This post was updated on January 30, 2023
Best Stain For Full Sun Decks in 2023
DeckStainHelp.com has become the Internet’s go-to site for all things exterior wood surface restoration-related. New this year is Restore-A-Deck in a day, which was not mentioned in the article below for its ability to withstand the elements when your deck is in full sun. We encourage customer interaction on our site, so feel free to leave a comment.
One of the biggest elements in the lifespan of a deck is sun exposure. When a deck is exposed to full sun, it can have a damaging effect that can shorten the life of the wood. Harmful UV rays break down the wood fibers and cause discoloration, graying, and fading. When a deck becomes severely sun-damaged the decking boards can warp, crack, and split causing dangerous splinters and a very unappealing look. In extreme cases, UV damage is irreversible and cannot be repaired.
The best stain for full sun decks is one that has a heavily pigmented formula that acts as a sunscreen and blocks damaging UV radiation. Most of the stains that are best for full sun decks will penetrate deeply into the wood pores. For example, Defy Extreme is an excellent waterborne product that uses nanoparticle technology and heavy resins to help reflect harmful sun rays.
TWP Stains also offers several different stains that protect against sun damage. They offer many different colors but as with any stain, the darker the color (more pigment) the more sun protection it will provide. If your full sun deck has already suffered from a certain amount of sun damage then Armstrong Clark makes an outstanding wood stain that will replace the lost natural oils in the wood. These nondrying conditioning oils separate from the drying side of the formula and penetrate deep into the wood fibers to rejuvenate the wood. The Armstrong Clark or TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series in a semi-solid color will give the best UV protection of any of the stains that still show the wood grain.
Deck stain Photos Semi-Solid Colors
Best Deck Stain for Full Sun
When choosing the best stain for full sun decks you must also consider the type of wood you are staining. Certain stains are better for different types of wood. For example, Defy Hardwoods would be a great choice for a full sun deck made of cedar, redwood, mahogany, or other difficult penetrating woods. Armstrong Clark in Mahogany or Amber colors are also great options for these types of wood. Any of these brands may be the best stain for full sun decks just depending on the situation.
Deck Stain Help & Questions
- Staining a Deck With a Pump Sprayer
- Rough Cedar Stain Colors
- Solid Stain Over Paint
- How Long For Deck Stain to Dry
- Does Stain Go Bad
- Temperature For Staining Wood
- Restore a Deck Home Depot
- Clear Coat Stain
- Deck Stain and Sealer
- Can You Stain Composite Decking
- Best Way to Sand a Deck
- When to Stain a New Deck
Stain Reviews & Comparisons
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.
Which colour is the TWP Semi-Solid Stain that you show on the deck pictures? Does it work well with Fir? Thank you.
Cedar Mulch is the color: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/twp-semi-solid-pro-series-wood-and-deck-stain-review/
You can use it on Fir.
Hi! What would work best for a deck made of Douglas fir. It has no stain currently. Would I need to prep it with wood conditioner? What would work best for this type of wood? I am trying to keep it a natural oak color
New wood or old wood?
What would be the best stain for a 4yr old pressure treated wood deck in Chicago that gets full sun, all day in the summer. It was originally professionally stained but now wanting to do it myself.
Prep to remove the prior coatings and then try Armstrong Clark in a semi-solid color.
We had our 400+ sq ft deck replaced with pressure treated pine in 2020. Our deck gets full sun all day long. We have used Penofin for Hardwood Oil Stain in Transparent Natural Tone. It looks nice initially but then gets gray and dark rather quickly. It has been prepped with their cleaner/brightener and stained twice now and ready for another coat. Assuming this may not be the best stain for our situation? Do you have any recommendations that would not require annual staining? We do prefer something on the lighter side and do not want a solid stain. Would a water sealant be any help or is that just asking for peeling? If we switch stains, will that require completely removing the stain by stripping or will a cleaner/brighter be enough? Regret not going with composite.
Strip and then brighten for prep: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/restore-a-deck-injectable-deck-stain-stripper-review/
Once prepped, use Restore A Deck Stains or TWP 1500 Series. Both are far superior to Penofin.
