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Best Solid Color Deck Stains

When staining a deck there are many brands and types of stains to choose from. If you are looking for a certain color or wanting to mask the wood grain completely then a solid color deck stain is the best choice. There is however some things to consider when searching for the best solid color deck stains.

If the deck has been cleaned properly and does not have any existing coatings or finish on it then an oil based solid color stain is the way to go. These types of solid stains will always perform better than a water based solid stain. However, you may find that the oil based solid stains are harder to find due to strict VOC laws so any brand you can find should work.

If you cannot find an oil based solid color deck stain or you are dealing with an existing coating then look for Flood’s Solid Stain in a water based formula. Cabot’s also makes a good solid color water based deck stain. The important key to remember is that prepping the wood prior to recoating is crucial. Whether the wood is new or old it must be cleaned correctly so the solid stain will adhere properly. Failure to prep the wood is the number one reason for premature deck stain failure.

If using a water based solid color deck stain to cover up a previous coating it is still crucial to prep the wood. Wash the surface with a deck cleaner and a pressure washer to remove any old flaking or peeling stain. The best solid color deck stain will not fix a peeling old stain if it is not prepped well. A clean surface is paramount for proper stain adhesion. Good prep work and the best solid color deck stains will ensure a stunning long lasting finish.

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68 responses to “Best Solid Color Deck Stains”

  1. Jozef S says:

    In my area cabot and flood are not available….so whats the next best solid stain or 2?

  2. J Philips says:

    Tried test area on old dry cracked wood using Behr DeckOver Filled cracks okay, but peeled after 6 months. Need a better alternative for older decking.


  3. Frank says:

    How long could you expect a solid body water based stain to last on the walking surface of a deck in northern Illinois?

  4. Joe says:

    I previously used Behr Premium Weather Proofing wood stain on my deck but after 1-2 years it's pealing in places.

    Before I stain it again I need to prep the wood. Does that mean I need to strip all the old stain, or will it suffice to just remove the pealing, loose, flaky areas? Can I stain over the old stain that is fully adhered?


  5. Karen says:

    We used Thompson solid colored oil base stain with one color. Then after 5 hours recoated with a different color, same stain type . It was rather humid out and now the second coat is NOT sticking and scratching off! Any suggestions?

  6. mike says:

    I have a large deck over 1200 square feet in upstate new york that is 13 years old and has a failing Olympic Semi Transparent stain that has been applied twice in the last 6 years. Going with a Flood SF – SOLID stain this time. Will cleaning thoroughly to remove mold and peeling of old finish be sufficient prep to go over the top of the old finish with the Flood or should I strip as much of the old finish as possible? Also, if I strip is it necessary to use a brightener after since I am putting down a solid stain this time?

    • Strip as much as possible. You do not have to brighten if going with a solid stain.

      • mike says:

        Thank you, great website also! One other question: I have also a new adjoining deck to the old that has Trex deck boards but there are preesure treated pine railings, facia and lattice that was installed 1 year ago. I know new wood should be cleaned to remove the mill glaze. Does that rule also apply if the wood is now a year old?

  7. mike says:

    If stripping an old semi transparent stain to then apply a solid stain is it necessary to use a brightener following the stripper?

  8. Carol F says:

    i have a cedar deck in Green Bay Wisconsis about 15 years old. It was stained with a solid sherwin Williams decimate product. The deck was pressure washed then completely sanded with 80 grit prior to staining.? The stain is failing on the deck and top rails but on on the balusters it is fine. There is a little mold but not heave . The stain is ok until winter but after winter it starts to peel really bad to expose the bare wood. The wood is grey where exposed. Some of the cedar deck boards were replaced with pressure treated pine :(. I plan to strip, pressure wash, and rent a deck sander and sand deck bare. How should I prep and what solid product should I use so the product will make it through the winter? Thanks for your help !

    • Try the Flood Solid color stains. In general oil based solid stains are less likely to peel.

