Hardwood Deck Stains 4.9/5 (7)

This post was updated on May 2, 2022

Best Hardwood Deck Stains in 2022

DeckStainHelp.com continues to be the Internet’s go-to site for wood deck restoration tips throughout 2022. In this revised Hardwood Deck Stain article, we offer suggestions for how to care for your hardwood deck by applying a high-quality stain. If you have stained a hardwood deck, feel free to leave us a comment with pictures.

Top IPE and Exotic Hardwood Stain Ratings

1. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain

2. Armstrong Clark Wood Stain

3. Defy Hardwood/Cedar Stain

Hardwood Deck Stain Advice and Tips

Exotic Hardwood Deck Staining

Exotic Hardwood Deck Staining

There are many different types of wood used for decking material. While the most common is pressure-treated pine, some of the most beautiful are any of the exotic hardwoods. Woods such as Ipe, Redwood, Brazilian, Mahogany, Teak, and Pau Lupe are very sought after for deck owners looking for a gorgeous yet durable deck.

Hardwood decks, like other wood decks, are subjected to the elements and need to be protected with a deck stain or sealer. Hardwoods have different characteristics from more common wood types used in decking. As the name suggests, they are very hard or dense in nature. This means searching for the right deck stain when it comes to protection.

Because of the extreme density of an exotic hardwood special hardwood deck stains have been specifically designed with unique penetrating abilities. Regular types of deck stain lack the ability to penetrate the dense wood and will not perform well or last very long.

When looking for a hardwood deck stain look for special penetrating capabilities and one that is not prone to peeling. Special oils are used in hardwood stains that are able to dive into the dense hardwood and help condition the wood fibers. Without the penetrating ability, the stain would remain on top of the surface and would not provide any protection.

IPE and Hardwood Photos

A good hardwood deck stain will also be easy to clean and reapply as needed. Find an exotic wood stain that fades lightly in color as it wears and will not darken. All these characteristics along with high water repellency and enhanced beauty will give your hardwood deck the protection it needs.

Regular wood cleaning maintenance and stain applications will prolong the life of your hardwood deck. Follow these guidelines when choosing hardwood deck stains so the wood gets maximum protection and you get years of use from your exotic wood deck.

Need Help Choosing a Hardwood Decking Stain? Please Ask Below!

The Best IPE Hardwood Deck Stain Video – DeckStainHelp.com


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Wynn
Wynn
3 months ago

What is the best stain for a rough cut oak hardwood deck and what do I need to do to prep it

Wynn
Wynn
3 months ago

It’s new wood

Brian
Brian
4 months ago

I have a Sapele deck that I would like to stain in an orange tone, closer to a cedar tone. So far the stains I’ve sampled only amplify the natural color of the wood, a more reddish tone. Any suggestions in stains that would achieve this?

Rene Gastelum
Rene Gastelum
4 months ago

What is the best stain and/or finish on African Mahogany Exterior Steps that is close to the beach elements and won’t be slippery?

Steph
Steph
5 months ago

I have a teak deck, an IPE deck, and a Batu deck. Is there a single stain that I can use on all 3? I always thought I had to use teak-specific stain (from a marine store) but I haven’t been happy with the color and how it has held up over the last year.

Marie
Marie
5 months ago

What is the best stain for a mahogany deck?

Josh
Josh
5 months ago

Hi I’m building a deck and looking at a red balau unfinished deck board and a mahogany deck board that’s been dipped in sikkens stain I’m wondering which one would be a better option? Thanks

Josh
Josh
5 months ago

The color variations in the pre stained wood look better but I’m not sure if that’s just because it’s already stained. I guess my main question is, is it beneficial to have all sides coated or is it just as easy to lay down unfinished and coat it afterwards?

Jody Porter
Jody Porter
6 months ago

Looking for a deck stain for 15 year old mahagany that has been sanded down. Some boards ghave been replaced. Want natural look but not stripes with new boards. Should I go with semi transparent with color? Just dont want to loose natural mahagany look, and definately dont want an orange looking deck. Please advise and thanks!

Susan W
Susan W
6 months ago

I want to preserve my deck for as long as I can. I am hiring someone to sand and treat my deck and benches. He is going to sink the nails first. What kind of treatment, product would you think best? I do not know how old the deck is, but the house is 40 years old so I suppose it could be that old. I am glad I found your site and hope you can help.

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Susan
Susan
6 months ago

What is the best deck stain for mahogany that has been stained before? One that allows water to
“bead” up?