Is a full coverage deck stain available that stays cool to touch and doesn’t burn the bottoms of feet?
Lighter colors will retain heat less than darker colors. Does not matter the brand.
Looking for a good stain/seal that can hold up to the elements. I purchased Valspar semi transparent cedar tone and it looked great for a few months. I ended up re applying a year later only to get the same results.
I have a south facing deck with no shade. I live in MO where we get every type of weather and temps from 105 degrees to below zero. I think my biggest issue is the sun. Ready to find something real that I can enjoy for awhile and that’s easy to re apply as needed.
Thanks for the help!
Valspar has issues and will peel. You will need to remove it fully now. Post some pics for prep advice.
Once removed, use a fully penetrating stain. Try Armstrong Clark stains or TWP 100 Series.
Thanks! I have actually sanded most of my deck down over the past week, so no luck on getting a good photo of the deck as it is. I don’t have immediate access to a power washer so I sanded the Valspar off.
Are you recommending a semi-transparent here? (I see the TWP 100 series is) I was looking at the semi-solids but if they have a tendency to peel then I am all for the semi-transparent. I like the look better on the semi transparent as well.
You can use the TWP semi-solid colors as well. They do offer better UV protection. All TWP stains will not peel.
How do solid stains handle direct sunlight? We get triple digits in the summer and the porch is in direct sun. I am looking to use Sharkskin from Rodda. hybrid waterborne technology – cross-linking Acrylic & Urethane resins with Linseed oil to provide the ultimate in weather protection and scuff & mar resistance from foot traffic.
Solid stains work excellent for UV protection but can be prone to peeling. See here for the best options that we have used in the past 30 years:
Is the formula for California that much different for most exterior deck stains. I have noticed as environmental regulations changed in our state that the lifespan of the stain seems to have been greatly reduced. I have heard that is the reason. Any truth to that?
The VOCs in California is the same for many states. The only area that is ultra low VOC is the counties of LA area. There are still excellent stains that can be used and purchased for CA and the ultra low VOCs of LA. Try TWP 1500 Series or Armstrong Clark Stains. Much better than you can get in a Lowes or Home Depot.
I live in sunny warm California I have a fence in full sun for most of the day. What sun protectant sealer/stain would work the best. We get warm to 120 degree weather during the summer to freezing temps in the winter.
TWP 1500 Series or Armstrong Clark Wood Stains. Make sure you prep first.
I live I. Pahrump NV. Looking for a wood stain that will hold up in extreme heat and freezing in the winter. Thank you
TWP Semi-Solid stain is your best option: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/twp-semi-solid-pro-series-wood-and-deck-stain-review/
I live in GA and having wood columns put up in front of main door. Moderate direct sunlight. What type of stain do you recommend? Thank you for your help!
Restore A Deck Stains or TWP 1500 Series.
Thank you so much!
I live in southwest Virginia. We have a large tiered deck. The deck gets full afternoon to evening sun (11:00ish AM to 6:00ishPM) and summers are hot, winters are wet, cold, snow, ice. We replaced the upper deck in 2019 due to mold rotted wood and cracks but have not been able to stain it yet (thanks, CoVid). We’d like a long-standing stain – we’re open to any semi or solid as long it’s the best UV protection and longest wear on horizontal surfaces). Also mold is a concern (had to replace the old deck due to mold-rotted wood). – I used a Behr water + oil based combo previously and wonder if that caused it to rot so quickly. Within a few years the wood started to rot. I ah e concerns about an oil based stain due to previous experience and I’ve thought about Defy since it’s water based but unsure of how long it will remain and which product. Would also like a recommendation for a cleaner to prep before staining and how to remove possible minor fuzzies since it’s been a few years. Thank you! Jen
This for prep: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/restore-a-deck-cleaner-system-review/
See here about fuzzies: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/wood-fuzzies-furring-on-deck/
Try Restore A Deck Stains or TWP Stains.
