Best Stain for an Old Deck  4.7/5 (142)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

What is Best Stain for Old Wood Deck

We appreciate you visiting Deckstainhelp.com as we continue to be your go-to source for the latest in deck restoration news and trending topics through 2024  If you are looking for honest deck stain ratings, look no further. Below, we mention some tips for restoring an old neglected wood deck. Feel free to leave a comment below with any pictures you may have.


Best Stain for an Older Wood Decking

Best Stain for an Old DeckWood decks can be a beautiful addition to any property but when neglected they can also become an eyesore. When a deck goes too long without being maintained sun and water damage occur. The wood loses its natural oils and becomes very dry and porous. Cracking, splitting, warping, and graying are all signs of an old deck that has not been protected against weathering.

Here are the steps needed to make your old tired deck look new again:

Repair First

Do a thorough look over for any rotten boards and replace them. Check for loose boards and railings and tighten these up as well with decking screws. Check the foundation for any structural damage.

Clean and Brighten Deck

It is not impossible to bring old wood back to life. A little care and maintenance can revive the most neglected decks. If the deck is still in a good structural condition the grayed wood can be cleaned using a wood deck cleaner.

Use a scrub brush or pressure washer with the deck cleaner to remove unwanted mold, mildew, dirt, and graying. The transformation of washing an old deck back to clean again can be amazing. After using a wood cleaner it is important to use a wood brightener. While the wood is still wet, apply a wood brightener to the surface to enhance the wood’s beauty and open the wood pores for better stain penetration.

Apply Penetrating Stain w/Non-Drying Conditioning Oils

Once the deck dries choose the best stain for an old deck. Because old wood decks are extremely dried out, a wood stain the conditions the wood is essential. We use stains like Armstrong Clark for an old deck. This type of wood stain contains non-drying penetrating oils that help rejuvenate the wood cells. These conditioning oils stay deep in the wood to replace the wood’s lost natural oils.

The stain also contains drying oils that separate from the conditioning oils. These drying oils remain on the exposed surface to cure locking in the conditioning oils and providing a layer of protection against weathering. This conditioning of the wood’s cellular structure and weather protection are the keys to reviving an older wood deck.

Maintain Every 2 Years

Repeat the cleaning and staining of the wood every 2 years to keep up the look and extend the life.

Many deck owners think an old deck may have to be torn down and a new one built to replace it. This is not always the case. Old decks can be cleaned up and coated with stains specifically designed to rejuvenate old wood. It may just be possible to bring your old wood deck back to life and get many more years of use out of it.

Questions? Please Ask Below

Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites. All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.

Related Deck Stain Help Articles & Reviews

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
474 Comments
newest
oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Amanda
Amanda
19 days ago

I have read a lot of articles and I’m confused, 🤔 we have an oil based semi transparent on our 27 year old deck, and it didn’t last a year. I was told a water based stain was best, I just want something that looks good for 2 to 3 years, we have power washed the deck and I now plan on sanding it, and fixing a board that has rotted. What would be the best stain?

Michael
Michael
8 months ago

I have a pressure treated deck 30 years old.
I power washed and sanded it and it’s ready for a deck stain.
I have read reviews for multiple different brands and there is negative reviews on all of them.
I am levitating towards the super deck water base semi solid because I like the color (cedar bark) .
Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Patricia
Patricia
11 months ago

Thank you for the encouraging words! Is there a penetrating stain that also protects against both water and uv rays?

Debbie
Debbie
1 year ago

Re: redwood deck restore in CO: forgot to mention that I used diluted orange degreaser to clean. Wet first, sprayed on orange cleaner, then pressure washed.

Debbie
Debbie
1 year ago

Restoring a 30+ yr old deck and 20 yr old railing/spindles, all redwood. In Colorado, part sun, part shade. So far just pressure washed – photos attached show before & after side by side, and railing + deck after. Deck still shows some wear, railing is better. What do you recommend for next steps and finishing coat(s)?

68B6D0F8-17CF-421B-B0AC-3D9267C4FF90.jpeg
E31C60C9-865F-4790-A32F-3C8FEFE8DE7D.jpeg
Ian
Ian
1 year ago

Hi Scott, I live on the west coast of Canada (lots of rain) and my vinyl-coated deck is 20 years old. My question has to do with under the deck. Although not directly exposed to rain, the dampness over the years has cause the wood to grey and become very weathered. What is the best stain to apply under the deck to extend its life. The joists are and plywood are still in decent shape.

