This post was updated on January 25, 2024
Is it better to stain or seal a deck?
It is always better to stain a deck rather than just seal it. Clear deck sealers may protect against water but little else. It is better to use a semi-transparent penetrating deck stain because it will both seal the wood against moisture damage while also protecting against sun damage. The best semi-transparent penetrating deck stains are TWP, Armstrong Clark, and Restore-A-Deck.
Penetrating deck stains also wear more evenly and make it easy to reapply as needed. Clear sealers sit on top of the wood and can crack and peel, failing faster than the best deck stains. The fact they are clear also means that they do not offer UV protection.
More information on stain or seal a deck
- Best Deck Stain and Sealer
- Why Penetrating Deck Stains are Best
- Best Semi-Transparent Deck Stain Reviews
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.