Charles Miller
Charles Miller
6 months ago

I have a 1200 sq. ft. deck covered in cumaru (800 sq. ft.) and purple heart (400 sq. ft.). Cumaru is 2 years old, stained 1 time and has darkened. Purple heart is 4 years old, stained 2 times and has darkened. I would like to lighten both woods and use a sealer that would hold up for more than 2 years if possible. Your input would be greatly appreciated and if affordable it will be followed. Thank you Charles Miller

Damon
Damon
1 year ago

Can you stain your deck kebony wood deck in the fall

Geoff Barrett
Geoff Barrett
1 year ago

What are the stain colors in the pics above on the site

Jeff
Jeff
1 year ago

I have a mahogany porch that I’ve used Defy Deck Stain for Hardwood in Pine. I have trouble doing the wet on wet 2 coat application as it dries so quickly. I also find that I have to wait at least 2 years before I can reapply the stain because the stain doesn’t adhere over the old coat until it’s very worn and I haven’t had much success with the stripper products that I used.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a better stain to use such as the Restore-A-Deck, Armstrong Clark or some other that is designed for an exotic hardwood such as mahogany? Thank you.

Carol & Rob
Carol & Rob
1 year ago

Hello,
Thanks for this site – great for folks like us who are new to staining. We have just had a new Mohagony porch put on our 100+ year-old Victorian. We are having difficulty deciding whether to use Ben Moore Translucent Natural or Translucent Mahogany stains. As I understand it, the Translucent “natural” is a clear stain, while Translucent Mahogany adds some dark stain color. We like the natural wood color and do not want to darken it. Right now, the new untreated wood looks a little washed out, probably because it’s dried out a bit. I’m wondering what you’d recommend doing to moisturize the wood without darkening it significantly while also protecting it from the weather.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carol & Rob
Ken Bw
Ken Bw
1 year ago

I am not sure what type wood this is or what I would need to use to protect or make uniform in color. I’m in New England so don’t mind the weathered gray look. Just need to treat / refresh so it looks more uniform.

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Pam
Pam
1 year ago

I have two mahogany porches with both horizontal floorboards/ stair treads and vertical railings and slats covering the under porch area as well as screen frames. After the porch was installed 15 years ago I used Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil doing the work myself. I hired a contractor approximately 5 years ago who insisted I use Benjamin Moore Semi Transparent stain which was applied with a sprayer snd back brushed. Some parts (railings and stair treads) have not weathered well and consequently are cracking. I now need to bring the deck back and do not want to use either one of those previous products. I am not sure where to begin and welcome your suggestions. Thank you!!

Michelle Jaeger
Michelle Jaeger
1 year ago

We had a beautiful IPE fence installed around our community pool. Sadly the installer did not seal the ends as we learned too late and he sub contracted a company to apply an “oil” finish I order to maintain the beautiful natural brown tones. As you see in the pictures from months ago the oil dripped down as well as terribly uneven. Please let us know how to fix this problem ? We do not want it to grey snd are willing to properly apply what is needed when needed but how do we get this mess back to square one? HELP!!

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Mark Bruckmann
Mark Bruckmann
1 year ago

What is the best clear sealer for a mahogany wood deck?

Mark Bruckmann
Mark Bruckmann
1 year ago

I do not mind if the deck turns gray. I just want to give the mahogany some protection. The deck is one year old and I am planning to powerwash it and then apply something. I am trying to figure out what to apply.

Bill
Bill
1 year ago

I have 5 month old ipe deck that weathered Ct. shoreline winter. I want to stain it. I’ve decided on Messmer but torn between natural and mahogany semi-transparent. I want to retain the natural color. I’ve read the natural will a) fade more quickly and b) won’t protect against silvering- which is the point. But I’ve also read that it does protect against silvering. Which is correct? Will the mahogany change the color forever?

Bill
Bill
1 year ago

Thanks!

Kern
Kern
1 year ago

Would you recommend for or against using Benjamin Moore Translucent stains on a mahogany deck?

Kern
Kern
1 year ago

Thank you for the reply, it is what I expected. So for mahogany decking are you recommending the Armstrong Clark or would I be better off with Penofin Oil? And how often you do recommend treating the deck which is full sun most of the day in the northeast.

Kern
Kern
1 year ago

I was getting ready to grab some Penofin and I was told that I can’t or maybe shouldn’t apply it to a deck that had been previously treated with another product. If it does have another product on it then I need to wash it and sand it down …. I really don;t want to go through sanding the deck down because it looks “fine” and just dry. Was the representative correct in telling me not to put Penofin down over a different product?

