Hardwood Deck Stains – Find Pro Contractor Reviews  4.9/5 (8)

This post was updated on May 14, 2024

I am Scott Paul, a leading exterior restoration contractor and business owner with over 30 years of experience in exterior hardwood restoration. My reviews and help tips are based on my history as a wood restoration contractor and actual hands-on testing, all designed to present you with the top product choices. See here for more info about me.

Best Hardwood Deck Stains in 2024

Hi! My DeckStainHelp.com remains the Internet’s go-to site for wood deck restoration tips throughout 2024. In this revised Hardwood Deck Stain article, I offer suggestions for caring for your hardwood deck by applying a high-quality stain. If you have stained a hardwood deck, feel free to leave me a comment with pictures.

My Pro 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 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. This means searching for the right deck stain when it comes to protection.

My Top IPE and Exotic Hardwood Stain Ratings

1. Restore-A-Deck Hardwood Stain

2. Armstrong Clark Wood Stain

3. TWP Natural Effect Hardwood Stain Review

Because exotic hardwoods are incredibly dense, special hardwood deck stains have been designed explicitly with unique penetrating abilities. Regular deck stain lacks this ability and will not perform well or last long.

When looking for a hardwood deck stain, look for one with exceptional penetrating capabilities and one not prone to peeling. Special oils are used in hardwood stains that penetrate dense hardwood and help condition the wood fibers. Without the penetrating ability, the stain would remain on top of the surface, providing no protection.

IPE and Hardwood Photos

My Hardwood Decking Prep Tips

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. These characteristics, along with high water repellency and enhanced beauty, will give your hardwood deck the protection it needs.

For Prep, we use a deck stain stripper to remove an old coating of a different brand or a deck cleaner to maintain the stain brand and color. Afterward, we make sure to use a brightener to neutralize the cleaner or stripper on all wood.

I have found that 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.

My Hardwood Stain Application Tips

Once you have properly prepped the wood and found the exotic hardwood deck stain, it is time to apply it. It’s best to use a stain pad or a flooring push brush for application. These tools allow us to “push” it into the wood. After the stain sits on the wood for a few minutes, it’s important to wipe away any excess stain that has gathered on the surface. Not doing so will result in a “sticky” appearance and conditions that will cause the hardwood stain to fail before it should.

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

My IPE Hardwood Deck Stain Video – DeckStainHelp.com

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

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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.

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gjgreenville
gjgreenville
1 month ago

I stripped / brightened my deck 2 years ago then stained with TWP 100 redwood. I then cleaned and brightened 1 year ago and applied TWP 100 redwood. I just ordered and received a 5 gallon bucket of TWP 100. I now learned that my deck is IPE wood (I didn’t know that). I read you don’t recommend TWP 100 on IPE. Should I return the stain, and use restore-a-deck?

Gjgreenville
Gjgreenville
1 month ago

Pics attached; it is dirty, have not yet cleaned this spring

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Gjgreenville
Gjgreenville
1 month ago

Thx! Will stay w TWP. Last question: after using cleaner is it still recommended to use brightner on hardwood before re-staining?

Mark
Mark
8 months ago

I am building a new deck out of White Oak, what is the best stain to use for that type of wood, I would prefer clear so as to maintain the natural beauty of the wood. Also will the wood be ok if it Is not treated with any copper based type preservatives, like in the pressure treat process. And what about the wood prep process, my plan is to run the boards through my plainer because they are rough sawn , do I need to sand them afterwards, and if so what grit paper ??

Dave Rob
Dave Rob
10 months ago

Oil-based TWP1500 vs. water based Restore-a-deck. Which to choose?
IPE deck, Northern California, mild winter, sunny summer. Deck exposed to bright morning sun. Never stained, weathered for 2 years. Cleaned and sanded, 40grit, with hand orbital sander. I’ll clean & brighten before application.

Bill Harr
Bill Harr
11 months ago

Hi, We have used TWP 1501 Cedartone on our Brazilian redwood deck in the past. We live in Denver, CO and the deck gets eastern morning sun. We are thinking we need to re-apply (it has been 3 years since last finishing). Attached are pictures. Questions: 1. Do you still feel that TWP is the best finish for our situation? 2. should we expect to have to re-apply every year given our climate? 3. If so, how should we prepare the deck for re-application? We assume we should wash it but do we need the stripper and brightener as well? 4. Do you recommend sanding prior to re-application? Thank you, Bill

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Bill Harr
Bill Harr
11 months ago

Thanks Scott. We have some left over Gemini Restore Kit and TWP 1501 Cedartone from the last time we finished the deck 3 years ago. What is the shelf life of these products and can we use them before going on to a new can? Thank you in advance, Bill

Bill Harr
Bill Harr
9 months ago

I’m going to apply steps 1 and 2 of the Gemini restore a deck. Do I need to protect the stucco on the side of the house, or metal storm doors, from contact with the cleaner or brightener? I have seen directions for completing steps 1 and 2, but I can’t seem to find them on your website. Can you share a link if you have one? Thanks, Bill

Lisa
Lisa
1 year ago

How to remove mold in the wood veins. Should we sandblast the outdoor wood walls before using the oil ?

Wynn
Wynn
1 year 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
1 year ago

It’s new wood

Brian
Brian
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year ago

What is the best stain for a mahogany deck?

Josh
Josh
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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
2 years 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
2 years 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
2 years ago

Can you stain your deck kebony wood deck in the fall

Geoff Barrett
Geoff Barrett
2 years ago

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

Jeff
Jeff
2 years 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
2 years 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 2 years ago by Carol & Rob
Ken Bw
Ken Bw
2 years 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
2 years 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
2 years 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
2 years ago

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

Mark Bruckmann
Mark Bruckmann
2 years 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
3 years 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
3 years ago

Thanks!

Kern
Kern
3 years ago

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

Kern
Kern
3 years 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
3 years 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?

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