Update on Deck Stains for 2024  4.7/5 (17)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

Deck Stain Types

Deck Stain Types

Deck Stains in 2024

What Deck Stains are new?

What Deck Stains really work?

What are the different Deck Stain types?

Today we will be reporting what’s new in the deck staining industry for 2024. Out three years ago is the Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent wood stain and two years ago was the Restore-A-Deck Solid Color Wood Stains. The Restore-A-Deck Wood Stains can be applied to damp wood, allowing for prep and stain to be completed on the same day. Restore-A-Deck Stain uses the latest in water-based wood staining technology to create a formula that allows for better UV protection, excellent penetration into the wood stain for long-lasting beautiful results, and the ability to apply to damp wood for single-day project completion. The Wood Stain comes in four radiant semi-transparent colors that highlight and enhance the natural wood grain.

Which stains really work? With the help of thousands of people who have completed deck stain projects over the years, we consistently see the same higher-quality stains outperforming lower-quality stains. Hands-down, semi-transparent wood stains seem to receive raving reviews as far as the quality and durability go. As always, be sure to choose a high-quality semi-transparent wood stain, as low-quality semi-transparent wood stains fail to penetrate the wood grain and make maintenance a pain. Click here to see the top 7 rated deck stains.

Here is a rundown of the different deck stain types that exist. We encourage you to do your own research to determine which type of deck stain will work the best for your project.

Deck Stains Types for 2024

Water-based deck stains

Environmentally friendly and abide by newer, stricter VOC regulations. They are easier to clean up. However, they tend to be a little more difficult to apply. The top water-based deck stains are Restore A Deck Stain and the Defy Extreme. Both offer superior penetration over other water-based stains.

Oil-based deck stains

Provide excellent penetration into the wood and are more natural-looking. They may come at a cost in that they can promote mildew growth in some areas as they take longer to dry. The best oil-based stains will offer mildewcides to prevent or stop the growth of mildew and mold. Examples: TWP Stains and Armstrong Clark Stains

Deck Resurface coats

Similar to a thick paint. They can provide excellent UV protection and fill cracks if it actually works. If selecting a Deck Resurface Stain, keep in mind that most users have had a bad experience with products from Home Depot and Lowes.  While the majority of comments and user experiences reported are negative,  the Gulf Synthetics Deck Revive has been favorable.

Solid Decking Stains (opaque)

Cover the wood grain completely, providing excellent UV protection. At the same time, they film on the wood, do not penetrate well, and require sanding and scraping to remove.

When using a solid stain. See this article: Best Solid Color Deck Stains

Semi-Solid Stains

Show a small amount of wood grain and provide very good UV protection. Oil-based semi-solid versions provide superior penetration. The best semi-solids stains are made by Armstrong Clark which is a deep penetrating oil-based stain.

Our Top Picks are Semi-Transparent Stains

These stain types allow the wood grain to show and if they truly soak into the wood grain, reapplying is easier down the road. See Top 6 rated deck stains

Transparent Wood Sealers

Stains are very easy to apply & reapply and are natural-looking. They provide lower than average UV protection

Clear Wood Deck Finishes

They do not change the appearance of your deck and are easy to apply. However, they gray and oxidize in months. These are great if you want to seal and protect the wood but want the wood to gray naturally. The Defy Extreme Clear and the TWP 1500 Series in Clear work well for this.

Non-Drying Oil vs. Drying Oil-Based Stains

Drying oils are curing oils that seal the wood. Non-drying oils never dry and penetrate the surface of the wood to help condition the wood.

We want to hear your input. What works for you? Do you have any deck stain news? Comment below.

The Different Types of Deck Stains Video – DeckStainHelp.com

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author avatar
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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Lee
Lee
3 years ago

I have a large irregular shaped older but in good shape cedar wood deck that is elevated at a second floor height. I have composite hand rail system around the deck and numerous steps with the composite hand railing whose lower rung sits directly on the steps making application of stain tricky. The outside of the deck is wrapped in painted wood also making staining difficulty around the railing (no room for error.) I used Cabot cleaner and brightener to clean and prep the deck. I was going to apply Cabot Australian Timber Oil until I read all the negative reviews on it. Since I live in Indiana, I considered TWP 1500, but am concerned about being able to do the wet on wet application due to the large and irregular shaped deck and the numerous cut outs I needed to do with the steps and the area ordering the house. That plus my inexperience in applying the stain. What are your recommendation for a product to use. I thought the Clark Armstrong would be a good choice if available in IN. I do appreciate your thoughts. Consumer report had recommended Behr Premium but it looks like that has not held up well in your experience.
I am unfortunately slow and meticulous. The deck has always been professionally stained in the past and I was doing this to help my son earn money, but fear I may have bitten off ore than I can chew. i appreciate your recommendation.