LARRY BERBERICH
LARRY BERBERICH
1 year ago

I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO PREP AND TREAT AN OUTSIDE DECK THAT WAS INSTALLED ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO. IT IS NOW DULL AND NEEDS SOME KIND OF TREATMENT TO BRIGHTEN UP. THANKS

John
John
2 years ago

I have a 25 year old mahogany deck in Portland , OR, stripped and brightened 6 weeks ago. No rain for 48 hours and forecast is for highs 50-51, lows 35-37, no rain next 72 hours. Should I let them sand and stain with Cabot’s oil-based Australian Timber Oil or wait for Spring?

Dominika
Dominika
2 years ago

Is it possible to achieve a chocolate color with Red Balau wood?

Dominika
Dominika
2 years ago

Thank you!

Debra Cochran
Debra Cochran
3 years ago

My mahogany deck is not new. It has been stripped, cleaned and brightened. I can’t decide between Armstrong Clark Semi-Transparent or Deckwise Ipe Oil Semi-transparent.? And how soon after rain and before it will rain ? One side gets sun most of the day.
I have to do this as soon as possible !

Scott Tucker
Scott Tucker
3 years ago

G’day
Just spent best part of a year building a Cumaru deck in Michigan only to have the Penofin penetrating rosewood oil the lumber yard recommended and sold to me fail after the first winter (looked very dry and blotchy).

I pressure washed and applied another coat in the spring hoping to recover (I got sold a number of tins with the Cumaru…). It then quickly went black in the summer which I was not expecting. Pressure washing helped get some of the black off but seemed to take the oil with it and did not get all the black off. West facing deck gets full sun in summer, horizontal surfaces are a joke after just a few months – summer or winter.

I used a deck cleaner product and gave it another pressure wash and then reapplied the last of the Penofin to make it look reasonable before an October party. Also started doing more research bringing me here. Penofin looks great out of the tin but it seems I’ve been riding a dead horse on this product and / or my prep and come next spring I want to start fresh.

How best can I reset from whats left of my Penofin mess and start again with a better prep and product?

I accept it will likely be a yearly maintenance thing but for that effort it should look reasonable coming up to 12 months, not blacken and ideally it would have a slight sheen to it when dry. What tint would you recommend to bring out the rich colors of Cumaru?

I’ve moved from Australia to the US and don’t recall these types of problems on various Merbau hardwood decks friends have built over there, granted they don’t get the same winters.

Thanks, Scott

Scotty
Scotty
3 years ago

I’m reading references to “cleaning” and “brightening” before using the stain. I have a very hard wood Brazilian deck that I have just finished thoroughly pressure washing. Can I just apply this Restore-A-Deck stain or do I need other products first?

Scotty
Scotty
3 years ago

To clarify, you are saying that I should use the RAD cleaner and brightener after having finished the pressure wash? Is there a time constraint between the pressure washing and the cleaning and brightening? I’m going to add some info here as well: The deck is ten years old and was stained three times with the last time being 5 years ago. The stain used before is unknown to me. The wood is so hard it breaks screws as it warps in the sun (not so much anymore but when it was first installed.)

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Scotty
Scotty
3 years ago
Reply to  Scotty

Here is a picture of the wood. This wood is so strong that the sun warped boards slightly when we first installed it and it broke screws. The deck is 10 years old, it’s been stained before about three times but it’s likely been 5 years since last staining. I can’t say what the last stain used was. 600 square feet. (Trying to answer the questions I’m seeing on other posts.)

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Joel Kaye
Joel Kaye
3 years ago

Hi, I have a hardwood fence rail that was stained 2 years ago with Flood Hardwood stain. I’m think of using Armstrong Clark stain this time. Is it necessary to sand the old stain before re-staining?

Joel Kaye
Joel Kaye
3 years ago

Thanks. Would I need to use a stripper or cleaner?

Jose Castro
Jose Castro
3 years ago

Hi. Have you reviewed the PENOFIN ARCHITECTURAL GRADE TMF HARDWOOD?

If so, please let me know your thoughts on this product. Thanks

Jeff
Jeff
2 years ago

So that’s a no? You haven’t tried or reviewed PENOFIN ARCHITECTURAL GRADE TMF or TMS HARDWOOD sealer? It isn’t a stain.. More of a sealer and is transparent. This is not the same as cheaper Penofin products. Looking for an honest review and looks like I need to keep looking

MAURICIO OSORIO
MAURICIO OSORIO
2 years ago

So, just for clarification, Has the team used the “Architectural” version of Penofin. Not the normal one. This is the $80 a gallon version with a 2-year guarantee. I’m seriously considering it, but haven’t seen any comparison/reviews of the Penofin Architectural Grade

Joey
Joey
8 months ago

I’m using Penofin TMF Hardwood (transparent matte finish) on my Cumaru deck today. I have Cumaru in my shower entry and the finish is amazing.

