Some might think that a deck sealer and a deck stain are basically the same thing but in all actuality, they are two different products. They both share the same purpose in general, to preserve and protect wood but there are same major differences. Most people use sealers or stains to protect exterior wood from the elements. Surfaces such as decks, wood siding, fences, and so on need a protective coating to keep from weathering so fast.
A deck sealer is typically a clear or transparent finish that either penetrates into the wood or forms a clear film on top. It helps to lock out moisture and reduce water intrusion. Unwanted moisture can lead to fungal growth and wood rot so it is crucial in reducing the chances of jeopardizing the wood’s longevity. A deck sealer, however, will not protect from sun damage. UV rays can be very harmful to exterior wood. Prolonged and unprotected exposure to sunlight can lead to graying and fading. It also dries up the wood’s natural oils causing cracking and splitting. So although a deck would benefit from a deck sealer by repelling moisture, it will still turn gray and become sun damaged.
A deck stain has the same water resistant qualities that a deck sealer does. A deck stain, however, has added pigment or tone, which gives the stain some color. The opacity of the stain can vary from solid to semi-transparent but it will still have added color even if it is partially transparent. This added pigment gives the stain UV blocking abilities to help reduce sun damage. The darker the color, or the more pigment added, the more sun protection the stain will provide. With stain, there are many different shades and tones to choose from such as natural, cedar, walnut, or redwood. Choosing the perfect tone and opacity can really help enhance the natural beauty of the wood while providing adequate water and UV protection.