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How To Pick a Deck Stain

Protect your wooden investment by adding color and durability to your outdoor living space. There are endless choices -- select the correct type with this advice.


  • TIP: Dark colors make the deck surface hot in the summer sun while lighter colors will tend to stay cooler.
  • Step 1: Select a high-quality deck stain from a reputable manufacturer. A quality stain will last longer and give your deck better defense against weather and wear and tear. Read reviews online to see what other consumers have said about the brand you are considering.
  • FACT: Homeowners spend over $200 billion on improvements and repairs to their homes every year.
  • Step 2: Choose a color that will complement your home. Stay away from deck stain colors with red pigment -- these oxidize faster than earth tones.
  • Step 3: Decide whether you want a water or oil-based stain. Oil-based stains penetrate the wood more thoroughly but have a bad odor and are flammable.
  • Step 4: Determine the transparency of the deck stain. Stains are available at different levels of transparency, from completely transparent, showing the wood's grain and texture, to solid, covering up the wood's natural look.
  • TIP: Transparent deck stains usually last only one year. If you are looking for less maintenance choose a solid stain.
  • Step 5: Determine what type of stain is currently on your deck if it has previously been stained. A deck currently covered with a solid stain or dark colors will be harder to change if you want a lighter, more transparent color. Select something in a similar tone to the original stain for a more cohesive appearance.

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