Gary W.
Gary W.
3 years ago

Can hardwood stains be used on pine and cedare?

Jonathan P Smith
Jonathan P Smith
3 years ago

We are gong to put up approx 700 sf of red balau shiplap siding in san diego approx .25 mi from ocean with heavy sun exposure. I have read that you recommend waiting a couple months before staining/sealing, but given that it will be installed vertically is there any tricks you recommend? Or do I just wait the 2 months clean and apply once it’s up?

Also, we are hoping to get a rich darker brown color (similar to ipe). Is there a color tint you recommend for the Balau?

Dave Motti
Dave Motti
3 years ago

What is best way to remove stain from mahogany deck?

Dave
Dave
3 years ago

Looking for a good deck oil/sealer for a new Balu mahogany deck. It’s got beautiful color and I’d like to keep it that way. I have yet to fasten it to the frame as I’d like to oil both sides. I’ve been told that ipe oil is a good product, but having never used it before I’m Leary as I got burned with a product once before…

Carol
Carol
3 years ago

We are having tongue and groove mahogany installed in a 3 season porch that does have heating/ac but it will only be heated when we are using the room. What type of sealer do you recommend for this application? We live in Massachusetts so it gets cold in the winter.

Mary
Mary
4 years ago

I have a new ipe deck that was just installed but the wood looks like it was in the lumbar yard for awhile. Would like to clean and brighten and sand lightly any areas that may need it and then stain. The deck is in Florida and gets full sun.

Is my prep process correct?
What are your thoughts on Penofin Architectural Stain for Hardwood?
What stain would you recommend?

Thank you

Tim Rudd
Tim Rudd
3 years ago

It seems you only have review for the penofin hardwood. Have you tried their architectural grade tsf or tmf? They quote much longer times between application than the brown cans.

Ronnie Thomson
Ronnie Thomson
4 years ago

Hi, We have a 3yr old mahogany deck. If we sand the deck do we need to use a cleaner and a brightener? Also what stain would you recommend. We live in Colorado and the deck faces west so we get strong sunlight most of the year as well as snow. Its a very dry climate. The stain we previously used is Cabot Australian Timber Oil. Attached is a photo of the deck’s current condition.

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Jeffrey D Thill
Jeffrey D Thill
4 years ago

Previous comment, Ridgewood was supposed to be Tiger Wood

Jeffrey D Thill
Jeffrey D Thill
4 years ago

7 year old Ridgewood deck needs refreshing. what is the best transparent penetrating stain to use on Tiger Wood?

DJ32
DJ32
4 years ago

Hi, Thank you for your extensive collection of articles educating consumers on the various options available in the stain and deck care space. We live in Connecticut and have a covered front porch and back deck both of mahogany.

Front porch is well protected from the elements and gets relatively little foot traffic and is in relatively good shape. The back deck gets sun , snow and everything in between and has been neglected resulting in cracks in some areas on the wood.

What preparation and hardwood stains do you recommend I use on these decks to preserve them and improve their resistance to wear and tear. The deck was last treated with Cabot Australian Timber Oil, do I need to strip the existing stain off before application of a new stain? If yes is it best to do this via light sanding or with a stain stripper product?

One of the products recommended to me was the “Duckback (now Sherwin Williams ) penetrating exotic hardwood stain” which I do not see a review of on your site. Do you have an opinion on this product. Look forward to your response.

-DJ

DJ32
DJ32
4 years ago

Thanks for the quick reply. I see that SuperDeck has very poor reviews on your site and the Cabot ATO is also reviewed as doing very poorly in the winter and snow which is something we have experienced first hand. Two questions

1) Is there an alternate stain that would work better under the conditions, as I mentioned we are in Connecticut and the back deck receives both snow and direct sun
2) What do you recommend for filling in the cracks/splinters on the back deck?

-DJ

Chris
Chris
4 years ago

Hi, I’m about to install a tongue & groove mahogany porch floor. I was thinking about using the penofin hardwood penetrating oil on all sides before installing it. Is there a better product to use for this application? Should I wait before installing it? The boards have been acclimating for a few months, but they’ve been covered. Thanks!

