Best Stain for an Old Deck 4.7/5 (135)

This post was updated on January 19, 2022

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 2022  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


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Stuck in NE Ohio
Stuck in NE Ohio
12 days 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
12 days 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
10 days ago

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

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Stuck in NE Ohio
Stuck in NE Ohio
10 days 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
10 days ago

Thanks again. Much appreciated!

Mac
Mac
29 days 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
7 months 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
1 year 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?

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Julie L
Julie L
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year ago

Thank you. I appreciate the advice

Billy thrift
Billy thrift
1 year ago

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

Helen Margaret Jack
Helen Margaret Jack
1 year ago

Photo for review.

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Helen Margaret Jack
Helen Margaret Jack
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year ago

Thanks for the quick response and recomendation

Lynda MacBride
Lynda MacBride
1 month 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
1 year ago

Can semi transparent stain be used on a worn deck?

Fares
Fares
1 year ago

Photos

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Fares
Fares
1 year 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.

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Pat
Pat
1 year 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
1 year ago
Reply to  Pat

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

Jacob Craven
Jacob Craven
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacqui

Photos as requested

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Lauren C
Lauren C
1 year ago

We just received an very old cedar kids playhouse and want to fix it up. We sanded it and would like to use something to stain it and protect it from the elements. Any suggestions?

Denny
Denny
2 years ago

How to restore tops of old deck joists that have nail and screw holes from at least 3 deck floor replacements? Is there a finish to paint on tops of joists to help preserve?

Melissa
Melissa
2 years ago

We tried getting all paint off deck there is still some. Can we use a darker stain over this deck? If so what kind? And If I just decide to paint railings do I just use any exterior paint?

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Melissa
Melissa
2 years ago

Solid stain on railings too? So there’s no way to use a regular darker stain. Solid stain looks like paint right? I kinda wanted a wood look on the deck that’s why we tried getting all the previous off.

Melissa
Melissa
2 years ago

Do I use solid stain on railings too

Melissa
Melissa
2 years ago

So the few speckles of paint will mess up regular staining? We’ve used stripper and tried to sand is there anything else we can try to get the few spots off?

Kelley Winsor
Kelley Winsor
2 years ago

What is not only the best stain for an older deck, but also the fastest drying stain.

Thanks for your help.

KSW

mary yurkovich
mary yurkovich
2 years ago

my deck is not old [5/6 yrs] but i painted it with the wrong stuff and it peeled and blew in the wind….. i power wash it and did some sanding now i need to do something to get it too look better… there is some residual paint that won’t budge what should i do ????????

Karen
Karen
2 years ago

Water based vs oil based stain for an old deck

Ken
Ken
2 years ago

We have a four-year old redwood deck that has weathered natural gray ( which we like) but we are concerned the the wood is drying out. What is the best product to nourish the wood while keeping the weathered look and color?

Ann
Ann
2 years ago

Our deck is about 24 years old. We refinished it in 2012 but can’t remember (and kept no record!) of the product used. Based on pics taken during that application I’d guess it was a semi-solid, and the color is fairly dark.
My husband just power washed the entire deck and railings, with better success on the deck floor than the verticals in removing the previous finish. I’d prefer to go with a lighter / medium color this time, and am ok with some of the darker previous stain showing thru.
I rather impulsively bought TWP 100 Cedartone after reading lots of great reviews and comments here. Was that a mistake?
The power wash, done with water only, also raised the grain a fair amount.
How would you suggest we proceed: 1) since we don’t know what the previous product was; 2) in terms of the color change; and 3) given the roughed up grain?
Thank you!

Mike
Mike
2 years ago

After pressure washing, there is still a lot of old stain left on railings. Does this need to be stripped off before using your products? Do I have to mask around deck to protect siding, doors, etc. or is it washable?

Loretta
Loretta
3 years ago

What is the best stain for a 20 yr old deck

Dawn Tucker
Dawn Tucker
3 years ago

Hi here is a 22 year old treated wood deck. The deck was stained after one year with a redwood stain. Obviously that is completely gone. There was a Thompson light stain application ~5 years ago soaked right in, a few dark spots. Other than these couple of stained applications I’ve maintained the deck by cleaning every year with diy cleaner. Now I would like to properly stain. What type of sanding equipment/grit and cleaning/staining methods and products would be recommended? Need start to finish advice. Thank you!

