Deck stain suggestions

Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
1,064
Howdy bitog, I need deck stain suggestions.

I bought my house three years ago, the previous owners didn't do a good job staining the deck, seems like they let it go unstained for years.

I'll basically need a new deck probably in a couple years from now, as some of the boards are soft and squishy. However, I'm trying to prolong it as much as I can.

For the past three years I've used Thompson's Water seal semi-transparent. Every year I've been incredibly dissatisfied, as the stain completely goes away in a years worth of time (all except the railing). I don't use the deck enough to warrant the stain being completely away, plus I live in the woods so exposure to UV shouldn't be high enough to warrant it either.

Even last year, I essentially SLAPPED 3 layers on, and it's not in any better condition this year as the previous two.

At this point, I need an actual stain, that will hold up, even on these severely dry boards. I of course will reapply stain every year, I just don't want to completely start over with bare wood as I have been doing.

Is this possible? Is the wood so far gone that any stain won't last? I'd also consider a paint if need be.

Any suggestions appreciated!
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
107
Location
RI USA
I used to work in the paint industry.
always thought Superdeck was the best. That is what I use on my deck, semi-transparent.
Sherwin-Williams now own the Superdeck brand. Hopefully the formula is not changed.
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Messages
543
Location
757 Virginia, USA
If you want the stain to last more than 1 - 3 years, you will need to go to a solid deck stain instead of a semi-transparent finish. I used to refinish my deck every 2 years with semi-transparent stain and tried multiple brands, including S/W Superdeck, Cabot, Thompson's, and Olympic. About 9 years ago, I gave up and switched to Behr solid deck stain from Home Depot based upon test results in Consumer Reports. It still looks ~90% like the day I applied one coat on it in 2013 and I don't plan on re-staining for another 5 years.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
107
Location
RI USA
If you want the stain to last more than 1 - 3 years, you will need to go to a solid deck stain instead of a semi-transparent finish. I used to refinish my deck every 2 years with semi-transparent stain and tried multiple brands, including S/W Superdeck, Cabot, Thompson's, and Olympic. About 9 years ago, I gave up and switched to Behr solid deck stain from Home Depot based upon test results in Consumer Reports. It still looks ~90% like the day I applied one coat on it in 2013 and I don't plan on re-staining for another 5 years.
That’s because solid deck stain is pretty much paint. Semi-trans can’t lift or peel since it soaks into the wood.
Solid stain stays on top of the wood. Solid stain will give a nice rich finish, as long as you are very thorough with the prep work. I prefer semi so I still see the grain of the wood. I typically get 3 seasons here in New England with the Superdeck semi.
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Messages
1,945
Location
Ca
What kind of wood? If you are only two years away from re-decking, I'd save my energy and money for the bigger project. Paint or stain the new boards all over before installing them.
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Messages
854
Location
Virginia, USA
OP, if you are just a couple years away from replacing the deck, save yourself the time, hassle, and money and just let it sit. I’d invest the money towards the future product and don’t go with wood when you replace. Go for for Trex or some other composite material.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2002
Messages
9,058
Location
MI
I, too, prefer oil based semi transparent because it does not create a surface film. My son has a deck and I assist wrestling with it's maintenance. He prefers to buy local and has not found the silver bullet yet. The Consumer Report tests seem impressive, but we have had mediocre results trying some of their best recommendations. One big problem is that formulations change often.

I've been following the site below for many years. It has a wealth of knowledge.

 
Last edited:

JeepWJ19

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
1,064
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'm looking about 6 yearsish away. Starting to save up for a new one after my wedding next march!

I'm not sure what kind of wood, I always just put a dark Thompson's Water Seal stain over it.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
Messages
27,998
Location
Near the beach in Delaware
Howdy bitog, I need deck stain suggestions.

I bought my house three years ago, the previous owners didn't do a good job staining the deck, seems like they let it go unstained for years.

I'll basically need a new deck probably in a couple years from now, as some of the boards are soft and squishy. However, I'm trying to prolong it as much as I can.