Have a large mangaris wood deck in So Cal… gets a lot of sun and grays quickly. I’ve used Penofin in the past but it doesn’t seem to last long. Any suggestions?
Look at one of these hardwood stains: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/ipe-exotic-hardwood-stain-review/
I live in Colorado and have a cedar deck that is exposed to full sun at a higher elevation and a very dry climate. We have tried TWP and Armstrong stains. Both require annual treatment. The wood on the deck is cracking and cupping slightly. Is there a better stain to try to help add moisture into the wood?
Use AC or TWP in as semi-solid color for better UV protection. The other option will be to go to a solid color stain. No stain will add moisture into the wood.
I am working on an ipe deck with full sun exposure at a property in the Caribbean. The deck was originally finished with Cabots Australian Timber Oil. Almost immediately the stain was showing surface scratches presumably because of poor penetration of the dense ipe material. There is also considerable fading. We’re considering Messemers and Armstrong. Which product will give the best scratch resistance and also the longest UV protection while enhancing the natural beauty of the ipe?
Look at Armstrong Clark in Amber color.
Thank you. Based on your experience will it perform better than the Amber Cabot Australian Timber Oil that was used previously as far as UV and scratching?
Based on your experience will Armstrong Clark amber significantly out perform Cabots Australian Timber Oil Amber with regard to UV protection/fading and also surface scratching? We don’t have easy access to Armstrong Products in our area but I can ship it in if it is notably superior
It should be but you have a harsh environment and IPE wood requires annual recoating.
Thanks for the help. I had planned on annual recoating. Based on the initial treatment, the Cabots product will require semi-annual. I will switch to Armstrong if the expectation is that it will perform better, and assuming I can get it.
Another option would be the Restore A Deck in Light Walnut. Testing shows very good results for IPE:
I live in Florida and have mostly full sun and extreme heat. We just built a dock with treated wood. What would be better to use? Clear stain or semi colour stain?.. And which one would last the longest?
It must be tinted for UV protection, not clear with no color.
Found this article while searching for wood stains for a new oak front door. I live in Southern California and the sun mercilessly beats down on this door. Everyone tells me I should paint it but I want to preserve the wood grain look. I’m guessing there really isn’t much difference between staining a door vs a deck, so I figured I’ll ask; what stain would hold up best with heavy sun exposure on a front door?
Deck Stains are not the same as front door stains so they are not typically used.
I know. But it seems deck stains are designed to withstand extreme sun, and that’s what my door is getting. Regular stains don’t advertise withstanding extreme weather conditions. So while it’s a bit of an out of the box thinking, is there a reason why I shouldn’t use a deck stain for my door?
No, they will have issues with the rubber weather seals.
We are in Georgia and have a large full sun 12 year old pine deck. It has been stained with Behr water based stain 2 or 3 times. We need to stain this year and want to use a better product that lasts longer. The big question, is there a product that we would not have to strip the old stain? Thank you.
No, you have to remove the Behr fully first.
First of all you’re a TERRIFIC resource. Question – new deck, full sun in GA so very hot during summer, going to use TWP semi solid. Do you recommend adding a small amount of sealant like poly/helmsman to the mix for further protection or is that asking for trouble like peeling down the road from summer heat? Thank you very much.
No, you can never add a sealer or poly into a deck stain. It will cause it to peel and it will not make it last longer but make it fail quicker.
Thank you! I’ve seen people suggest that online and YouTube and that was my worry. Appreciate the prompt response.
Not smart to do that. They are giving poor advice.
What product should I use to re-cover wooden railings in direct sun year round that are badly peeled after first transparent stain and then solid stain? The vertical posts are holding the solid stain fine, but the horizontal surfaces peel badly.
Post some pictures.
Here’s the peeling solid stain on drying wood two years after application.
Power sand it all off and then use one of these brands of solid stains: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/what-are-the-best-solid-color-deck-stains/
Thanks very much.
Looking for the best stain to hold up to full sun and a lot of sand. My deck is 20′ away from white sugar sand beach in N Michigan, it faces SE so sees a TON of sun, and I just can’t seem to find a stain that will hold up against the sand and foot traffic. Looking for advice. Thanks in advance!