Ian
Ian
1 year ago

We don’t have those brands in my Canadian city. We do have Minwax, Olympic, Behr, Varathane, Penofin and Watco. Any of these a good runner-up to your recommendation? {I prefer not to order online.} Thanks Scott.

Allen
Allen
1 year ago

I am a handyman by trade. Sometimes I do charity work as well. In my case, There is somone with a very limited budget whom I would like to help out. It is old pressure treated 2×6. A bit weathered with some moss, and that, but in otherwise good condition. She wants an oil based stain, and something light in color… What is the cheapest of the best that is affordable to do this? Thanks

Allen
Allen
1 year ago

Thanks! She had a little to spend, so we got the modified oil hybrid Cabot brand, semi solid bc it was readily available at the local Ace hardware stores. Great product, but a little more expensive than something from home depot…

Teresa
Teresa
1 year ago

my deck is 20 years I maintain it every two years I painted it two years ago with regular paint what should I put on it now to maintain it because the pain is coming off

Ulrik Votava
Ulrik Votava
1 year ago

I have an 18 yr old pressure treated deck that I just sanded down to bare wood. I’m looking for a semi transparent stain. I’m looking for a product that I don’t have to take down to bare wood when it comes to re-applying in a couple years. What do you recommend?

Stuck in NE Ohio
Stuck in NE Ohio
1 year ago

We have a 20-year old deck, half of which gets a lot of sun and half of which is mostly in the shade. The deck planks and handrails on the sunny side are showing some cracks, and the parts in the shade tend to get mildew. Deck was last stained in 2020 using Behr semi-transpartent stain and sealant penetrating oil (color 4629, chocolate). Am looking to re-stain this summer. Would like to use a stain that will protect the wood better than the Behr (in terms of water repelling and retaining color) and ideally not require the use of a stripper when reapplying moving forward. Am considering using Restore-A-Deck cleaner and brightener, followed by an Armstrong-Clark semi-transparent stain. Would I also need to use a stripper to remove the existing Behr penetrating oil stain? And do you think we’d be better off going with a semi-solid or even a solid stain, given the cracks? (If we use a solid stain, we’ll probably go with Restore-A-Deck solid in brown oak.) Thanks in advance for your advice and thanks for this forum. This information enables much more informed decision-making and subsequent headache avoidance.

Stuck in NE Ohio
Stuck in NE Ohio
1 year ago

Weird. I went through the motions of attaching a picture to my post. Let’s try again…

Stuck in NE Ohio
Stuck in NE Ohio
1 year ago

I reduced the resolution by 50%; I see it below the text field so presumably this resized picture will come through. Fingers crossed…

Deck planks.jpg
Stuck in NE Ohio
Stuck in NE Ohio
1 year ago

Got it – thanks! We’re considering a semi-transparent Armstrong-Clark or TWP 1500 stain. Do you think we’d be better off using a semi-solid or even a solid stain, given the cracks?

Stuck in NE Ohio
Stuck in NE Ohio
1 year ago

Thanks again. Much appreciated!

Mac
Mac
2 years ago

I have an old deck. I last used Behr solid waterproofing stain and sealer. It looked great until after this third winter it started peeling. Ive power washed. Most of the deck is ok. Should I use the same product again?

Linda
Linda
2 years ago

I’ve looked and looked on your site for the 2 questions I asked 7 or 8 weeks ago, but can’t find them. Please tell me again what is the lowest pressure I can use to pressure wash the cleaner and brightener off my deck? Thank you again.

Julie L
Julie L
3 years ago

Have a 17-year-old pressured treated pine deck on a freshwater lake in Florida. Full sun and humidity year-round. Was treated with Olympic Maximum clear oil-based sealer 2 years ago. We wanted to go with a semi-transparent or solid stain. What’s the best products/process to restore? Does it need to be stripped, or just pressure washed and cleaned?

PXL_20210316_202006724.jpg
PXL_20210316_202013749.jpg
PXL_20210316_202037533.jpg
Julie L
Julie L
3 years ago

Thank you for the quick reply. The wood is very dry and it doesn’t appear there is any of the previous sealer left. Do we still need to strip it?

Julie L
Julie L
3 years ago

Thanks – what sealing product do you think will give us the longest life with least maintenance on a Florida lake with full sun? Semi transparent, solid, or a deck sealer?

Julie L
Julie L
3 years ago

Thank you. I appreciate the advice

Billy thrift
Billy thrift
3 years ago

Good review you gave me just what i was looking for with out all the bull

Helen Margaret Jack
Helen Margaret Jack
3 years ago

Photo for review.

