Staining and Sealing Your Deck
Now you are ready to begin the staining or sealing process. Make sure to choose a stain or sealer that repel water, resist mildew and prevent fading in high traffic areas.
Oil based products tend to retain or hold their color longer, but water based products are more durable and last longer and only require soap and water clean up.
When choosing a stain or sealant there are four categories to choose from, each one contains larger amounts of pigment (the stuff that makes color). The more pigment the less the natural wood grain and texture is going to show through, but the better the protection you are providing for your wood.
- Clear Water Repellents provides basic protection, but not a lot of UV protection so the wood will begin to gray after only a few months, more of a natural look. Count on using this product season to season.
- Toner or Tinted Water Repellents, just like a clear, but pigment or color is added. Provides a little bit more sun protection. Is good for restoring a little bit of the original look of the wood if only slight fading has occurred.
- Semi-Transparent Stains, contain more pigment, will provide subtle color but still allow the wood grain to show through. These products last longer than water repellents giving you a couple more seasons of protection. When choosing a stain, remember colors vary based on the wood itself. If you are applying a stain over an old stain, choose a color that is similar or darker than the original. To allow the new color to absorb into the wood, the old stain should be adequately worn or thoroughly stripped. Do a test patch in a hidden area to ensure color and appearance
- Solid Stain provides the most pigment or color, and the best protection for wood. It also hides the wood grain, allowing just some of the wood texture to show through. This is best used for heavily weathered wood. Using solid color stain will allow you to not have to repeat the process as often as the other products, sometime lasting as much as 4 to 5 years.