Facts That Nobody Told You About Decking Stains

Staining your timber deck can preserve & protect your timber from harsh sunshine and rain. If you live in a coastal area or near the industrial area we strongly recommend you stain your deck as it will be exposed to elements which will reduce the life of your deck. Staining can transform the natural colour of the timber as most stains available in the market come with a colour tint. Most stains available in the market these days are good for both soft and closed grain hardwood timbers. 

Types of Stains

Decking stains can be broadly classified as clear, semi-transparent, and solid stains and there are numerous brands available in the market. They all can have different advantages and disadvantages and one can choose which best suits their requirements.

Clear stains are basically timber sealers which give protection to your deck from moisture damage. As they have no pigment they allow the grain to show through but then they offer no or little ultraviolet protection. They are considered less durable as they allow ultraviolet rays to pass through and attack the timber.

Solid stains usually have strong colour pigmentation and due to that they completely hide the grain of the timber like a paint due to their opaque nature. They are good at hiding any discoloration of an extremely weathered timber or surface imperfections.  They can have penetrative properties, but most commonly available ones would sit on the deck surface in layers. They give a uniform colour to the deck but due to the fact they are mostly film forming stains they are prone to chipping, cracking, or peeling.

Semi-transparent stains are the most popular type of stains available in the market as they offer better protection to decking timber as compared to clear stains and show through the grain pattern. The may get discoloured over the period and may need to reapply but they are less likely to flake or peel away like solid stains. They help you change the natural colour of the timber to warm outdoor colours.

Advantages of staining your deck

  • Staining your deck protects timber from UV rays which generally helps is from timber greying problem as commonly seen in unstained decks.
  • Protection of timber from water penetration during rains.
  • Staining helps prevent timber from wrapping, splitting & cracking which helps achieve a longer life of the timer.
  • Staining helps reduce wood rotting and fungal growth making your deck look beautiful in all weather conditions.

Oil Based or Water Based Stains? Which is better?

Once you have decided to stain your deck next big decision is to select from water-based decking stain and oil-based decking stain. It is a long-debated topic and a difficult choice as different manufacturers and experts may have different opinions depending upon products they have experienced. However, both category of stains will give your deck a beautiful and long-lasting finish. Let’s compare advantages on both categories that are unarguably agreed by most experts:

Water Based Decking Stain

  • One of the biggest advantages of a water-based stain is it dries pity quickly generally 3-4 hrs which enables you to complete your decking DIY project within a day.
  • Water-based stains retain their pigment colour for a longer period.
  • They are environment-friendly with low odour and are not inflammable which makes them easy and safe to use.
  • Cleaning brushes, decking applicators or rollers is easy in soapy water.
  • Water-based stains will penetrate timber fibres and enhance timber grain.
  • Provide a high level of protection against UV degradation. 

Oil Based Decking Stain

  • Oil-based stains are slow drying and may take up to 24 hours to dry before you can recoat. Drying time of oil-based stains may vary depending upon weather conditions and ventilation available.
  • High level of VOC’s, solvent clean up, flammability and strong odour are the primary reasons many people stay away from using them in their projects.
  • Oil-based stains are not easily penetrated by natural elements hence they are considered more durable require less maintenance as compared to water-based counterparts. They offer excellent protection against UV degradation and penetrate timber fibres easily.
  • Some experts believe that Oil-based stains show the timber grain much better as compared to water-based stain. However, it may vary depending on the quality of a product.