Remove all current coatings and then use the TWP Semi-Solid Pro Series:
Hi a quick question, what is recommended for sealing rough cedar 4×4 posts? I want to preserve natural look, with out linseed effect. Which transparent sealant do you suggest to use in the hot and dry Colorado climate?
Look at Restore A Deck Stains or TWP Stains. See this for tips and pictures:
Thank you, much appreciated.
I also got a bad stain with the Olympic Rescue . after 2.5 years it is mess pealing and bubbling. I have just powerwashed the deck but only the loose / bibbling places came off. What should I do before restaining over areas that did not come off. Is there a good brand product to use on top of the Olympic? Located in Central Ohio, Dorect sun in summer, ice and snow in winter. Thanks
Nothing can go on top if it. It has to fully be removed. Power sanding will be required to remove.
I have a west facing dock in mid SC. 50′ pier and ramp and 20′ floater, all pine. Last year I stained it with One Time Clove Brown. Was told full sun would fade it. Looked amazing and went on great, but I’m going to put on a 2nd coat this year. No one mentioned this product. Mostly Armstrong. Am wondering if this is an Armstrong sponsored post or are their products that much better than the rest? Any feedback from anyone regarding this product. (One Time)? Like others, I don’t want to have to redo every year. Anything that can stand up to full sun? Thanks all.
Armstrong does not sponsor any posts on this website. The AC would fair better than the OneTime. FYI, you will have to fully remove the OneTime if you want to use the AC or any other brand of stain.
OneTimeReview here. Read comments from customers as well: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/one-time-wood-deck-stain-review/
I’ve got a south facing teak deck that has lost all of its color. The stain is pretty much nonexistent. I’m a newbie to this, are there any links to understand how to prep by stripping and brightening. In addition, any recommendations for stains. Armstrong Clark stain?
AC stain would work very well.
Wow thanks so much for your help! Can’t wait to bring my deck back to life.
You can also use the search bar at top find additional articles.
Hi! I live in edmonton alberta and have a fully exposed south facing cedar deck that I seem to have to refinish every year (including the removal of the current product, sanding then refinish). Our deck has to put up with a lot… the direct sun, heavy snow & frozen conditions, rains and heat (truly a four season place). I am tired of re-doing the deck every year and have been using good quality semi transparent products without much luck. The products do not seem to handle the long cold but sunny winters…do you suggest using an oil product or maybe and non transparent finish or maybe I just let it go grey :(. I wouldn’t mind if I only had to through another coat on but the whole process of removing and redoing it is painful…appreciate any suggestions
Prep by stripping and brightening and try the Armstrong Clark in a semi-solid color. It is oil based: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/tag/armstrong-clark-deck-stains/
I had an approximately 900 sq. ft. pressure treated pine deck with attached railings and privacy fencing built around my above ground pool in July 2020 located in Louisiana. My deck is exposed to 100% sun all year. I’m now planning to stain the deck this Spring. I’ve been researching oil based semi solid stains vs. semi transparent stains over the past few days. Both stain options has its own pros and cons, but I like the look of semi-transparent stains because it allows the wood grain to show. However, based on what I’ve read thus far I will have to keep reapplying the semi-transparent stain every year or so because of it being exposed 100% to the full sun. I would rather not have to deal with constantly staining the deck every year. Please provide some guidance to what stain option will be best for my situation. Also, would I also need to do any kind of specialized cleaning beside pressure washing the structure to prep it for staining?
For the prep, you will need to use a deck cleaner and then a wood brightener. Try the RAD Products. You have an another issue with the pool. No stain will be immune to the chlorine bleach from fading the color out where the water gets on it. This will most likely create the need no matter what to stain the floors annually. Verticals every 3 years. That being said, go with the semi-transparent stain and one that can be cleaned and re-coated as needed. Armstrong Clark or TWP 100 Series.
