Why Do You Need Deck Stain Color and Tints?  4.8/5 (12)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

Why Do You Need Deck Stain Color and Tints?

DeckStainHelp.com remains the Internet’s go-to site for all things exterior wood surface restoration related. In this updated article, we explain the reason why you need deck stain color and tints if you want your deck to withstand the elements for many years. We encourage customer interaction on our site, so feel free to leave us a comment below.


Deck stains have come a long way in appearance over the years. There is a wide array of colors, tints, and tones that can be added to deck stain. But what if you like the natural look of wood, do you really need a color or tinted deck stain or can you use a clear sealer? There are several reasons a deck owner may choose a colored deck stain over a clear sealer.

Color enhances beauty. Even if you like the natural look of wood, a slight color or tone can be added to enhance that “natural look.” A natural colored stain will also last longer in appearance than a clear stain. A tinted deck stain is great for worn or older wood decks that need a boost in appearance.

The sun’s UV rays fade unprotected wood rapidly. While most deck stains repel water not all of them shield against sun fading. The more pigment that is present in a deck stain the more UV protection it provides. On a scale of 1-10, a clear stain would be a 1 in sun protection where a solid colored stain would be a 10. So when choosing a deck stain, sun-blocking color stains and tints should certainly be part of the equation. Another reason many deck owners go with a colored or tinted deck stain is in the case of covering up or hiding an older stain that could not be completely removed. Cleaning a deck with deck stain stripper should remove most of an old failing stain. But not always does all of the old stains come off even after several attempts. A deck stain with tone can help hide some of the older stain that might try to show through. Perhaps there are also other unwanted stains that won’t come off from where a grill has sat or something has been spilled. Character flaws in the wood may also be an eyesore that a particular deck stain color may help hide.

Though many people like the natural look of wood, there are plenty of deck owners who do not care for it. A semi-solid or solid colored wood stain can hide the wood completely revealing only the stain color. This is popular for those wanting to match the color of the deck to the house, fence, or some other surface.

There have also been some beautiful examples of two-tone decks where a solid color deck stain has been used on the railings or spindles and a different color or opacity of deck stain was used on the flooring. The combinations of colors, tints, and opacity levels are really only limited by your imagination.

You can undoubtedly use a clear or non-colored deck stain if that is your choice and there is nothing wrong with that. But you can certainly see how deck stain tints or colors can have many positive benefits to your wood deck as far as appearance and protection.

Deck Stain Color Tips

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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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Leah
Leah
1 month ago

I have a 5 yr old deck that I stained with a semi-transparent green stain. It was beautiful for the first couple of years and then started to wear. We sanded down and spot-stained. We now have to redo the surface and I have two questions. Where can I find a good quality stain that is at least close to a similar color as I don’t want to use the same stain- it’s a forest green. Should we belt sand or pressure wash? I can’t use stripper as there are things under the deck I don’t want stripper to drip onto.

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OOPS
OOPS
10 months ago

The color bought is too red the color be changed? Behr Premium Solid (terra cotta) Need it be closer to a cedar. Can that be done?

Jennifer
Jennifer
2 years ago

I chose a clear base acrylic latex stain without the tint. Will I get any of the water-based protection or UV protection? It’s Olympic premium acrylic latex stain. Thank you.

Lee
Lee
3 years ago

Is there an oil based deck stain that can be tinted with green – previously I used Sherwin williams water based foliage green … water based does not absorb into wood, just a short term coating, not sure why it is called stain!

Angie Adams
Angie Adams
3 years ago

I bought a neutral base stain says it needs a tint. I didn’t notice until I got home. Do I have to add a tint? It is just going on a raised garden bed table. They are only outside during the summer.

Angie Adams
Angie Adams
3 years ago

What would happen if I don’t tint it because I bought it from a long way from my house and won’t be making that drive for at least a month

Bobby
Bobby
3 years ago

I put semi transparent tintable stain on my fence. I did not add any color to the stain. Will it still be ok to use?