      • Carol F says:

        So I'm done with my deck. I used to have a solid stain that was peeling and the wood was splintering. Now I have a wonderful semitransparent stain that exposes the wood and the deck is silky smooth and looks great. Wish I knew how to post photo. Basically I tried all sorts of strippers. none worked. I applied a deck brighter. It helped some. But it wasn't until I rented a 12 x 18 deck sander and started with 36 grit and went to 60 and 80 grit did I make progress. I also had to sand between the boards with a detail sanded what a pain. I replaced the spindle and sanded the rails. Then I applied TWP 100 pecan stain. I looks great. On yea. I never had more than 3 days with rain so I bought 6 mil plastic and covered the deck when it rained to keep it dry. That worked. I called TWP and applied the stain o their directions which is to keep applying until it mostly sits on top of boards, then transfer excess stain to new boards, then wipe down boards to eliminate shiny spots. This was a lot of work but I have a much improved deck that looks new!

        • You can post photos in our forum area and would love to see your hard wood!

          • carol f says:

            So I after I applied the stain, For a while the deck looked great. Now I have spots where the deck is turning white. This is especially true arround the knots. Also, the stain has faded away so some spots still have color and some spots look very faded. I called TWP and they think because I did not wet the deck down and let it dry to raise the grain after sanding that caused the stain not to absorb. But I read on this site in other places where it says that if you let the deck get wet after sanding that you have to sand again or you will have raised grain that will appear fuzzy? Which is correct? Do you have any advice on how to fix this. This was TWP 100 pecan on white cedar sanded to 80 grit.

          • It is normal for the stain to look lighter around the knots. This is due the density of the wood there. As for who is correct in your questions, you should always lightly clean, brighten after sanding to raise the grain.

    • Greg says:

      Hi from Nebraska, i just used Cabots wood stripper on my deck that had a weathered solid stain and it worked really well, brushed it on and then hosed it off. I did work it in good though and waited 10 minutes or so and then washed it off well.


      • Carol F says:

        Thanks for the reply. Was this the deck stripper or a paint stripper? Was this on oil or water based stain?

    • carol F says:

      After reading on this site I'm thinking I might try to sand and prep and try to use a stain that isn't a surface stain. What is the best way to prep and which stains would be good?

      • Solids stains are not fully strippable. You can strip off as much as possible with the Restore A Deck Stripper then sand off the remaining. It is going to be very hard to remove from the rails so you might want to do a two toned deck:

        Once you get the solid stain off the floors, make sure to brighten the wood. Stain the natural wood with TWP or Armstrong Clark.

        • Carol F says:

          Ok I'm finding that the wolmens deck stripper and pressure washing is removing most of the floor stain except at the knots. It is taking 2-3 passes with the stripper. Also, this seems to remove the stain between the boards very well. Is there anything I could try for the knots. Also, how do you recommend to sand the cedar flooring. I was thinking after reading about renting an 12 x 18 orbital starting with 50 grit, then 80 grit. Do I need to go any further on the floor than 80 grit? On rails I was going to go to 120 grit.

  9. Jen says:

    I live in Missouri and am looking to stain my new (ish) deck that receives partial sunlight with a solid stain so it'll last longer and I'll have less maintenance. Any recommendations on a good oil-based brand?

  10. Matt says:

    I have a deck that has solid stain and I'm about to refinish. The railings are in fairly good shape, but we are changing the color slightly. After washing/prepping the rails, will I be able to coat over them with the new stain, or do I need to take them down to bare wood? After reading on the site, it seems that stripping the railings may be quite the chore.

  11. Rick says:

    I have a pressure treated pine deck that is two levels and with walls. The deck is about 20 years old but has been well maintained for a 20 year old deck. Location: Kansas City. Partial shade and lots of sun. Some possible mold spots, Lots of algae areas. Lots of traffic on the deck including dogs. I have fully sanded the entire deck including railings and I will probably not be able to go with a simi transparent stain because of the deck floor. The wood on the floor is very aged but solid. After doing all of this prep work, I'd hate to waste my efforts and re-do it in a couple of years. Please advise your recomendations and thanks so much in advance.

  12. Terry 22 says:

    I live in CT and have a 20 year old deck in full afternoon sun, reasonably good condition. Used to treat with Thompsons Water Seal. Two years ago decided to change color and used SW Deckscape. Power washed deck first. Paint peeled. Last year don't remember exactly what we did besides sanding and cleaning, then used Behr solid color weather proofing all I one wood stain and sealer. You guessed right-what a peeling mess!! Can you please advise me? I have read so many comments I am terribly confused. Do I use a deck stain remover or a stripper? Will I ever be able to get the mess off? If I can get it relatively clean do I switch to a semi transparent stain? Thank you for any/all advice you can provide

  13. SS says:


    After a ton of research, I’ve decided to go with a solid stain. I am in Eastern PA, and I want to get this done in the next couple of weeks.