I am looking at refinishing our deck, it is full sun I like the foolish person I am stained it black and it gets crazy hot, what color options do I have that do not get super hot with full sun exposer
Remove the current coating and use a lighter tinted stain color.
that is the plan but I have no idea what color to choose from we have had white decks with the same issue so I was not sure if a certain type of stain or brand would be better
Brand does not matter. Just color. Semi-transparent would be best.
Thanks for this advice and help. My own experience is with TWP 1500 series, in northern california where sun is intense and temperature is over 100 for 20 days. The TWP (in cedar) goes on beautifully and looks great — for about three-six months. After that, it is faded and aged looking. I have stained and re-stained it two years in a row (with sanding, cleaning, brightening, the whole process) and it is looking bad again in less than a year. Love the product but I can’t do this every year. It’s exhausting. Do I need to go to a fully opaque stain and if so which one is good for such intense sun? Thanks again.
Try a semi-solid stain color like the Armstrong Clark: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/armstrong-clark-semi-solid-stain-review/
I live along the coast of North Carolina very near the ocean. My top floor deck is fully exposed to the bright hot sun and salt in the air every day. The lower deck is more shade but does get a fair amount of sun. My house is about one year old and the deck has not been stained yet. What is the best product for me to use? Thank you in advance.
Try the TWP 100 Series or the Restore A Deck Stains.
I have a railing around my upstairs deck. It was originally stained and after a few years the grain of the wood raised so I sanded it down and applied a tinted stain and that also chipped and peeled so I painted it with a tinted stain I think, though it might have been paint. I’m enclosing a couple of photos, though I’m not seeing them here 🧐.
I’m asking for your advice on what to apply as this point. I assume I’ll have to re-sand 😩.
Thanks so much,
You will need a solid stain unless you want to 100% sand off the current coating and that will be difficult: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/what-are-the-best-solid-color-deck-stains/
I live in Massachusetts and we get lots of snow, run and full sun on this deck. I would like a stain for all weather protection.
The Armstrong Clark in a semi-solid color: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/tag/armstrong-clark-deck-stains/
We live outside of Houston (hot and intense). I am building a deck using 2-in x 6-in x 8-ft #2 Prime Southern Yellow Pine Pressure Treated Lumber. I want it to last and would like it not to be too hot to the touch. What do you recommend for the stain?
See here for new wood tips: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
We live in Virginia, about an hour south of DC. Our deck is in the sun for most of the day (about 10 hours). We have just replaced many of the boards on our 20 yr old deck – what is the best stain to use for a consistent look that will last longer than a year or two?
Restore A Deck Wood stain or the Armstrong Clark Stains. See here about new wood: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
Hi my name is Denis! I have a question for you! I have a deck on the south side with heat from the sun 40 plus celcuis and I live in the north eastern Ontario with a cold that can reach -40 celcuis and plus! What kind of product that can last more than a year that I can use?
TWP 200 Series.
We installed a new cedar deck last fall and used Cabot Semi-transparent, dark pigment, oil based stain. With the winter snows the pigment basically washed off. We apparently didn’t prep it right. Weather conditions change rapidly in central Oregon. Currently the deck has been stripped with Cabot Stripper and Brightener and rinsed thoroughly. I have previously used elastomeric paint on decking in the CA desert, which has held up for years. I would like to use it here in La Pine, OR if it will hold up to the cold winter weather. Can you advise? I’m getting too old to refinish decking every year!These pictures show knots where the stain remained.
Try this: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/gulf-synthetics-deck-revive-review-2015/
I have a brand new redwood deck in Southern California, where it is very sunny and hot. Most of the deck is in full sun all day. I am looking for something to protect it A) From the sun, B) from water (hot tub) and C) that would last the longest and require the least maintenance. Does such a thing exist? Thank you.
See here about new wood: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
After the wait and prep, try the Restore a Deck Stains or TWP 100 Series.
I’m sanding off old stain from a pressure treated deck what’s the best I’ve protection stain to use that still shows wood grain
Any of these brands: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/the-5-best-deck-stain-reviews-and-ratings/
I have a full sun cedar deck. Installed 4 years ago. Just had it stripped and prepped. Looking for something to bring out the wood grain keeping it as natural as possible. Haven’t made it through a full summer yet with TWP semi transparent. Need something that will last! Any recommendations?