Tabatha
Tabatha
3 years ago

Can you use a semi solid stain without adding the tint?

Nonie
Nonie
4 years ago

Can one brand name tint be used in another brand stain?

Kevin
Kevin
4 years ago

We have 8 gallons of banyan brown deck stain and hate it. Can we use tint to make it darker?

Phil
Phil
4 years ago

I have a semi transparent yellowish oil based deck stain by Cabot. I have a universal green tint that I have mixed with test samples and it looks much better than the semi transparent. It is much more opaque. Is there a problem with using this on my deck? Will it have better UV protection? Thanks

Phil
Phil
4 years ago

I have a semi transparent stain. Can I tint it to make it a semi solid color. It’s Cabot semi transparent tinted a yellowish color

Josh
Josh
4 years ago

I recently wanted to restain my deck. It’s a dark mahogany color, went to lowes bought same exact can that previous owner left and when. I opened it up it was a yellowish/white color? It says semi-transparent needs tint. I didn’t see that when I bought it. Where and what tint do I add to get same dark mahogany look? Or do I need to buy specific dark mahogany. Previous owner can says same thing as one I bought. Assuming he must have tinted it?

ion
ion
4 years ago
Reply to  Josh

Stir it.
The color is probably settled to the bottom and the base has risen to the top and appears milky white

Drew
Drew
4 years ago

I stained my deck last year with a dark stain. It did not hold up as the wood wasnt in the best shape. I power washed and then used a commercial sander to sand the entire deck surface. It looks amazing right now with some dark color on the low points of the wood and much lighter on the higher surface that was sanded. I wood like it to stay just how it is right now. What kind of protectant would you recommend?

Drew
Drew
4 years ago

In the picture I posted it seems gray primarily, but it is more of a tan look overall except for the deep brown showing in th grain.

Drew
Drew
4 years ago

Trying again

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Cynthia Morris
Cynthia Morris
5 years ago

I bought 5 gallons of semitransparent stain but it’s a little darker than I wNt. Can I mix a few gallons of clear to lighten the stain before I apply to shutters?

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

What is the best tintable wall stain/sealer? Thanks

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

My house has cypress exterior walls and trim. Partially board and batten and partially lapped.

Marilyn
Marilyn
5 years ago

I want a black stain for my deck. However, the darkest I’m seeing is Dark Walnut. Everything else black seems to be a resurfacer of some type. How do I get a dark ebony stain? Can I add black tint to a Dark Walnut? I love the color of Olympic’s Mystic Black, but it’s a horrible product. What do you recommend?

Marilyn
Marilyn
5 years ago

What about with Floods? I found it recommended on your site. They claim it comes tintable in 120 colors.

Joe M
Joe M
8 years ago

Can you tint a ceder decks a pastel color

Peg
Peg
10 years ago

Can deck stain advice cross over to siding? There appears to be a lot of info here that may prove it true, with the exception of not needing tread wear. Looking for the best semi-solid or semi-transparent for the NE/USA area having a lot of moisture and resulting mold/mildew issues.

Am toying with abandoning ode fav Cabot, which has been reformulated, in favor of SW, but all appear to have a linseed or oil element.

35 years ago, had double stained siding, both top and bottom, of ship-lap pine with Cuprinol with long lasting effects. Re-stained every 2-5 years until Cuprinol went away, and then used SW successor's Woodscapes with relatively decent success, albeit not a true oil stain.

Due to years and checking, are replacing pine siding with same, but due to VOC regs, unable to find any stain even comparable. In testing the oil based S/S Cabot toted to be water clean-up, found it to be downright nasty stuff to work with … ditto for the clean-up afterward.
Help!

Faye Grimes
Faye Grimes
10 years ago

Our deck was stained with "honey gold" stain. We have power washed it and would like to re-stain it using another color (new red wood) semi-transparent. Would this work?????

rogdj
rogdj
10 years ago

What is a good brand of solid redwood color stain for a deck that already has that but is showing lots of wear and peeling?

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