There are many reasons for staining the deck, but you have to be aware it hides the fine grain elements of the wood, which are what make it unique. If you are going to completely cover your wood, you will want to think about the differences between a stain and solid paint for a deck. If you are looking to stain an older painted deck, but you do not want that older paint layer, then this requires a bit of elbow grease.
With stain, however, if you are working on a deck that is been painted or stained before, then your options get a little bit limited. If your deck is exposed to the elements year-round, then painting it instead of staining makes the most sense. In many cases, staining a deck is a good option, as you are protecting the wood, and avoiding common problems that may arise from painting. We have seen that stain cannot be applied on top of paint on decks, as the paint will not allow wood stains to penetrate the boards.
With the paint providing a barrier to the wood, stains cannot penetrate the boards of the deck, nor will they create a protective shield to the wood. If your deck is made of pressure-treated wood, staining will stick much better than painting. If you use pressure-treated woods, the stain soaks in, becoming a part of the deck instead of a coat added on, meaning that it does not chip, crack, or peel. Wood stains also create a covering that will protect the deck, but will highlight the natural beauty of the wooden deck instead of creating an opaque cover on top.
Another difference is that one solid stain does not hide your deck board’s natural beauty entirely, as would two coats of stain. If your deck is made from a nice piece of wood, the stain and finish will bring out that. If your deck is made of wood, you will have to refinish the surface with deck stain, depending on unique recommendations based on the kind of wood used.
Just like painting, you will have to reapply wood stain on a wood deck every few years. If you are sick and tired of having a painted deck and would like the natural beauty of your wood deck to shine through, you will have to strip away all the paint on the deck before you are ready to apply your stain. Those looking to keep the natural beauty of their wood decks will usually choose deck stain over paint since even the thickest stain is not nearly as thick as products that are made to stain a deck.
In general, most types of wood can be stained or painted, but the look and general outcome will differ depending on the wood and refinishing products chosen. Stains are better than staining your deck if you are looking to accent and emphasize a wooden appearance.
Paint has more diversity and bolder colours, but staining your deck has more of a natural appearance, assuming you pick a translucent stain. The paint comes in many more colours and glosses than deck sanding and stains, which allows even more customization to fit your home’s colour scheme. Paint has a longer lifespan compared to a deck stain when applied properly. Deck paints tend to also last longer than stains, although they run the risk of fading and chipping over time.
Paint is much more UV-resistant than stain, meaning that it holds the colour you intend for much longer than stain. Paint on the home is ideal, as it is vertical and the water runs off, but when applying paint on a horizontal surface, such as the deck, it does not stand up to the elements as well as a stain; even when using oil-based primer. For instance, if you have vinyl or plastic siding, paint or stain is not going to work as well, since the surface does not adhere to the covering.
When it comes to covering the deck surface, staining usually takes less time than painting. Much of that preparation work applies to deck painting as well, but preparation is even more critical with staining since stain needs to be able to penetrate wood rather than just covering it. Just like deck painting, the idea behind staining is to give your deck a certain look and feel, while protecting the wood from weathering elements.
Paint will trap moisture inside of a deck as time goes on; conversely, staining will absorb into the wood, creating a seal that keeps the water out. While wood deck boards treated with a pressure treatment are built to withstand dampness, insects, fire, and other environmental hazards, this additional layer of protection, whether it is paint or stain, is recommended for several reasons. Unlike paint, only a single coat of stain is needed for outstanding results, as stains improve the wood surfaces instead of covering them.
The stain films are thinner in colour than those in paint, meaning that more of your wood grain will show through. Deck stain, by contrast, will provide you with a more natural appearance, while still allowing wood grains to shine through. If you are looking for a more natural, rustic look, then clear staining will provide just enough colour, or a clear coating will let the natural wood colour shine through even more.
Transparent stains can help keep your deck’s natural colouring, and they can easily let wood grains shine through. Unfortunately, you cannot apply transparent stain on a deck containing stain, unless you have had that stain removed by professionals in advance. You cannot rely on staining as a method of repair, since it is thinner than paint and does little to plug cracks and spall. Whereas a stain will do essentially the same thing as a sealer, it also has pigment added which blocks UV light which could dry the wood, cause cracks or checks, and turn grey.
In head-to-head comparisons of staining versus staining your deck, generally, the paint comes out on top as a longer-lasting, colourfast finish, lasting 10 years or longer before it needs to be reapplied.