Why Have a Two-Toned Deck? 5/5 (2)

by Deck Stain Help
Two-Toned Deck Staining

Two-Toned Deck Staining

Update for 2019 on Why a Two-Toned Deck

Two-toned decks are becoming more popular every year. With a solid color (opaque) deck stain on the verticals and a semi-transparent stain on the horizontal, two-toned decks look great and can ease the maintenance down the road.

If you have any questions or have done a two-toned deck restoration, please post the pictures below in the comment area with some tips of what you used and how you prepped the wood.

There are several visual and maintenance advantages of having a two-toned deck. Here are a few of the main reasons consumers have been switching to the two-toned look.

  • The ability to color match the railings and vertical wood to blend with the color of the house by using a solid color stain. The most popular solid color stains are White, Taupe, and Gray but most brands can be tinted to any color.
  • The deck floor/horizontal wood is stained with a semi-transparent stain so it still has that natural wood appearance. However, solid stains and paints do not perform well on horizontal surfaces such as decking and are prone to cracking and peeling so only use them on the vertical surfaces.
  • Solid stains on vertical wood/railings can last 2-3 times longer or up to 6 years with little to no maintenance.
  • Future coatings typically consist of cleaning and reapplying a semi-transparent stain to the horizontal floors every 2 years.
  • Visually a beautiful two-color look to your exterior wood deck.

Tips on Two-Toned Decks

Here are some basic tips on prep and application of a Two-Toned Deck.

  1. Prep all wood first by cleaning and/or stripping the wood. It is important that you strip and or sand the horizontal areas to remove any previous coatings. Brighten the wood after. No need to strip the verticals wood where the solid stain will be applied. Just pressure wash the railings to remove all dirt, grime, and loose stain.
  2. Apply the solid stain first to all vertical wood. Be very careful to cover and tarp the horizontal wood from any drips of the solid stain. Makes sure to follow all manufacturer application directions of the solid stain brand you choose.
  3. When done and the solid stain is dry, apply your semi-transparent stain to the horizontal areas, following all manufacturer directions.
  4. Let all stain dry for 12-24 hours before using.

A properly done two-tone deck can really add appeal and value to your property. It may take a little more time and labor initially but as some deck owners know, the end result can be amazing.

For a Solid Color Wood Deck Stain on the verticals/railings we suggest:

For a semi-transparent deck stain for the flooring/horizontals look at:

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M Adoryan
M Adoryan

Is there such a thing as scratching up the semi transparent oil based stain currently on my wood deck? I used a palm sander on the entire surface of the deck for the “sratchin” then removed mold with a product and the porch has dried. I am now ready to paint with oil based semi transparent solid stain, similar in color to what is on deck. But, i am being told i have to sand off ALL of previous coat. Can you help me out here ?


Hey there, just wondering what is involved in maintaining solid stained verticals? Does the old stain have to be stripped/sanded completely each time you apply a new coat?



When painting railings and staining the deck — which should I do first? Any benefit to doing one first?