Marshall Meyer
Marshall Meyer
5 years ago

What wood sealer will provide protection but not overly darken my Batu deck and do I need to wait a period of time on a new deck?

Denise
Denise
5 years ago

Just installed ipe deck and would like to know the best product to get the “wet” look color. (The color it becomes after it rains) . I tested the Messmers in the natural color but it seems to make it a browner/darker tone. Is there any sealer that just enhances the color without actually staining it?

Denise
Denise
5 years ago

Thanks. I’ll look at it.

gg10
gg10
6 years ago

Hi!
I am installing a new deck in Batu hardwood. I am in Northern California, Oakland. Pretty much full sun exposure. I want to achieve a nice rich color and not let it fade to grey. Can you recommend the best product to use as well as how long I need to wait before applying? I thought I would be applying right away, but from reading comments here, it sounds like the wood needs to sit raw for awhile? Thank you so much for your help!

gg10
gg10
5 years ago

Thanks! So my contractor has not installed this type of decking material before and did not seal the end cuts as he was building the deck. After 1 month, I am already getting cracking on the ends of the boards. Is there any remedy to prevent further splitting? I am panicking that my deck is already failing and it isn't even complete. He wants to sand down the deck and apply the stain. Do we need to sand the new deck, or is the cleaner/brighter prep enough? Any help or advice is much appreciated! I want this deck to turn out beautiful and I am scared!

lhwozniak
lhwozniak
6 years ago

Hi there
We have just installed a new Batu (red balau) hardwood deck, Northern California East Bay Area, summers will have full sun exposure.
We were considering the Penofin hardwood oil but after reading some reviews are still searching.
-Is the 1st year application process the only key to avoiding the molding/blackening? As long as mildecide Is in stain will we avoid that issue?
-if our hardwood was already exposed to climate/air at local lumber yard is wait time before staining still 12 mos?
-we are awaiting railing and hoping to stain I'm about 3-4 weeks which will be about 1.5 months after install and now looking at Armstrong.
-any feedback on Storm #2 products also appreciated.

RJ Hanson
RJ Hanson
6 years ago

Somehow I can't seem to get logged in. Hopefully my question can be answered. We have teak outdoor furniture – table, 6 chairs and a couple of lounges. They are probably around 15 years old and to my knowledge have never been sealed or stained. I would like to stain them a gray but have no idea how to prep or what stain to use. I've ready so many articles on your sight I'm totally confused. Thanks for any help you can give

James
James
6 years ago

I have a dock on a fresh water lake with IPE as the decking material. What stain would folks recommend. I only visit the property a couple times a year, so I am looking for something that will require little maintenance.

Thanks.

Drew
Drew
7 years ago

My new mahogany back porch is just 7' square with surrounding steps down to grade – 3 steps. Now it's time to treat. The problem is the weather. It will be clear tomorrow, then 100% chance of rain the next day, then a week straight of clear days with highs in the 40's and 50's and lows in the 20's and 30's. Should I have him go ahead and treat? Also, I am hoping to bring out the color and protect from sun and snow. He purchased Messmer's UV Plus in Natural With Transoxide Pigment High Solids Formula. That's a mouthful, but is it a good choice? His helper tells me to get Sherman Williams.

Drew
Drew
7 years ago

Thanks. What do you mean by "clean and brighten for prep"? I could sweep off dust from construction, then keep it covered with plastic until the spring. Is that your advice?

Bill Norman
Bill Norman
7 years ago

Need to apply a water base exotic clear stain for African Rock Wood on the beach at Hilton Head, S.C. What should I use? It's about 15,000 square ft. Can I spray it or does it need to be applied w/a roller? Thank You, Bill

Mike Benner
Mike Benner
7 years ago

looking for stain recommendation for Mahogany deck restain. The deck has been sanded, only traces of the old finish is visable. I live in Oregon

Teri
Teri
7 years ago

Hello. I am located just north of Chicago and have a two tired teak deck surrounding an inground pool. Sides of deck are ipe. Deck was installed six years ago. It is mostly full sun. We have been getting away with prepping and reapplying stain every two years. The first year we used Messmers the other years Benjamin Moore Hardwood Stain in their "teak" color. What brand hardwood stain comes in the darkest color? Doubt it's available, but looking for almost an espresso color. Also, is it possible to "adjust" any brand of hardwood stain color? From reading through reviews and comments it looks like my best bet will be Armstrong Clark in the Mahogany color. A deep reddish tone would be ok just want to avoid anything orangish. Any advise?