Why Choose a Water Based Deck Stain 5/5 (5)

by Deck Stain Help

Updated February 2020

Why Choose a Water-Based Deck Stain in 2020

Here at DeckStainHelp.com we take pride in the fact that our customers come to us for the latest in deck restoration news and trending topics. New in 2020 is further confirmation that choosing a semi-transparent, water-based stain really is the best overall choice to enhance your deck’s natural wood grain. Like years before, our customers who have used Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain wood and deck stain continue to be satisfied by the appearance and longevity of their deck stain projects. We appreciate your input. If you have used a water-based stain, feel free to leave a comment below and pictures of your completed projects if you have them.

When it comes to choosing a deck stain there are a lot of things to consider like how well it is going to protect the deck and what the final finish might look like. In general, there are two basic types of deck stains, oil-based and water-based. Some people have a preference. For example, oil-based stains have been around the longest so many consumers trust that type of stain. However, with more recent concerns with our environment, many people have been looking in the way of a quality water-based deck stain. This may only be one reason why someone might choose a water-based deck stain.

New groundbreaking technology has taken water-based deck stains to the top to compete with, and in some cases outperform oil-based stains. In addition to being eco-friendly, water-based deck stains like Defy Extreme utilize nanoparticle technology combined with high-grade resins to block the sun’s destructive UV rays preventing graying and fading. This is unheard of with a tinted wood finish and is a first in the stain industry. Water-based stains also prevent water penetration, which may lead to structural damage and costly repairs. In addition, a stain like Defy uses a zinc additive that naturally resists fungal growth preventing discoloration and wood decay.

Water-based deck stains are easy to work with and user-friendly. They come in a wide variety of natural tones and colors. They are fairly priced, which helps reduce the deck maintenance budget. They clean up with soap and water and are compliant in all 50 states due to low VOC formulas. Choosing a water-based deck stain is an easy decision that will lead to a long-lasting beautiful finish that will compete with all tinted wood stains including oils.

Top Water-Based Stain Ratings

1. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain
2. Defy Extreme Stain
3. Defy Hardwood/Cedar Stain

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Sam Vest
Sam Vest

How long will a water based deck stain last? How does this compare to oil based deck stains (assume similar conditions)? What is invoked in re-coating a water based stain?

AJ San Diego
AJ San Diego

Which water based stain would you recommend for a new rough sawn redwood pergola? Lots of direct sunlight and humidity on the higher side (would like good mold protection) – Redwood color. Thanks for all the help!


Need to stain a 160′ cedar dock at our northern Michigan lake home. Struggling with whether to use a water or oil based stain. Water based will allow us to apply while dock is in the water which is easier and time efficient. Concerned that it will not provide the water and UV protection needed. Any thoughts or suggestions?


I live in South Louisiana and I just installed a cedar fence can I use TWP
100 or 1500 a clear coat and how long do I let fence try before apply installed 6/2/2017


It’s best to avoid using any kind of oil based stain products on decks, wether it be a solid stain, semi, or fully transparent products. It’s a big myth that it’s better using oil based products because they penetrate deeper and help replenish the natural oils in wood. More solid oil based paints & stains gradually continue to cure, therefore become very brittle & inflexible and sooner, rather than later, crack & peel. Also, mildew thrives on oil base products and quickly “blackens” wood in a few months or weeks, when in more shaded, moist and less ventilated areas. Oil base enamels, when used interior provide a nice, hard scrubable finish, but when used outdoors and Mother Nature is involved, these products are inferior at dealing with extreme conditions, i.e. heat changes & moisture.

Waterborne products can be trickier to apply for the novice painter. “Lap marks” can easily occur when attempting to apply via brush & roller.
This is best controlled when applied the old fashioned way, on hands & knees. Taking 3 or 4 boards (in shade) from one end to the other, all the way across, similar to vertical siding boards. One will be surprised how quickly this moves along, and by doing this, avoiding “lap marks” and achieving a professional, uniform finish.

Equipment Suggestion;
Quality 4″ stain brush and knee pads!


Just did my deck with a water based stain. I found that a 5inch brush on a stick (extension pole) worked nicely for doing the deck floor boards. The extension pole screwed into the brush head.