IMG-20200918-WA0002.jpeg
Helen Margaret Jack
Helen Margaret Jack
3 years ago

I have a 15 year old trex deck with wooden spindles. Spindles stained once about 13 years ago. Now some peeling and cracking in the larger pieces. What should I do?

Bridget
Bridget
3 years ago

We have an old pressure-treated deck that has never been painted or stained that we can tell (bought the house 2 years ago). Pressure washed about 20 years’ worth of gunk off the entire thing and getting ready to apply semi-transparent stain (light grey). Having never done this before and reading your recommendations, it seems using a deck brightener would be best next step before staining. Do I need to use a cleaner (before brightening)?

Is there a reputable semi-transparent deck stain product you recommend that doesn’t require an online purchase? I’d prefer to buy in-person. Crazy, I know.

Thank you for this website! Very helpful!

Deborah D'Errico
Deborah D'Errico
3 years ago

We have a lot of cracks and some splintering, will the deck stain act as a glue for future splintering, we of course would need to sand the really rough spots but wondered if the product you reccomend would help us fo minimal sanding or do we need to go with a deck coating product thats thick and more like a paint? Id rather have a more natural look than what the thicker products produce, but don’t want future splintering. Deck was very neglected when we purchased.

Deborah Derrico
Deborah Derrico
3 years ago

Thanks for the quick response and recomendation

Lynda MacBride
Lynda MacBride
2 years ago

Our deck is approximately 20 years old. But still in good shape ever year it seems we have to stain it again.We live in southern Ontario and once winter is over the deck looks like it had never been done
We have been putting Thompson honey gold stain on it every summer.
What would you recommend this year.that would last longer.

Brian S Brashears
Brian S Brashears
3 years ago

Can semi transparent stain be used on a worn deck?

Fares
Fares
3 years ago

Photos

F08A39D2-381A-41A9-80AB-4965CBF09384.jpeg
71450E2D-8295-49E6-9CCB-D2DDE52276EB.jpeg
12C669B4-1E75-4B34-BAFD-241D72E027A1.jpeg
Fares
Fares
3 years ago

Hi our deck is around 15 years old however we added an extension 3 years ago and the deck was painted. This year we decided to sand it down and instead stain the deck, however we found some rotten planks which we replaced. We stained the rails semi solid chestnut color, originally wanting to have the floor lighter but we can’t decide on a color because my house siding is white. Could u recommend a good stain color type and brand. I appreciate the help thank you very much for your time.

DF452868-9873-42E1-BC48-D97CDE52FB20.jpeg
Pat
Pat
3 years ago

I live in Iowa, partial sun (trees), rain, leaves, and snow, winter cold (-10) to summer (90), deck 20 yrs old, used TWP every 3 yrs (just soap & water with scrub brush), was getting to where new application wasn’t looking good, boards are in good shape (not splintered etc), last yr Menards was having a sale with a Cabot company paint expert to answer questions,he sold me on Cabot Australian Timber with a bleach cleaner. I did that and the deck looks terrible, about 80% of the stain took and the other 20% looks terrible.

What do you suggest, I am 78 yrs old and getting tired of doing it.

thanks

Pat
Pat
3 years ago
Reply to  Pat

I may have given you the wrong e-mail to my above question

Jacob Craven
Jacob Craven
3 years ago

Armstrong Clark is offered in 3 different versions: Trans parents, Semi-Transparent, and Semi-Solid Colors. How do I chose which version. I stained my deck about two years ago.

Paula
Paula
3 years ago

What is considered a “old deck”? We built our deck 2 years ago (third summer with it). We just assumed it shouldnt be stained or sealed because it was pressure treated lumber. Our deck is causing splinters for our kids and definately needs a huge breathe of fresh air. What do we do???

Jacqui
Jacqui
3 years ago

Help please. I used Thompson timber oil teak. I wanted Armstrong-Clark but as we live in Ontario canada I didn’t want to order as only available in the US and was concerned it would be stuck in customs for weeks due to covid 19. I stained half the deck in Sunday. It looked great, rich in colour. Monday it rained and yesterday heavy storm. Now it looks patchy, horrible and I hate the colour. What do you think of this product, will it be hard to strip, should I sand the patchy bits and restain.

Jacqui
Jacqui
3 years ago
Reply to  Jacqui

Photos as requested

E2F79E3C-1339-4F58-804D-2842FCF39DDE.jpeg
D333B34B-470F-45C4-8516-8AE3DD784844.jpeg
474
0
Questions or leave a review, please comment!x