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How to Choose the Right Stain for Your Deck

Posted on: August 15, 2016

Whether you are installing a brand new deck or think it’s time to re-stain wood that’s seen many years of use, choosing the right stain can affect the beauty and longevity of your deck for years to come. Sunlight, rain, and snow can all do damage to your wood over time, but the right stain will help your deck look great season after season. With so many options available, making the right choice can seem confusing. This guide can help you make the right choice.

Choosing the Right Color

Your local hardware or home improvement store likely has many choices when it comes to stain color. That’s because there’s no single option that’s right for every homeowner. Your choice will depend on the deck ideas you’ve taken advantage, your type of wood as well as your personal tastes. Stains are categorized by both their color and transparency. Color is mostly a matter of personal preference. By getting samples of different color and testing them in hidden areas, you can find out which option is just right.

Stain transparency is a slightly more complicated issue. There are four basic types of opacity on the market. They include:

  • Clear – A fully transparent stain is the best way to highlight the true attributes of your wood, but clear will also show graying and fuzziness that comes from natural weathering.
  • Tinted – A slight tint to your stain will change the color of your wood slightly. Accidentally applying this type of stain twice is unlikely to be a problem.
  • Semi-Transparent – The additional pigmentation in this type of stain is good for older decks where some of the boards have been replaced.
  • Solid –  When you want to hide the real color of your wood due to imperfections, solid is the way to go. Solid stains require the least frequent reapplications.

When to Stain Your Deck

Wood is an organic material that changes with the weather, and there are only certain conditions that are right for deck staining. Before you apply your stain, make sure that temperatures are between 50 and 90 degrees and that there is no rain in the forecast for at least 24 hours. Spring and fall are likely to be the best times for deck staining.

How to Prepare Your Deck for Staining

Before you stain your deck, making sure your wood is completely dry and clean is crucial. Cleaning may require the use of a hose or other source of water, meaning you will need to let your wood dry before proceeding. This can be a multiple day process, so effective planning will help you complete your project without any hiccups. You can make sure your deck gets stained the right way the first time by taking advantage of professional deck services.

Deck Staining in the Baltimore, Maryland Area

Has this guide pointed you toward the right deck stain? The experienced deck builders at Diamond Decks are ready to help you apply your stain the right way. If you’d like to speak with deck contractors about your project, contact us today to get started!

Diamond Decks200 Verified Reviews


  • "My wife and I are very pleased with our recent experience with Diamond Decks. Our interaction with everyone from the company was great from the schedulers on the phone to the men who did the work. William remained in close communication with us until the job was completed and we were satisfied. The deck itself is beautiful and of excellent quality. We will be recommending Diamond Decks to everyone we know. -Kev Mitchell, Piney Orchard, MD"
    Customer: Kevin and Winnie
    Address: Odenton, Maryland
    Date: 07/18/2017
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