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Anthony
Anthony
3 years ago

We recently moved in to a house with an old deck (assume 20+ years?). The deck looked unfinished and had many splits and a few damaged planks. I sealed the larger splits with polyurethane and replaced the damaged planks. A year later, I stained it with a solid-color stain using a sprayer. Looked great. A year after that, most of the stain starting flaking off. I wanted to start over so I quickly (one-pass) power washed off the remaining stain, though some bits did not easily come off. (Please see attached pictures, to see the deck in this current state).

My question now is: can I re-apply solid-stain without removing the little bits currently on the wood? Also, I have not cleaned the deck with any chemicals (I imagine I’ll have to fully remove all stain before I attempt to clean?) I plan on applying the stain with a brush/roller instead of a sprayer this year- hopefully that will achieve better results?

Thanks.

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Kathy
Kathy
3 years ago

I have a 30 year old deck in fair condition. I have used Thompson clear deck sealer in the past, most recently last season. I want to apply a color to hide the imperfections of aging, but do not want to use paint. After power washing deck, can I use an oil stain ? What would you recommend? Is sanding necessary? Thank you

Gayle Whitehead
Gayle Whitehead
3 years ago

After wood cleaner & brightener, is there a good CLEAR stain I can use? This is for exterior redwood shelf that I have sanded…but it still shows gray lines in it. Thanks!

Gayle Whitehead
Gayle Whitehead
3 years ago

OK…pics below of how redwood counter looked after built & sealed May 2018, last week looked gray, then I sanded, but still have light gray stripes. Good and smooth…do I have to use BOTH the Defy Wood Cleaner and Brightener..or, can I just use the Cleaner? Then which brand of sealer or stain should I use?
Thanks sooo much!

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Tom
Tom
3 years ago

Hi all

I have a pressure treated deck railing that was installed two years ago. About 5 months after that is was partially stained using a white solid stain. I have the stain that was used originally and want to finish it, but am wondering if i can just finish staining. I was just going powerwash. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Tom
Tom
3 years ago

Thanks. Any brand you recommend?

Bill
Bill
3 years ago

When can you not stain and seal old deck, temperature wise?

Marianna Chryst
Marianna Chryst
3 years ago

An old deck that has some old gray stain .I need to preserve the wood. What can I use to cover .??.

Phycilla
Phycilla
3 years ago

I have had my deck steps repaired so now I have old and new pine. What can I stain with and do I need to wait before staining?

James S
James S
3 years ago

Sorry about posting incorrectly below.

This is where I need help. I have an old weathered deck in good condition. I have power washed it. It appears it has not been stained previously. It is treated wood about 12 yers old. I want to apply a solid stain. The paints store has recommended I apply Fresh Start, a sealer prior to applying the stain.
Anybody have an opinion on this approach? What about using a brightener too?

Thanks for any thoughts on this project.

James S
James S
3 years ago

Anyone us Fresh Start sealer on their deck?

Steve
Steve
3 years ago

I just bought a cabin in Crestline, CA with an apparently 30 year old deck. The owner who owned it 5 years ago (he lives down the street) said he used to use Superdeck 1906 oil based stain, but after reading the reviews I’m going to go with something else. There’s extreme weather as it’s on a really windy ridge that gets snow, rain, and sun. Any recommendations? It’s redwood and brown in color but pretty faded. It seems the owner of the last 4 years didn’t do anything with it. I’m leaning towards the TWP 500 or 1500, but I’m wondering if a semi-solid Armstrong clark would be better to cover up the battered quality of the wood. Any input appreciated!