    I was leaning toward Flood, but I’ve seen it at Lowes, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Usually, that is a red flag for formula change, but your site still seems to recommend it for a solid stain option.

    Is there any change in the Flood formula in these big box stores, and if so, where is the best place to buy it? If not, can I get Flood in an oil-based, solid stain? And does Flood call its solid stain “opaque”?

    I want a dark brown color, and stopped at Sherwin William today (40% off, this weekend), but have read nothing positive about most of their stains. Their solid stains seem to get the best reviews. There were only two people working in the store, and both should have been working in a self-serve yogurt shop. Both under 25, female, and had no idea about any of their products, except “this one is real good!” I thought SW was where the pros go, but I knew more about stains than these two (and I don’t know much.)

    Any advice/guidance would be appreciated.


    • We buy our Flood Solid stains from independent paint stores as we do not think the Big Box brands are always the same formulas. We could be wrong based on where you live but we have seen this in our areas. We are not fans of SW deck coatings either.

      Try going to the Flood site and see where they may have a local dealer in your area.

    • Joe says:

      Flood has changed no oil in the solid stain no more all latex used it once. results yet to be determined.
      The semi transparent is the old ppg sunproof oil latex mix with a changed label
      I loved the old swf by flood if you can find it use that

  14. Joe Ianniello says:

    Im a professional painter. I think the new Sherwin Williams Super Deck Solid stains are awesome.

  15. Leticia sotomayor says:

    The information was really helpful. Now I am ready to buy the correct one.


  16. Lynn Y. says:

    I just had my deck refinished last year with solid stain from Benjamin Moore. problem is, I can already see parts of the wood showing through where the stain has worn off already!!!! so, was this a bad prep job or a bad choice in stain selection?? I definitely want to know before I reinvest in this.

    • Hard to say if bad prep, bad application or a bad stain. In general we see a lot of comments about BM stains peeling so I would lean that way. At this point you are in a predicament. You cannot fix the failing stain by adding a different stain on top. Ti is also very labor intensive to remove a solid stain. It has to be sanded off.

  17. Kathy says:

    My deck was painted with a pinkish solid color deck stain. It is now peeling. I did all of the steps for cleaning the wood prior. I think it outlived its regular life. I've been trying to find colored stain reviews on your site, but haven't been successful. What would you recommend? The deck is older and some boards have been replaced.

  18. ksvany says:

    I have an old deck. If I power wash it really well, do I have to do anything else before I stain it?

  19. RobRob says:

    Ok, so reading through all the comments, one thing stands out so much no one sees it. Everyone has the same problem, which is -THERE IS NO STAIN, ESPECIALLY SOLID COLOR MADE FOR A DECK FLOOR!!! Any paint rep tells you different, just turn around and leave. On verticals, fences, railings, not bad. Floors, ain't happening. Understand something, the weather, sun, and everything else just tears it up. If you get 3 years, congratulations. BM, SW, Flood, Home Depot,….one is as good (or as bad)as the other. You'd be better tearing the floor off and replacing with a composite material.

  20. Benji says:

    I'm having a very hard time finding Flood solid stains in my area in Kansas. Everyone has the clear and semi transparent but nobody has the solid Flood stains.

  21. Dawn says:

    I am a painter and I can also tell you there is NO paint or stain out there for deck floors, they all fail. If possible stick with oil based. Seriously, decks are impossible.

  22. Linda says:

    I have read all posts and I am still confused as what to use for my five yr old treated deck that has never had anything put on it. I have clean really well and it looks great. I want something that will last three years when I will be selling my house to retire. I can not do all this again, too hard. I don't want to have a big mess in a couple years of having to strip off and re-due . What should I use????

  23. J. Canales says:

    I have a 16×40 ft. Deck. It was stained 2 yrs ago and is in need of re-staining. It was stained with a semi- transparent oil based stain. I just pressure washed it really good but did not get all the stain off the wood. I want to go with an oil based solid color this time around. Will I need to strip the deck before applying stain again?

