Tips and Tricks to Help You Choose the Best Deck Stain

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By Ikram Ullah

A well-maintained deck is usually the center of all activities for relaxation and entertainment purposes in every household and, since this is an outdoor space, it is subjected to the harshness of factors such as sun, wind, snow, and rain. We have to protect it from Mother Nature to keep its utility and overall look.

Choosing the best deck stain is, most certainly, not without complications. With the number of options available in the market, making a choice can be overwhelming. A carefully-selected deck stain can help to increase the longevity of the deck as well as enhance the natural beauty of the wood grain. 

We have made a list of the different ways to make your task of choosing the best deck stain simple below. So, let’s get started!

Applying protective varnish on a patio wooden floor

Take Into Consideration the Design of Your Deck and Which Part You Want to Highlight

By understanding the design of your deck, you’ll automatically be one step closer to choosing the best deck stain.

Consider the surrounding foliage and vegetation, the furniture you have or plan to place on your deck, and the exterior of your house. Then, choose a deck stain you think would complement these factors as best as possible. Or, if you want to bring attention to a particular place, you can do that too.

Keep in Mind How Frequently You Want to Redo Your Deck Stain

This is actually very important. For example, if you choose a colored stain, it’ll get dated faster. Let us also not forget that deck stains can be quite difficult to remove as well. As for a neutral color stain, cleaning and maintaining it can be a cumbersome process. 

You see, every option has its own set of pros and cons. You have to choose one that is best suited to your needs and preferences. 

Also, if you are short on time, it is better to stain only a select portion of your deck. This can be restricted only to your banisters, wooden outdoor chairs and so on.

The Stain Opacity You Want in Your Deck Wood Grain Appearance

To define it, opacity is the condition of lacking transparency or translucence. In terms of wood grain, it refers to the degree of transparency of the natural wood grain. You can select from five different types of deck stains in this case –

  1. Solid Deck Stain

If you want more color and just a light texture of the wood peeking through, you can opt for the solid deck stain. It can also hide nearly all of the imperfections in the wood.

       2. Semi-solid Deck Stain

Similar to above, you get deeper color shades that hide most of the wood texture and imperfections.

        3. Semi-transparent Deck Stain

You can see most of the texture and grain of the deck wood here with just a hint of a more prominent color.

         4. Translucent Deck Stain

This is even lighter than the semi-transparent deck stain. You’ll be able to see the grain and texture of the wood with a slight tone.

          5. Clear Deck Stain

This will show the texture and grain of the deck wood in all its raw glory. The advantage of using this deck stain is that it will help lend protection to your deck wood from any sun, wind, or water damage.

The Type of Wood that You Want to Employ for Your Deck

More often than not, people choose wood for their decks. If you prefer more expensive hardwoods such as Pau Lope or mahogany, you should opt for deck stains that are on the transparent side. This will help the natural grain and texture of the wood to shine while restricting any climate damage.

On the other hand, if you are using softer wood that is less expensive, then solid deck stains would certainly be preferable. Woods such as cedar, yellow pine, and so on fall under this category. This even applies to “composite decking” that is sold as an alternative of natural wood.

It should be noted that, even though “composite decking” is advertised as maintenance-free, they are still prone to color fading and damage from natural elements.

Choose A Deck Stain Color that Coordinates with Your House 

To put it simply, if you have painted your house in brighter hues, it is better to opt for a more neutral-based deck stain and vice versa. Your house’s flooring, type of furniture, and other interior elements are all important to determine the best deck stain for you. As mentioned above, every color deck stain has its own set of pros and cons.

The rule of thumb is to get a stain that matches your house’s trim making your deck architecture stand out better. If you have a dining area or fireplace installed in your deck, you can always go for a more monochromatic look. 

Still Confused? Run A Screening Test for Your Deck Stain

Try on different types of stains on actual blocks of wood. This way, you will be able to see the opacity and color depth without having to risk time, money, and effort wastage.

Although, as can be imagined, you will need to get wood blocks that are of the same type as your deck.

Bottom Line on the Best Deck Stain for You

By keeping in mind the above factors, you’ll be able to choose a deck stain that will be perfect and at par with your expectations. But, you also need to consider your budget for the deck stain. Also, the longevity or warranty of the protection provided by the deck stain is equally important. You can consult an expert to make your job easier for you in determining the best deck stain as well.

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