Trish
Trish
3 years ago

30 yo pt Deck with Behr solid acrylic redwood deck stain. Spindles and rails some peeling, floor to me needs sanding to bare. Hasn’t been redone in several years. I’d like to use a semi-transparent on the floor, and thinking touch up sand and go back with the Behr on the 150+ spindles and railing. Was thinking either Restore a Deck or AC on the floor. Does that make sense? Upstate NY winters. Do I sand first or clean then sand- clean- brighten? Ordered RAD for prep.

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Trish
Trish
3 years ago

Thank you. Can I use RAD solid on the rails even if I can’t take those down to bare? The RAD cypress matches as I had them send me a sample.

Trish
Trish
3 years ago

Great, thank you. I will go that route.

ronald goldman
ronald goldman
4 years ago

My house has tongue in groove clear cedar siding which has been treated in the past with TWP products. This caused a change from the lovely golden color to a dark brownish color. The contractor said there was no alternate to the color change. The TWP product did give long time protection. I need to retreat the wood as its now very dry. What product would you suggest? Can I lighten the current dark color in the process?

Cindy
Cindy
4 years ago

I live in Clarkston Michigan. My cedar deck is 4 years old and it has been stained twice with a oil based semi transparent Flood’s stain, last done May 2018. The deck is on the North side of the house. Did not even hold up through one season. My home is a cedar log home with similar stain on it and that is wearing fine so was trying to get the deck to match the house. Staining a deck every year is not my cup of tea but if I have to, it is what it is and I would like to know what product to use. I have also considered power washing all the stain off or let it finnish wearing off and let it age and be grey, I do have grey stone
fireplace on deck wall so might not look that bad.

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Scot
Scot
5 years ago

Stripping and staining.
Older wood with new wood railing
Faded stain on deck greyed wood never stained on rails.
Switching to new stain and color.
Believe the current is Olympic maximum semi trans oil.
No mold.
Previous is 4-5 years old and faded.
I have a lot of galvanizedu wire and panels for railing and want to make sure the strippers or prep wont harm those materials.

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Jessica Rainey
Jessica Rainey
5 years ago

I have 1600 sq ft wrap around porch that is 15 years old. The wood spindles and rails don’t look like they have ever had anything on them. The wood floor seems to have a semi transparent stain (what’s left of it). I have cleaned it with a bleach and water combo. I was thinking of putting a semi solid stain on the floor. Can I use the same stain on the spindles and rails? HELP! I’m in way over my head. What do you recommend?

Jessica Rainey
Jessica Rainey
5 years ago

Is there a semi solid stain that is white?
For the.spindles.

Patrick Merrigan
Patrick Merrigan
5 years ago

Would like to know your collective opinion of the Penofin products. Specifically the Ultra Premium (Redwood). I realize that you do NOT always “get what you pay for”, but I see that this particular product is $47 per gallon in my local hardware store. Thank you.
Note: …my 6 questions on deck info posted a few days ago.

Veronica Ann Thompson
Veronica Ann Thompson
5 years ago

My deck is old and we have had to do some repairs. As such, it will be necessary to use a solid stain. What company or companies do yu recommend for solid stain. I could not find any on this page

Joe Ryan
Joe Ryan
5 years ago

Hi, what are your thoughts on Cutek CD50 oil for a new mahogony deck?
Thanks!

Chet Jenkins
Chet Jenkins
5 years ago

Hello…we live on the (rain) coast in the Pacific Northwest.
We will be staining a cedar fence with pressure treated 4 x 4 posts.
When it comes to selecting a stain would you recommend using an oil based product over a water based one…or does it matter.
Most informative web site !
Thank you very much for your insight.

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