  24. Melissa says:

    Hi! We have a Behr Acrylic Solid Stain on our deck that's 4 years old and peeling. The spindles are still in good condition with the paint on them. Of the things I've seen mentioned, which do we need to use to prepare deck floor and which for the spindles, when preparing to repaint (using a Flood solid stain most likely): sanding, using a stripping agent, pressure washing, and using a brightener? Thanks!!

  25. mitva says:

    In need of advice. We purchased a wood sided home at 7500 ft elevation in the Colorado mountains. So strong UV rays, snow accumulations and wind. We have a partially covered upper deck with covered deck( front porch) below the upper deck,both facing east. Each of those decks is about 500 square feet. We also have an L shaped back deck facing the south and west which is approximately another 1000 square feet + 2 smaller upper balconies with decking. All of these decks havebeautiful log railings and log spindles stained in a Cabot oil based semisolid in Chestnut Brown. So lots of wood. Purchased in 2011 the decks having a coat of semi transparent or semi solid. They began to show wear, and we were told by our painter to apply a"solid" Arbor Coat in Chestnut Brown. We had him apply this in the fall of 2013. Ugh,I disliked it from the beginning as it looks painted, dull, and is always dusty and dirty looking. Some of the boards cup, so water doesn't drain away quickly and so we also have water marks on some boards on the lower porch. By spring 2014, we already had some stain coming off. He reapplied a coat in those areas. Now, we have lots of stain peeling particularly where the wood is not covered which includes over half of the decking- about 1500 square feet. How do we proceed? The hardware store in the area says a deck needs to be restained at this altitude every 2 years- if we get 3 years out of it that is a really good job. One of the best painters/ stainers in the area is recommending a good power washing, sanding in the areas where the "fir ( painter is guessing it's fir) decking, in addition to the stain, is peeling and splintering up like an onion. He is recommending after sanding those areas, applying a coat of Seal Bond to the entire deck to help prevent the wood from continuing to splinter. Then he is recommending a semi solid stain over the top of the Seal Bond. The paint specialist at the hardware store felt the entire deck needed to be sanded down and that a solid stain should never be put on deck wood. He has not seen the deck, but is very familiar with the UV rays and wooden decks in this mountain region. I believe the wood, since it is not cedar or redwood, will probably continue to peel up in the grain areas. We do not want to make a second mistake with all this decking, the high cost of the work, and the continued maintenance that will be required on a deck that is already not attractive on an expensive home. I have read that your top rated Restore a Deck stripper will not work on a solid stain. We also have large picture windows below the upper deck and I have read that some deck strippers and cleaners can etch glass. We know we have the man that will do ta good job, but we do want to know the best way to have him proceed. There is no wood rot and the under decking is sturdy. New deck boards? Artificial decking? Sanding down entirely and staining with TWP? Or the painter's Seal Bond approach. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

    • Couple of things:

      -To remove a solid stain like Arbor Coat, you will have to sand it all off. Strippers will not get it off.
      -You cannot apply a Seal Bond and then apply a penetrating semi-solid or semitransparent. They will not soak in correctly.
      -In addition you cannot apply a semi-solid over top of a solid stain.

      If you want to go with a semi-trans like TWP or a semi-solid, you have no choice but to sand it all off or replace with new decking.

  26. Tim says:

    I've stripped 95% of the solid stain off my pressure treated deck. Do I need to use a chemical stripper to take every last bit off? Is Cabot still the best solid stain to use?

  27. Chuck says:

    I have a 25 year old deck that had stain previously applied that was peeling alot. I recently applied stain stripper, power washed and brightened with Restore-a-deck products. I got about 90% of the old stain off, but will not be able to go with semi-transparent due to some of the old stain remaining, none is peeling now. I do not want to sand due to size of deck. I picked up some Floods Pro solid stain (water based) from a paint dealer. The Pro series for Flood is not sold in the big box stores.

    I've decided to delay the actual stain project now until spring time since I'll also be replacing the top of some of the handrails with new wood and wanted it to weather for several months before applying the stain.

    To prep the deck correctly in the spring before I apply the water based solid stain, do I need to apply a cleaner or a brightener before power washing? One is caustic and one is acidic, but didn't know if it mattered with the solid stain.


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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.