Friday, 6 July 2012

What is the Best Type of Wood Stain for a Deck

If you have a wood deck on your home, or have recently added one, you may be wondering about the best way to maintain it. There are a number of good staining options based on the type of wood used. Some woods will need to be stained every year and others can be done every three to four years.

In the past, almost everyone used oil-based stains on their decks. They penetrated the wood better and lasted longer. This is slowly changing as technology becomes more advanced and people become more concerned about the environment. In fact, oil-based stains, because of their toxic chemicals, have been outlawed in over 12 states with more on the way.

One of the reasons that oil-based stains have been banned is because of the natural resins that are food for algae and mildew that need to be counteracted with toxic pesticides. There is new technology that uses synthetic resins combined with a water base that allow stain to penetrate just like oil. Next you need to decide which type of stain to use on your deck. A lot of this is based on preference, but the basic pros and cons are detailed below.

Clear Stains

Clear deck stains look really good when first applied, enhancing a wood's natural look. The problem is that they are not usually able to stand up to the sun's UV rays and do not last very long because of this. Your wood will also darken quickly because of this lack of protection.

Solid Color Stains

While solid stain is great for deck posts or areas that don't get sun or foot traffic, these stains tend to peel when used the flat surfaces of a deck. In order to reapply solid color stains when they start to peel, you must remove all the previous peeled stain in order to make it look good. Stain stripper is not usually effective and sanding and paint thinner is usually necessary. This is way more effort than is necessary and can easily be avoided by choosing a different stain type.

Semi-Transparent Stains

This type of stain is by far the easiest to maintain, reapply, and it lasts longer than other types of stain. Because of the tint, which can be had in a wide variety of different shades, your wood is protected from the suns harsh UV rays. This allows the stain to keep working longer than either solid or clear stains. Maintenance is as easy as using a low-pressure pressure washer once or twice a year. Reapplication is usually only needed every two or three years depending on the climate where you live and there is no need to strip the stain at all.

While the choice is up to you, if your aim is convenience and long life for your stain and deck, semi-transparent stain is the best choice for your wood. This option can save you a lot of time and money over the life of your wood deck.

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