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Darker Color Deck Stains Will Last Longer

Armstrong Clark Stains

Armstrong Clark Stains

The lifetime of a deck stain is determined by several different factors. Weather, climate, sun exposure, and foot traffic are some of the main factors that will determine the longevity of a deck stain. Out of these main key factors, sun exposure is probably one of the most damaging elements to a stain’s integrity. Harmful UV rays can break down the protecting elements of a wood stain in a season or two.

Most deck stains provide water protection but not all of them will provide UV protection. When exterior wood is exposed to the sun it becomes discolored and faded. The top layer of wood fibers turn gray as they are damaged by harmful UV radiation. One key element in the fight against sun damage can be the amount of pigment found in the stain. Color pigments will act like a sunscreen and provide a certain amount of sun protection.

Darker Color Stains Will Last Longer – The more pigment in the stain formula, the more it will protect against sun damage. For example, a completely clear wood stain will provide no UV protection at all. A heavily pigmented stain will provide a lot of UV protection. More pigment can be found in darker color stains, therefore they will last longer. A very light transparent natural color stain will fade and wear off much faster than a darker color stain.

At the same time, very heavy pigmented stains can be harder to maintain. Some stains, like very heavy pigmented solid stains that are almost like paint can have other issues like peeling and cracking. The trick is to find a penetrating decking stain that gives you the appearance you want, is user-friendly, easy to apply, and will provide an adequate amount of UV protection. Penetrating fully into the wood grain means you have little to no peeling or wearing.

Just remember that darker color stains will last longer than lighter color stains for transparents, semi-transparents, and semi-solids.

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10 responses to “Darker Color Deck Stains Will Last Longer”

  1. Susan says:

    Hi, your site is great with wonderful info. I have a couple of questions. We had Behr deck stain (which of course failed and they returned money IF you still had receipts.) This deck surrounds an above ground pool. We have finally removed the stain completely and have use the deck wash to get it ready to accept a stain. (We did not remove the stain on the spindles surrounding deck bc we they are not in as bad of shape since they are verticle….is too exhausting to do so right now)
    1. We would like to used a medium brown semitransparent oil based stain. We live in Va. And our deck has full sun most of the day. Which would you recommend for around the pool?
    2. Also, we have some rather large chunks taken out of the wood and have epoxied them. Will this affect the color too much where these areas were epoxied?
    3. Should we retain every year or other year to continue to protect?
    4. At our last home we had a covered deck and used CWF and just applied a coat every year and it worked great .
    5. What Is the highest temperature with whatever you recommend for us to stain can be applied under and how long does it need before rain/gets wet
    6. Thank you Sooo very muh. This has been a nightmare that I never want to go through again..we still have another deck attached to our house to contend with. : (

    • 1. Armstrong Clark in Rustic Brown.
      2. This was not a good idea. You cannot blend a semi-transparent stain with filler. It will stand out.
      3. Every 2 years is normal.
      5. 85 degrees

  2. Laura says:

    What color stain was used on the deck picture above?

  3. Lisa P says:

    Thanks. We're considering using Penofin Verde Mission Brown on an Clear A grade redwood fence (new wood). Can we expect than with "99%" UV protection, that the boards would remain about the same color over a year or two? Or would they darken considerably? I've read that some also recommend applying a Marine spar finish over the Verde for extra protection. Do you concur? Thank you!

  4. kumar says:

    your website is very nice and gives very good info related to staining, learned a lot after reading all different topics explained in the website, planning to get my deck stained (7 years old), after lot of research decided to go with TWP semi transparent stain 1500 series (oil based), but one question is in this brand a darker color like say 1503 Dark Oak color is much better than cedar / redwood / rustic color for it to last longer like explained in this article, want to make sure I understand it right and take right decision wrt color. Thank You

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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.