When deciding whether to paint or stain your deck, the answer is easy. Stain! We never recommend paint as it can lead to moisture getting trapped in the wood, and chipping and peeling are much more likely to occur. Staining is the better option, and there are three types to choose from. Looking at the pros and cons of each type of stain will help you decide which stain is best for your individual deck.
Clear Stain Pros
Clear stain is desirable because it allows the natural color of the wood to show through. It is easy to apply, and allows the wood to breathe naturally. It is best applied on high quality woods. It is also easy to change. If you decide to go with a darker stain, clear stained decks can be easily stained over with a solid stain.
Clear Stain Cons
Clear stain will only last about 2-3 years, so it will require more maintenance than other types. Because it contains no pigment or oils, it does not offer as much protection as darker stains. Although clear stain does contain wood preservative designed to protect the wood from moisture. Also, clear stain will not hide wear and tear as well as darker stains.
Semi-transparent stain still highlights wood grain but will add a touch of color, and help cover imperfections. It requires less maintenance than clear staining, and lasts 3-5 years on average. It can be used on any type of wood, and provides a greater level of protection than clear stain.
Semi-transparent stain will settle quickly, and thus can be tricky to apply evenly. It cannot be applied well over decks that have semi-solid or opaque stains. It is also not recommended for uneven decks or decks over 15 years old.
Solid stain is the most weather-resistant and the most long-lasting. Solid stain will generally last about 5-7 years. It completely hides the wood grain, which is best for low quality woods like fir, although it can be used on any type of wood. It will hide imperfections well. Also, if your wood is older, solid stain offers better protection than clear stain. If you want a solid color on your deck, solid staining is far superior to paint, and will give you the same type of look and coverage.
While you can easily change from a clear to a solid stain, the reverse is not true. This would require striping the solid stain from your deck, which is a lot of work, and quite time consuming. If you have committed to a solid stain on your deck, you will want to keep it solid. Solid stain is also more likely to chip or peel than clear or semi-transparent stain.
Nowhere on a house does the quality of a product make more of a difference than exterior wood stain, so at Crosby Home Services, we use high quality stains. Our professionals are skilled at applying the right amount of stain evenly, and beautifully. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you get your deck looking its best, fully protected and ready for backyard barbeques.