A wood deck can be subjected to tough weather conditions. Deck floors are subjected to the excessive friction caused by heavy foot traffic. Because the flooring and tops of the handrails are horizontal surfaces, they are more exposed to harmful UV rays and moisture than the vertical surfaces of the deck. This constant moisture followed by drying out, along with fluctuating temperatures causes the wood to expand and contract almost daily. This constant swelling and shrinking can result in cracking, splitting, and splintering.
To prevent damage to the wood, it’s necessary to block out the sun’s damaging UV rays and to prevent moisture from penetrating the wood. Applying a quality deck stain to the wood is the best level of protection. Deck stains do require maintenance every couple of years but you’ll get many more years of life out of your deck.
Deck stains are generally listed under one of two categories. Film forming stains like primers, deck paints, and heavily pigmented stains are in one group. These stains protect the wood by leaving a coat or film on top the surface. They are normally time intensive and expensive to maintain due to their nature. Some common problems with film-forming deck stains are cracking, flaking, and peeling.
Penetrating deck stains are commonly semi-transparent to semi-solid in opacity. They penetrate into the wood rather than forming a film on top. A penetrating deck stain is not susceptible to the cracking, flaking, and peeling that a film forming stain is.
Oil-based penetrating deck sealers do an incredible job of shielding the wood against harsh conditions. These particular types of deck stain will simply fade over time making them much easier and affordable to maintain. They are offered in different colors and tones to suit your needs but still allow the beauty of the wood grain to show through.
No matter your choice of deck stain, it’s more important that you are protecting the wood as it will increase the longevity of your deck.