Choosing Your Deck Stain
So, you’ve decided to stain your deck. Before you can get started, you have to purchase the right products. During your search, though, you might get overwhelmed by the sheer number of stains, sealants, and paints available. Fear not -- we’re here to help. Let’s break down the key components to consider when choosing your deck stain.
Consider Your Deck’s Current Condition
Your deck’s age, composition, and current condition all factor into which wood deck stain is optimal. Newer wood naturally has fewer imperfections, and lighter, more transparent stains can bring out its inherent beauty. Older, worn down wood, on the other hand, might benefit from a darker, solid stain to mask its imperfections. Different types of wood may also benefit from a lighter or darker stain -- mahogany and ipe feature prominent grains that most homeowners will want to show off with a lighter stain, while pine and cedar can often use some added depth and color from a semi-solid or solid stain.
The Time it Takes to Stain
Staining takes time, but much of that time is spent preparing the deck. In this sense, your deck’s previous coat of stain can help you determine which type of stain should go over it. For instance, old water- or acrylic-based stain should be removed from the deck before applying a new coat, which can take as long as a day. However a previous coat of oil-based stain typically only needs to be cleaned and perhaps sanded prior to the new coating (if you plan on using oil-based stain again).
The two main types of stain are based in either water/acrylic or oil. As previously mentioned, both types have their pros and cons. When compared to an oil-based stain, a water based deck stain typically contains fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds), retains its color for longer, and dries faster. However, oil-based stains are typically easier to apply, penetrate deeper into the wood, offer more protection, and tend to offer a more natural-looking finish. Your choice of stain in this regard will ultimately depend on your priorities.
Seeking Additional Features
Some deck stains offer specific features suited for certain situations and that set them apart from the rest. For instance, a particular stain might advertise its usefulness for new or untreated decks. Another might claim to be “quick-drying.” As you sift through stains, think about the features that matter to you. Do you want a waterproof deck stain? What about a stain that offers strong UV protection? How about both?
Can’t Forget Color
For some, the way a stain looks might be their top priority. We’ve placed this consideration last because, while aesthetics are important, keeping your deck well-protected matters more. That said, after you’ve narrowed your stain search based on your deck’s condition, material considerations, and protection preferences, it’s time to choose a color. Of course, you’ll find more color options with a solid deck stain. If you prefer a less solid option, keep in mind that some of the wood’s natural color will bleed through. If you don’t have a particular color in mind, consider how your deck will look next to your home and its outdoor features. Do you want it to match or contrast with your siding? This is a good place to start, but the choice is ultimately yours.
When in Doubt, Call the Pros
It’s great to have options, but making a choice can be challenging. If you need help choosing a deck stain (and, of course, applying it), take advantage of our wood deck staining services at Nash Painting. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!