For the past three years I've used Thompson's Water seal semi-transparent. Every year I've been incredibly dissatisfied, as the stain completely goes away in a years worth of time (all except the railing). I don't use the deck enough to warrant the stain being completely away, plus I live in the woods so exposure to UV shouldn't be high enough to warrant it either.

Even last year, I essentially SLAPPED 3 layers on, and it's not in any better condition this year as the previous two.

At this point, I need an actual stain, that will hold up, even on these severely dry boards. I of course will reapply stain every year, I just don't want to completely start over with bare wood as I have been doing.

Is this possible? Is the wood so far gone that any stain won't last? I'd also consider a paint if need be.

Any suggestions appreciated!
Don't go any more than semi-transparent.

Does your state permit oil based stain to be sold?

I would go for an oil based semi-transparent.
 

JeepWJ19

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
1,064
Don't go any more than semi-transparent.

Does your state permit oil based stain to be sold?

I would go for an oil based semi-transparent.

I honestly don't know if Pennsylvania allows it or not. Never heard of it to be honest. I'll see if I can do some digging.

Why go for an oil based semi-transparent?
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2002
Messages
9,058
Location
MI
Why go for an oil based semi-transparent?
The answer is in the link I provided above. My experience over 30 years echos their ideas:

"Our favorite deck stains have always been penetrating semi-transparent and semi-solid stains. These stain types allow the wood grain to show, and if they truly soak into the wood grain, reapplying is easier down the road. The problem we have noticed in the last 5-10 years is that not all semi-transparent stains are penetrating. Many manufacturers have gone away with the true penetrating stains because of VOC laws and for profitability. These non-penetrating stains will dry on top of the wood and will be prone to peeling and failure while looking more like paint than a stain. Believe it or not, deck stains performed better 10-20 years ago with wearing and peeling than they do in 2022. There have been some major advancements though with UV protection in the past 5-10 years. Nano-particles of zinc oxides and improvements to trans-oxides have shown excellent UV resistance.

The good news is you can still find some quality deck stains in 2022 that will offer UV protection, penetrate deep into the wood grain, and highlights the natural beauty of the wood all while making the ease of reapplication a breeze down the road."
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
Messages
27,998
Location
Near the beach in Delaware
I honestly don't know if Pennsylvania allows it or not. Never heard of it to be honest. I'll see if I can do some digging.

Why go for an oil based semi-transparent?
Oil based stains soak in better and protect the wood. Plus apply an oil based stain is easier. You can brush it out for minutes.

I used Cabot in the yellow label. But they formulated some non oil based stain also to allow it to be sold in states that ban oil based paint and stain.
 
Joined
May 24, 2019
Messages
234
Location
Ontario Canada
I used to work in the paint industry.
always thought Superdeck was the best. That is what I use on my deck, semi-transparent.
Sherwin-Williams now own the Superdeck brand. Hopefully the formula is not changed.

Another former coatings industry professional here and I agree with Ronsant. I would definitely go with semi transparent and not a solid stain product. While solid stains can last quite a while on vertical surfaces (yes, longer than most semi transparent products), they are similar to paints in that they form a film and sometimes create a nightmare of prepping when they do need recoating. Remember that preparation for any kind of painting or staining project is always going to take a lot more of your time than the actual application of the stain or paint itself. (as has already been mentioned, since a semi transparent product will simply wear away, preparation for new stain is much more straightforward and much less of a hassle ). This is especially true on horizontal surfaces where people are walking and stepping on them. Then again, as others have said, your best bet might be to simply skip putting anything on this old wood that you already know you’re going to replace and plan on applying some kind of product when you rebuild the decking. Also, remember that if you use pressure treated lumber on the new deck, be sure to let it season and get exposed to the weather before putting any type of stain/sealant product on it. This allows any of the chemicals used for the pressure treating to stabilize and any excess to come to the surface before you put any type of stain on top. All of those many directions/instructions that they squeeze onto the labels of coatings products are there for a reason.
 
Top