Try Defy Extreme or Restore A Deck Stains.
We have a southwest facing cedar deck, we stained it with penafin oil three years ago and it all peeled up, it didn’t absorb at all. We live in western Canada, so have extreme temperatures (very cold in winter and hot in summer). What do you recommend? I’m sanding off the remaining stain and then plan to power wash. We have a very big deck, so I ideally do not want to re-stain every year.
Try TWP 200 Series.
What is part of my deck is in full sun, but the rest is covered by an awning? The exposed part gets sun damage so much faster. The covered part still looks brand new. What type of stain do I use and how do I maintenance it?
Clean and brighten every couple of years using one of these top brands.
We have a tiger wood deck that has turned silver in some areas that are hit by the morning and afternoon sun. We have used a rosewood oil finish that was suggested by the deck manufacturers but it barely lasts the season before graying starts all over again. Then we have to oxalic acid scrub again and reapply the oil finish. We’re looking for something less labor intensive that would give us longer lasting results. Would the Defy or the Armstrong Clark product give us better results that would last longer?
Suzie and Rick
Nothing lasts longer than a year on an exotic hardwood deck like Tigerwood. https://www.deckstainhelp.com/ipe-exotic-hardwood-stain-review/
We live at the coast and get alot of salt air and wind. We just put down a new deck using sun wood. After waiting 3 months what is the best stain or paint to use. Is paint better then stain. Also we have a dog that will be on it. I worry about scratches.
See here for some new wood tips: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/how-long-should-you-wait-to-stain-a-new-deck/
I have a deck with new pressure treated pine put down in October 2019. I live in north Georgia about 45 miles north of Atlanta. What would be the best for my deck water based or oil? I’m 10 feet from an inground pool and the deck is partially covered and others parts exposed to direct sunlight. The deck is 32×30 so lots of work.
See here about new wood: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/how-long-should-you-wait-to-stain-a-new-deck/
We have a 25 year deck that is 75% full sun. We have used Cabot opaque stain and each year it peels as soon as the weather starts to warm up. We power wash all loose stuff, use a cleaner but to no avail. Chicago climate. We want an opaque now simply because we do not want to strip as many spindles/seat/flooring that a 1200+ sf deck has. Suggestions on what to use for coming year?
You cannot fix a bad stain (Canot) by adding a better stain brand on top as you will always be at the mercy of the Cabot under the last coating(s). To properly fix this you would have to sand off the failing stain. Once that is done, look at one of these brands: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/what-are-the-best-solid-color-deck-stains/
I am having a brand new deck built this week, composite wood. Full sun exposure. I live in Maryland. I want a semitransparent sealant. I’m a 65 year old nurse and although I doubt I can treat the outside of the deck as it’s a second story level, I plan to do the main floor and rails myself and will get some help with the rest. Are the Sherwin-Williams deck products good? I’m thinking of an oil based product so it will last longer
No, SW products are all poor quality and have bad reviews from customers. The wood is new composite? Why would you want to stain it?
well, I really want to seal it, if the sealant has a slight color that’s transparent doesn’t matter but clear is fine. I just want to apply a good product and I’m not experienced at all about doing this but I had to replace deck unexpectedly so am trying to cut costs doing it myself!!
We have pressure treated “premium” pine decks. Wood was installed 7/1/19. Our decks are right on a fresh water river. A lot of moisture. Also, part of the day is full sun, maybe 4 hours. What type of stain and colors would you recommend?
See this for new wood tips: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
Paramount Semi Transparent stain faded within months on my cedar deck!
What is we don’t know what type of wood we have? It was already up when we bought the house.
Post a picture.
I have a place in Spain . Last year I stained my decking and within 6 weeks it started to peel . The heat is tremendous. Any ideas how to solve this problem please ?
Remove it all and start over with a deck stain that is penetrating, not film forming.
Should I pressure wash it then sand it down ?