This post was updated on January 18, 2023
Deck Stain Colors – Updated Spring 2023
Choosing a new deck stain color is not an easy decision, and there are a few things to consider before you start staining. We have put together this handy guide on the most popular deck stain colors to help you decide which is best for you.
Before we look at the colors, we can talk about a few of the main types of deck stains: transparent, semi-transparent and solid color stains and the pros and cons of each one.
- Transparent stains provide a clear finish that will show the most amount of your deck’s natural wood grain without altering the color. Minimal to no (clear sealers) UV protection.
- Solid color stains will cover your deck surface completely and the natural grain will not show through. They are prone to peeling since they dry on top of the wood.
- Semi-transparent stains offer the best of both worlds approach that enhances the wood’s natural beauty and changes the color. They offer have less chance or peeling and are easier to redo as needed.
What are the most popular deck stain colors?
Cedar Tones and Semi-Transparent Colors
Cedar is by far one of the most popular deck colors and will fit on any deck and in any garden. As a rule, it is wise to take the most dominant color in your yard and work from there but with cedar, it is hard to go wrong. The color is not too dark for warm summer days and is perfect for those cozy winter evenings.
Brown Tones and Semi-Transparent Colors
Sometimes brown gets an unfair reputation as an unimaginative or dull shade. When you know what you’re doing with this color, it can really shine in your garden. It’s important to note that when using a brown deck stain, it should be paired with lighter and brighter color furniture and accessories to bring out its rich natural qualities. If you find the perfect match, then you will have a gorgeous, aesthetically pleasing deck.
Honey Tones and Semi-Transparent Colors
Honey is a light tone that will augment the natural look of the grain on your deck. This color deck stain is popular in places that have year-round sunshine, as regular rain can cause it to turn dark and dull. Use this color wisely if you live in an area that is prone to showers or the close to the coast, or consider investing in a gazebo to help protect the color.
Redwood Tones and Semi-Transparent Colors
Similar to other darker shades of deck stains, redwood should be paired with light colors to accentuate its beautiful ruby undertones. Alternatively, people who select a semi-transparent redwood stain are in luck as the softer shade allows you to see the intricate wood beneath and work comfortably with any color palette.
This striking color will last for many years when properly cared for but can fade to an iron-grey if allowed to weather so be careful to protect and maintain your deck as required.
Consider using a color chart when choosing a new deck stain. These handy tools help by showing you which colors fit best with those that are already present in your garden. With some deliberation, you will find the perfect fit.
Deck Stain Photo Color Ideas
Most popular/longest lasting deck stain colors?
Deck Stain Help & Questions
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.
Had my deck staned in a Semi transparent with a SW color. I believe it went on to thick and now peeling off. House is red brick open any suggestions and help.
That is not a semi-transparent but a solid stain. You will have to use a solid stain again unless you want to power sand it all off as you cannot strip that fully off.
Sorry correct it is a semi solid. So can it be used just Stained over again same color.
You have a solid stain, not semi-solid in appearance. You can use any brand of solid stain that you like and color: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/what-are-the-best-solid-color-deck-stains/
I have a deck stained 1 year ago with Clark Anderson Stain- it is a dark color and i have dog and other scratches. We want to sell our home and not resand and stain it all over again since it is over 2000 sq feet- its huge. I just want to fix scratches by fading them into the color. I do not want to make the deck any darker, do I apply a very light stain to fade the scratches? Ive researched and read everwhere that you cant.
You cannot fade scratches so it blends.
Can you please tell me the color of this fence
Not sure as that is not one of our pictures so we do not know the brand or color.
Hi! Great article, thank you for all the useful information. Could you tell me the name of these two colors?
On mobile, if you click the “I” in the top right corner, it will tell you the color and product name.
Excellent! Thank you so much!
What name is this colour
Hi, half of our deck is open and half is a covered screen porch with a roof. The open deck and stairway was refaced with new pressure treated pine about 3 years ago and has not been stained yet. Cannot tell when the porch was last stained by the prior owners but the wood is much much older. How can I minimize the color variations in the two sections after staining – currently considering a semi-transparent stain in cedar, pecan or maybe redwood, but willing to go to a mid brown like rustic if going to a darker color like that will help in minimizing color variations between newer and older wood. Don’t want it to turn out to be too dark though – ie like black walnut etc. Thanks!
Post pictures of both areas in comments.
Pictures attached (some of the support posts are newer as well)
Just use a quality deck cleaner and brightener like the Restore A Deck products for prep. It should blend after.
We have a cedar deck installed less than a year ago. It looks very clean there has been no use or furniture on it. We live in the north and it had snow on it . It is a bit grayer than brand new but not too bad. Does it need to be cleaned before staining? It does not look dirty.
Clean and brighten. See for tips: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/how-long-should-you-wait-to-stain-a-new-deck/
Can you stain over a semi clean deck?
It will look bad if not prepped correctly and could be issues with adhesion as well.
What about if you are in an area that has a lot of freeze and thaw ,and Usually a lot of snow ?
Penetrating stains would be best for this: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/best-semi-transparent-deck-stain-reviews/
I have a deck which is i think color stained. I would love to color stain it black. Its a screened lanai with rails on the ouside.
There are no true black stain colors. Closest would be the TWP 1504 Black Walnut or the Armstrong Clark in Black Walnut.
My house is olive smudge which is dark green, which deck stain would look the best?
Color preference is 100% your choice.
is it better to stain or paint a outdoor deck after its been sanded? what’s the best to use?
