Semi_transparent_deck_stainIt is true that extensive preparation, diligent maintenance and appropriate application techniques contribute to a long-lasting finish, but selecting quality products is also important. Below are the things you need to consider when choosing your deck stain as discussed during summer painting event.

Pigment Density

The first defense against UV damage is a densely pigmented stain. You can choose from the four types of formulas:  semi-solid stains, solid deck stains, transparent stains and semi-transparent stains. Note that the more opaque a stain is, the better it will hold up.

Solid color deck stains  usually have an opaque, paint-like finish. Depending on the manufacturer, flat and satin options are available. Also, there are different colors to choose from, you can even have custom colors mixed specially for you. However, they are not the same as paint. They are designed to penetrate the wood and not just rest on the surface.

Semi-solid deck stains are currently available from a few manufacturers. Semi-solid stains are pigmented densely enough to last for about three years under normal conditions. If a single coat is applied, it will allow some texture and grain to show through but a second coat will produce an opaque finish similar to those produced by a color stain.

Semi-transparent stains are a step up from transparent stains. Though they allow the texture and grain to show through, they make the the wood darker  than transparent stains do. A single coat can last about two years, although two coats can extend your stain’s lifespan, but not by much.

Transparent deck stains contain the least pigment. These deck stains allow the grain and texture of the wood to remain visible. They are the least desirable option from a maintenance standpoint because they require yearly refinishing.

Water or Oil?

Because these two types of stain perform very differently, it is important to decide whether to use a water based or oil based stain.

Water based stains are usually more easier to clean up and they release fewer VOCs.

Water-based stains usually need to be redone more frequently and they are more likely to crack and peel as they don’t penetrate the wood deeply, unlike oil based stains.

Oil based stains, however, penetrate deeper into the wood and are less likely to crack and peel because all wood contains resins which are soluble when exposed to oil-based formulas.

Also, oil-based stains last longer, typically 2-4 years. They require less prep work before a new finish can be applied. Therefore overall, they are lower maintenance than water-based stains.