Harsh UV rays, battering rain, and extreme temperatures can take a toll on your wood deck, leaving it faded and dull. Fortunately, a quality deck stain can help revive its appearance while adding a measure of protection against the elements. There are different types that come in several levels of opacity; each type having its own advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading to learn more about the different options before choosing the right one for you.
Choosing the Type of Stain
While there are many types of wood stains out there, most of the time you will find yourself picking between oil-based and water-based stains.
Oil-based stains are the most commonly used. They will normally have a linseed oil base or a mixture of linseed and varnish which gives time to wipe off any excess product before it dries.
More even finish. It will require more time to dry which makes it easier to get a more even finish.
Penetrates deeper. It will penetrate into the wood deeper than water-based stains and it will offer longer-lasting protection.
Extremely durable. If you are looking for a wood stain that will last for a long time an oil-based one is the best option for you.
Slow drying. While it will give you a more even finish, they will take at least a day to dry out completely.
More susceptible to mold and mildew. Unfortunately, the resins in oil-based stains make them more susceptible to mold and mildew.
Water-based might not be as popular as oil-based, but they can be useful in certain situations.
Quick drying. If you do not have the time to wait for the stain to dry, water-based stains are a great option.
Mildew and mold resistant. Water-based stains are extremely resistant to mold and mildew, unlike oil-based stains.
More environmentally friendly. Water-based stains will not emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and they will not produce a lot of harmful fumes and odours.
More difficult to use. Water-based dry fast and also raise the grain of the wood which makes them more difficult to use than the oil-based.
Not deep penetrating. These are not deep penetrating and they will not offer a lot of protection for the wood.
Choosing the Level of Opacity of the Stain
Choosing the level of opacity not only means choosing the level of pigment, you want; it also means choosing the level of protection you want.
A clear stain has no colour added and shows the natural colour and grain of the wood. Clear stains are typically used as a sealer as opposed to a stain.
Does not alter the appearance of the wood
User-friendly and very easy to apply
Offers almost no UV protection
Wears off quickly and needs to be recoated more frequently
A semi-transparent stain will allow most of the texture and grain of the wood to show through, with a slight pigment.
Available in different tones
Less UV protection than solid stains
More frequent maintenance
Typically, only available in oil-based formula
A semi-solid stain covers most imperfections while allowing a small amount of wood grain to show through.
Good UV protection
Hard to strip off, if you ever need to
Water-based versions do not penetrate as well as oil-based
A solid stain completely hides the wood grain by creating a heavily pigmented film on the surface similar to paint.
Great UV protection due to so much pigment
Available in any color imaginable
Available in both water-based and oil-based formulas
Do not penetrate well and are prone to peeling
Little chance of ever going back to a natural wood look
Paint like appearance
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Postech Piles is a Canadian company specializing in the manufacture, distribution and installation of galvanized steel screw piles for the residential and light commercial markets.