have a stronger odor and takes longer to dry.

Water-Based Deck Stains

Wood stains must meet new environmental rules that lower volatile organic compounds (VOC). Manufacturers are now increasing their production of water soluble deck stains to comply with theses rules. They are environmentally friendlier, have less of a chance to create mold and mildew growth, and are easy to clean up. A few companies like these one offer water-based deck stains.

deck 2PinSolid Decking Stains (Opaque

Solid deck stains pretty much look like paint covering the wood. Once you apply it you will never be able to apply a transparent stain.  It does offer an excellent UV protection. It just covers the wood, so it does not penetrate it, and it will most likely peel.

Semi-Transparent Stains

Semi-transparent Stains provide a transparent protective layer and allow the grain pattern to show. It penetrates very well and can be removed with a deck stain stripper. An oil base stain performs better.

Semi-Solid Stains

Semi-Solid Deck Stain is designed to almost hide all of the natural wood grain. It last longer than semi-transparent because of the increase in UV blockage. It penetrates well and provide a durable finish.

Transparent Wood stains

Transparent deck coatings gives a natural look. It’s easy to apply, but only lasts about a year, so you must reapply annually. It does not have a very good UV protection.

Clear Wood Deck Finishes

Clear Deck Finishes are more used for sealers as the offer hardly any UV protection and your deck will turn grey very fast.

Tips On Staining Your Deck

I found these companies that offer helpful tips and advice on staining a deck:

  1. Benjamin Moore: Videos on how to stain a deck, deck stain maintenance, preparing a deck for staining, and maintaining a deck
  2. Shur-Line: Deck Staining Tips
  3. Cabot: Staining your Deck
  4. Vicky How to do Anything: How to Seal and Stain Pressure Treated Wood Decking
  5. Lowe’s: Clean and Stain a Deck
  6. HGTV:  How to Stain a Wooden Deck

We have not made up our minds yet as to which stain to purchase. I am tempted to get the semi-transparent. If you stained your deck, I would love to hear what type you used and why, so please comment below!

Lyne Proulx
Lyne Proulxhttps://ottawamommyclub.ca/
Lyne Proulx is a Certified WEBB Bodywork Pet Practitioner, Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. She loves all things Disney and is an avid teaholic and chocoholic. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

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  1. As it is with painting, the preparation for staining is of utmost importance. This includes cleaning, power washing, scraping, and repairs.

  2. What an awesome deck. We don’t have one and had no idea the maintenance required for it. Good luck with your project.

  3. This is great info! Thanks for sharing it 🙂 We have same issues with our deck too.. so, these tips will certainly come handy.

  4. thanks for all the info, our deck is only 2 yrs old but I guess we’ll be needing to do the upkeep on it soon too. I had no idea what was involved!


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