The lifetime of a deck stain is determined by several different factors. Weather, climate, sun exposure, and foot traffic are some of the main factors that will determine the longevity of a deck stain. Out of these main key factors, sun exposure is probably one of the most damaging elements to a stain’s integrity. Harmful UV rays can break down the protecting elements of a wood stain in a season or two.
Most deck stains provide water protection but not all of them will provide UV protection. When exterior wood is exposed to the sun it becomes discolored and faded. The top layer of wood fibers turn gray as they are damaged by harmful UV radiation. One key element in the fight against sun damage can be the amount of pigment found in the stain. Color pigments will act like a sunscreen and provide a certain amount of sun protection.