See this for tips: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/the-5-best-deck-stain-reviews-and-ratings/
Images of blue painted concrete decking for an Inground concrete pool with existing blue tile trim
What about sage green on my deck to match my shutters?
You will need a solid stain to custom mix this.
Can you recoatca semi transparent over a solid color?
Isthis a 5 star paint
Recommendations for a deck that has cured for 13 months. Wanting a semi-transparent, oil-based, color grey. Thx for any suggestions.
Try Armstrong Clark in Driftwood Gray or Restore A Deck in Cottage Gray.
You recommend certain stains for decks that have cured for 1-3 months, but what about decks that have cured for 12 months? I am looking for a semi-transparent oil-based grey. Any suggestions? Thx!
We want to stain our front porch an opaque color by Flood. They have an online color chart of their more than 100 colors, but it’s hard to determine the undertones by looking at something online. Our house is pale yellow with a light blue door and there’s a column of tan bricks with a dark gray mortar along the porch. For the porch apron/skirt, the deck and the treads of the stairs, I am going to choose either a muted off-black opaque stain OR something lighter from the gray family. For the railings and risers of the steps, I’m going with white.
Whether I choose a lighter gray or an off-black stain, I don’t want to wind up with any weird purple, pink, blue or green undertones. Instead I’m looking for a brown undertone. Do you happen to know which of Flood’s opaque colors have brown undertones?
Last, which color would you choose–the muted black (think charcoal) or a lighter gray. There are now lots of plants in front of house (the entire lawn has been replaced with a garden) so I was thinking that an off-black might help the flowers pop, as well as making the pale yellow look a bit more yellow but I also think that a lighter gray might feel more airy.
Sorry, but we do not know their colors that well. We like gray over black. Grays are very popular.
Thanks! If we go with a black, it will be a muted, off-black (as close to Benjamin Moore’s Wrought Iron as possible), which I think would help anchor the house (it’s a small apron) and set off the flowers in front, but I am leaning more toward an airier gray. I just have to find one with a brown undertone to mach that porch column.
Which opaque deck stains do you recommend? I’m leaning toward Flood only because it has a lot of colors to choose from and I can pick it up at Menard’s. I was also considering at Deck Restore but they have only very limited colors.
See here for the best solid stain brands: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/what-are-the-best-solid-color-deck-stains/
Hi, we are staining our pressure treated deck for the first time. We have read that solid stain lasts the longest but have also read that it can chip/peel off. Wondering your thoughts on durability between solid and semi-tesnsparent stains?
Also, hoping for some color advice. Our house is a greenish-gray. My husband wants to do a gray deck, not sure if that will look good?
See this about new wood: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
Use a penetrating semi-transparent. They make gray colors.
You shouldn’t stain a new deck with a solid.
I have a summerhouse which I have painted using Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 plus, satin Rosewood. I have decking around the summerhouse, but so far, nothing has been done to it, either by way of staining or painting.
I’m looking for suggestions as to which colour I should stain the decking, (this is my preferred choice), as I have no idea what will go well with the Rosewood colour of the summerhouse.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
We are not familiar with Sikkens colors but really you can go with any color you like. It does not have to match the house.
Looking for a stain color for my cessation post railing. I also have a BBQ deck off the side of my house. You can see both from front of yard. So both will have to match. House is taupe and tan trim. Have Kansas rock wall around front with pine tree and grease. Going for natural look .
You will need a solid stain: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/what-are-the-best-solid-color-deck-stains/
I have a brand new deck and want the most natural look what color should I use. My house is cream, brown shutters and a dark red front door.
See here about new wood: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
After wait and prep, try Restore A Deck in Natural or Armstrong Clark in Amber.
Trying to find a good brown from Benjamin Moore. Tried Potters Clay and it leans too pink
Sorry but we do not use the Arborcoat due to numerous problems with the stain: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/tag/benjamin-moore-arborcoat/
That was not my question. Any color recommendations in general more brown than that color? I love Benjamin Moore.
We did answer your question. We do not use the BM Arborcoat as it has major issues so we do not know their colors to give any proper advice on what color to use.
You may love it but many or most have had serious issues with it.
I’m having a hard time to choosing a color for our deck. Our house is a reddish brick with red Mortar. Please see attached photos. I would greatly appreciate your opinion
You will need to power sand off your current stain first. Try Armstrong Clark in Sierra Redwood color when done.
With red brick, I like lighter colors. Something in the tan family.
We’re looking at the Defy Semi-transparent Natural for a new redwood deck as we would like the natural grain to come through. Is semi-transparent ‘Natural’ color basically clear? Does Natural color have as much UV protection as a darker color?
It is not clear but tinted. Similar to a clean wet look. it does have decent UV protection like the other colors.
We just noticed that Defy Extreme doesn’t have a ‘Natural’ color, but have a semi-transparent called ‘Crystal Clear’. Is that the same as ‘Natural’. Will it have the same UV protection as a tinted color?
You would want their Natural Pine, not the clear. Clear will not provide the same UV protection.
We’re torn between the Natural TWP 1530 or the Defy Extreme Natural Pine. Do you have a preference? This is for a new redwood deck, on a flat roof where it gets a lot of rain and sun exposure.
Either would work. The Natural in TWP will be darker in color than the Defy Natural Pine. see this article for new wood tips: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
Go with TWP. We just stripped Defy off of our huge deck because it didn’t last in our rainy climate. In the past I’ve used TWP and liked it. The TWP 100 series is also recognized as a wood preservative. Also, do not apply wet on wet for either product. It will not absorb into the wood and instead will set on top.