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Cheryl Sutherland
Cheryl Sutherland
3 years ago

Hi, I hired a laborer to work on my deck. He’s replaced about 15 boards with new pretreated boards. We’d like to stain the entire deck with a transparent stain. However when we started the color on the new boards was very light, and the color on the older boards was very dark, so my deck is looking like a stripped zebra. I made some inquiries and getting a lot of conflicting information. I’ve been told I should wait 6 months before staining to allow the new boards to cure which will give it a more uniform look. I’ve also been told that I’ll never get an uniform color across old and new boards and should use a solid stain (which I don’t care for). Your advise please.

Cheryl Sutherland
Cheryl Sutherland
3 years ago

To obtain the best uniform look, should I try a semi-transparent stain?

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago

Big mistake.should either replace all the boards on your deck or go find old weathered deck boards if he was a painter he should have known this you will never get it all looking the same

Joe
Joe
3 years ago

I have a two level old wood deck that I want to stain. It was previously painted. I am sanding the deck down to bare wood as much as possible. I would like to stain it with semi-transparent stain. I like the reviews of both the TWP 1500 series, and Armstrong Clark. The Armstrong Clark has two types of oils, one that penetrates and one that drys. Would this cause the flooring of the deck to become more slippery when wet from rain? Also, should I use a semi-solid stain? I am under the belief that semi-solid does not hold up as well as semi-transparent.
Thank you for your help with my project.

Ron
Ron
3 years ago

Have a deck that was put down in 1979, have sanded it completely and put down Sikkens stain which has pealed. Want to know what the best deck over product is out there.

Monika Malgorzata Didluch
Monika Malgorzata Didluch
3 years ago

Hello , what brand of the semi-transparent stain would you recommend for 15 years old pressure treated deck? The deck is in ok condition. Striped, cleaned, power washed and brightened but the wood is very dry and by the pool. I live in zone 5 where winters are brutal and summers hot. The deck gets full day of direct sun and is exposed to rain and snow as well. In previous years I have used Sherwin -Williams due to their yearly sales. Is it anything better/new on the market that you recommend? Thank you.

S. Gibson
S. Gibson
3 years ago

I have 3 buckets of olympic deck paint never opened. Its 3-4 years old. Is it good?

Jason
Jason
3 years ago

Hi! Thank you so much for taking my question. We moved into our house about 4 years ago that had an existing deck built in 2006. They had a solid cedar stain that they might have just slapped on over something else before they sold the house and it started flaking off soon after. I stripped and sanded as much as I could with some tough spots still visible, plus the railings undone. We really didn’t like the solid color that had almost a pinkish hue and would love something darker, but aren’t sure what could look good other than another solid stain which may not be ideal for walking on. Please let me know your advice when you have a minute and thanks again!

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Jason
Jason
3 years ago

Thank you for the advice! We used the flood solid stain and it looks great. However, after the first coat we had rain the next day and couldn’t get the second coat on. Flood recommends a second coat but is it too late now (5 days later)?

alice waldo
alice waldo
3 years ago

we have an old cedar deck that needs re staining… what do you recommend????????? thx alice

Dian
Dian
3 years ago

What is the best deck stain for cedar deck that previously had Cabot semi stain. Deck has lots of morning sun and afternoon shade from tree in middle of deck. My deck guy wants to use Sherwin Williams Super Deck semi.
I had all the boards replace and stained with Cabot 4 years ago. Please advise for northernDetroit Suburb.

Dennis Franklin
Dennis Franklin
3 years ago

We stripped deck but some areas still have some color on them that wont come off especially the posts. What kind of stain should we use to cover it all?

Jim
Jim
3 years ago

Will the staining be uniform if a few new deck planks are used?

Ken O.
Ken O.
3 years ago

My current cedar deck which is about 20 years old has a semi transparent oil based stain on it that was done by a local company. I’m going to do the deck myself this year. I will still stay with the semi transparent stain. Do I need to strip the deck or just use a deck cleaner and then brightener?

Prinz Celeste
Prinz Celeste
4 years ago

Old boards with old stain still does not look good with the replacement boards. Done that before and ugly. Hired painter wants to use opaque hybrid stain. Do you know anything about that ?

SHARON Brown
SHARON Brown
4 years ago

My deck needs to be stained every year and the stain won’t stay on can you recommend something to cover the deck and stay on

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