How to Choose the Right Deck Stain

Deck Stain, Choosing the Right Deck StainHow to Choose the Right Deck Stain,

Looking to stain your deck and unsure what deck stain to choose? Look no further, you have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to explain the different kinds of stains and the purpose of each. There are five main types of stain that you can use on your deck: solid stains, semi-solid stains, semi-transparent stain, transparent stain, and clear stain.

Solid Stains

There are many benefits of finishing your deck with solid stains. The first major benefit of using solid stains is that it protects your deck from environmental damage such as UV rays from the sun or moisture damage from rain and snow. By protecting your deck from external damage caused by mother nature herself, allows your deck to last longer! The second major benefit of using solid stains is the ability to have a large assortment of stains to choose from. Although you will have a large assortment of colors to choose from, you must realize that solid stains will likely cover the woods natural appearance. Which can be good if you dislike any blemishes in the natural wood and want to hide any imperfections the wood may have. Solid stains are also beneficial if you have different color wood boards and would like to have one uniform color throughout the entire deck.

Although there are many benefits to solid stains, there are two major disadvantages to solid stains that you must know before you start the project. First being that eventually, the solid stain will chip, crack and peel. This is inevitable and will happen within a matter of time. Secondly, it is nearly impossible to go back to the natural appearance of the deck once it is stained with solid stains. Make sure that before you stain your deck with solid stains, that you are absolutely sure that you want to hide the natural appearance of the deck.


Major benefits include: large assortment of stains to choose from, protects your deck from environmental damage, and hides any imperfections the wood may have.

Major disadvantages include: the solid stain will eventually chip, crack and peel, and it is nearly impossible to go back to the natural appearance of the deck.

Semi-Solid Stain

Semi-Solid Stain is similar to solid stain but has less pigment allowing the wood’s grain to slightly show. Semi-Solid stain protects the deck from environmental damage, such as UV Rays, water damage as well as fungus. Semi-Solid Stain is different from solid stains in the manner that it will not peel.


Major advantages include: Woods grain will slightly show, protects the deck from environmental damage, and it will not peel.

Major disadvantage includes: Very little wood grain will show

Semi-Transparent Stain

Semi-Transparent Stain will add a tint of color to your deck while allowing the woods natural grain pattern to show. Basically, the stains pigments will highlight the color of the natural wood while showing the natural grain, giving the deck a naturally finished look. The Semi-Transparent Stain is one of the most popular stains used, which isn’t a surprise as it is easy to clean and recoat later when needed. If you stain your deck with semi-transparent and later realize that you want to do transparent, semi-solid or solid, then all you have to do is remove the deck stain with a stripper. The great thing is, when you paint with Semi-transparent it is not permanent. Another benefit of the Semi-Transparent Stain is that it doesn’t leave a surface film and will not peel later down the road. The Semi-Transparent Stain is a great option if you are looking for something temporary to cover your deck while you contemplate your options. Sometimes it takes us months and even years to determine how we want to have our deck stained, painted and decorated. Semi-Transparent is a great way to give your deck an elegant hue while protecting it from weather damage, the sun, or any other external factors!


Major advantages include: showing the natural grain, easy to clean and later coat, doesn’t have a surface film, will not peel

Transparent Stain

Transparent Stains have many advantages to using, one being that gives a natural look. Since Transparent Stain does not offer color, it will show any imperfections the wood has.

If you find yourself in love with the overall look of the deck and are not wanting to stain it to have a different appearance, then a transparent stain is the way to go. Although you want your deck to look the same, it is imperative that you still stain the deck to prolong the life of the wood. Transparent stain offers some protection from moisture, weather, and the sun among other external factors. When the transparent stain is applied to the wood it is more likely to soak in, thus, allowing the wood to be less slippery than the solid stains. Transparent stain can later be stained over with solid stains but cannot be applied over painted surfaces. Transparent stains will also need to be recoated more frequently than other stain bases. In fact, it is advised to coat Transparent Stains at least once a year.


Major advantages include: gives wood’s natural look, offers some protection from moisture, weather and sun and is less slippery than other stains

Major disadvantages include: offers less protection from the weather than other stains, shows woods imperfections

Clear Stain

Clear Stain is similar to Transparent Stain with a few minor differences. Like Transparent Stain, Clear Stain does not change the appearance of the wood as there are no added pigments. In fact, a clear stain is often used as sealers. In addition, Clear Stain is incredibly easy to apply but needs to be applied yearly to maintain protection. The major disadvantage is that Clear Stain does not prevent UV rays from damaging the wood, although, it does protect the wood from moisture.


Major advantages include: does not change the appearance of the wood, easy to apply, protects wood from moisture

Major disadvantages include: applied yearly, does not prevent UV Rays from damaging the wood

I hope this article helped you in choosing the right stain for your project! Remember, if you decide that you are no longer interested in staining your deck yourself, give Certified Painting Professionals a call at (618) 560-7030 and we will be happy to assist you in your next project.

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