Types of Deck Stains 2024  4.9/5 (28)

This post was updated on February 23, 2024

Different Types of Deck Stains in 2024

We appreciate our community of deck stain enthusiasts here at Deckstainhelp.com as we continue to add content and serve as your go-to source for the latest in deck restoration news and trending topics through 2024. In this article, we talk about the different categories of deck stains and what sets them apart. As always, comments are encouraged below.


Many people ask what types of deck stains are available when curious about deck care and maintenance. Deck stains, in general, are for preserving and protecting exterior wood. They provide water repellency, UV protection, reduce fungal growth, and enhance the natural beauty of the wood. In 2024, deck stains come in several types of opacity levels all having pros and cons.

Solid Deck Stains 2024

A coat of a solid deck stain completely hides the wood grain by creating a heavily pigmented film on the surface similar to paint. These come in any color imaginable and are available in both water-based and oil-based formulas.

Pros: Superb UV protection due to so much pigment

Cons: Do not penetrate well and are prone to peeling. Little chance of ever going back to natural wood look. It looks like paint. Hard to apply and prone to peeling.

Semi-Solid Deck Stains 2024

A semi-solid deck stain also contains a high amount of pigment but not as much as a solid. You will see a small amount of wood grain through a semi-solid. For whatever reason semi-solids are limited by manufacturers.

Pros: Good UV protection

Cons: Water-based versions do not penetrate as well as oil-based. Similar to thin paint only a small amount of wood grain will show through. Hard to strip off.

Semi-Transparent Deck Stains 2024

This type of stain gives the most enhancing appearance. They contain just enough pigment to enhance the natural beauty of the wood grain. Although they will not last as long they are easier to maintain.

Pros: Easy to apply and maintain. It gives a natural appearance. Enhances wood grain. Available in different tones.

Cons: Less UV protection than more solid stains. More frequent maintenance. Typically only available in oil-based version.

Transparent Deck Stains 2024

The most natural-looking deck stains are the transparent stains as they contain very little pigment. They will allow wood graying quicker and typically only last a year.

Pros: Super easy to apply. Gives a natural appearance.

Cons: Very little UV protection. Only lasts about a year before needing a recoat.

Clear Deck Stains 2024

Clear deck stains offer almost no UV protection but look the most natural because they do not alter the appearance of the wood. They are typically used as a sealer as opposed to a stain.

Pro: Does not alter the appearance. User-friendly and very easy to apply.

Cons: Does not protect against wood graying. Wears off quickly and needs to be recoated more frequently.

The Different Types of Deck Stains Video – DeckStainHelp.com

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author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993
#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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Moira Griffin
Moira Griffin
2 years ago

In general, and I live in Raleigh, NC area, how often is it recommended to restain deck if using a semi transparent oil based stain? Deck gets morning shade and late afternoon sun. Thanks!! The above article was enlightening!

Mike
Mike
3 years ago

Who makes a high quality semi solid wood stain for a deck?

Lisa
Lisa
3 years ago

Can u put a light solid color deck stain over a dark color deck stain

Anthony
Anthony
3 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

Yes. Think of solids as paint

Jodi Dube
Jodi Dube
4 years ago

We currently have a deck base with Behr Transparent Waterproofing wood finish and the rails have Behr semi transparent waterproofing wood stain. If we didn’t want to keep doing the base every year, would you recommend going over the transparent with a semi transparent? If so what brand would you recommend?

Thank you

Jodi
Jodi
4 years ago

We used a pressure washer but not quite everything is gone. Why would we have to remain with same brand?

Julie
Julie
5 years ago

If I previously used Superdeck solid stain (latex based I believe) and I am now re-staining (6 years later after scraping, cleaning, but not totally removing), can I apply the Flood Solid Stain oil based? Or do I need to stick with the Latex/water based solid stain? If the latter, would you still recommend th Flood Water-based solid stain over others? Thank you!

Julie
Julie
5 years ago

Hi. Thank you for the quick reply, but I need clarification: I was asking which option? Can I put oil based solid stain over water based solid stain?

Jaime patterson
Jaime patterson
6 years ago

Hello. I am staining a cedar playset. It was stained maybe 10 years ago from the previous owner. I powerwashed and sanded to get most of the stain off minus a few areas. What stain do you recommend? I feel like I have to use a solid stain bc of the areas that still have stain on them but I’m nervous that it will peel. And also what brand do you recommend? Thank you!

Peggy Miller
Peggy Miller
6 years ago

If I don’t know what was applied to the deck previously and it has now been damaged by a hail storm, how do I determine what to apply now?

Peggy Miller
Peggy Miller
6 years ago

Here are three pictures:

deck 1.jpg
deck 2.jpg
deck3.jpg
Pete Carney
Pete Carney
6 years ago

I have big beautiful deck i built myself. After 2 years building pressure treated i cleaned and started with oil toner. Every year or every other big clean and restain. After about 8 years the sun exposed wood was cracking andfading compared to covered part that was almost like new. Went semi trans oil for more color and protection. Mixed results
Sun drenched areas peeled and pitted and started to rot in areas. We unscrewed and flipped all damaged boards. Huge job. Now have small area of covered semi trans and large area of new or flipped boards. Thinking solid now for protection and matching. Rails still only seen toner.
Thinking 2 tone. So many variables. Help.

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