How to Decide on a Deck Stain


We all dream of a maintenance free deck.  The new composite material comes close to that, but the price is high!  Most of us build with spruce, pressure-treated or cedar.  There is definitely a life cycle and maintenance cycle with all of these.  This is generally how things go:


Year one:  It looks so good, you decide that you’re not going to do anything to it at all. Then by the end of the season, areas are already starting to look a little bit gray as dead wood cells start to emerge.

Year two:  You think you should protect it, so you look at a “natural” finish that will not change the colour but just enhance the deck and keep it from graying.

Year three: Traffic patterns emerge, and you try to “touch up” those areas and you notice that the colour looks a bit different than the boards you didn’t need to re-do.

Year five: In an attempt to even things up, you go with a deeper shade of a semi-transparent stain over the whole surface and you’re surprised how good it looks.  This lasts a couple of years until the dreaded traffic patterns emerge once more.

Year six: You try to use your semi-transparent stain and again it happens.  The worn boards do not look like the ones that have less traffic.  Now what?  The answer is a solid stain.  It can be any colour and will even out the colour so that you have a uniform finish.  


This is how it goes for everyone.  You are not alone!  Some decide to just let it weather and turn grey, but remember that grey wood is dead wood, and that’s not good.


Fortunately, we have several options for your deck no matter what stage you are in!


We have Naturals in alkyd, acrylic, and hybrid formulas.  All of them will give your deck a warm amber tone of protection. Most are a one coat application, while some allow for two coats which will add some lustre.


For those that want a bit more colour we have semi-transparent stains in a variety of factory mixed colours (which have better colour retention than tinted ones) in acrylic, alkyd or natural oil & acrylic blends. The majority of these are a single coat application (multiple coats "repel" each other and can lead to peeling).

 When it’s time for a solid stain or if you really just prefer that “painted” look, we have several options including hybrids, acrylics and dual resin formulas. Solid stains are more like paint in application and require two coats for an even, durable finish.

 What is the difference between the resin types? 

A straight acrylic resin cleans up with water, has good colour retention and flexibility.

A hybrid is an alkyd (oil) stain that has been modified to clean up with water. It has a slightly slower dry time than an alkyd. 

A dual resin has both and alkyd and acrylic resin together so the alkyd portion penetrates like a primer while the acrylic portion remains on top as a flexible top coat.

Check our our exterior stain options here  




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