The Best Deck Stain for You

The Best Deck Stain for You

Posted in: Decks

Is your wooden deck or fence starting to look a little worn? If so, it may be time to add a coating of deck stain to bring back the fresh glean and sturdy feel of a new wooden deck. Exterior wooden surfaces naturally wear down over time as they are exposed to the elements. If not properly maintained, they could eventually start to fade, wear down, or even rot and fall apart. Don’t wait any longer. Order a sealer and keep your fence looking healthy and beautiful.

When choosing the best deck stain for your outdoor surfaces, there are many factors to consider. Your budget, the type of wood you have, how new the wood is, and how you want the stain to look may all influence the type of stain you want to buy.

At Long Fence, we take pride in offering all the highest-quality products you might need at a competitive price. Continue reading to find out more about how sealers work and what kind of sealer might be right for your wooden deck or fence. If you have additional questions about our best deck stain products or are unsure whether your wood needs to be stained, give us a call today! We would be happy to answer any of your questions.

Protecting Your Wood Surfaces from the Environment

Like many materials, wood has a lifespan. In nature, wood rot is a natural part of the cycle of life. It allows fallen logs to slowly disintegrate into nutrients that help other plants grow. Presumably, however, you don’t want your wood decks and fences to deteriorate, no matter how many nutrients they might give your plants.

Wood rot is a major issue that should be addressed immediately by a trained professional. It is caused by species of fungi that thrive in warm, moist environments. The fungi slowly eat away at the wood fiber, making it soft and weak. Not only does rot leave a nasty-looking, brownish stain on your wood, it also severely damages the material. If left unchecked, it can cause structural problems and eventually cost you thousands of dollars to replace.

The best deck stains prevent wood from rotting. To prevent the buildup of wood-eating fungi, it is important to keep the wood from being continually exposed to moisture. Sealers provide a barrier between moisture and the surface of the wood, preventing fungi from attacking the wood and keeping your wood strong and resilient.

Investing in the Best Deck Stains

Staining your wooden deck or fence is an investment. Not only does it prevent wood rot and potentially save you thousands of dollars in repair costs, but it can also keep your wood looking fresh and new. Over time, UV rays from sunlight damage wood by destroying some of the wood’s lignin, which is what keeps wood strong and resilient. This causes the wood to turn gray and can sometimes lead to the wood cracking or peeling.

A good sealer contains pigments that block the UV rays and prevent this damage from happening in the first place. Not only does this keep you from having to replace the wood, but it also keeps your property value high and your investment in the wood deck or fence valuable.

Additionally, a good sealer can help prevent other potentially more damaging issues, such as infestations of termites. Once a homeowner notices a mound of termites, or worse, the termites begin to swarm, the termites have often already done extensive damage to the wood. Sealers are a good way to stop a potential infestation before it happens. If termites can’t get to the wood, then they can’t turn your wood fence or deck into their new nest.

Other Uses for Stains

The most common use of deck and fence stains is protecting the wood, but there are other reasons a homeowner or business owner might want to stain his or her wood surfaces. Stains, especially darker ones, tend to change the look and color of the wood. Though some customers might want to keep the original look and grain of the look and go for a lighter sealer, others might want to use the sealer change the natural look of the wood and bring out a new, warmer tone in the wood.

Changing the color of the wood is sometimes a necessity. For example, suppose a homeowner installs a fence around one part of his property, then six years later decides to install another wood fence around the rest of the property. By the time the new fence is installed, the old fence will likely have already faded from its original color. If the homeowner wants the new and the old sections of the fence to match, he might choose to stain both fences, giving them a uniform color and feel.

For the same reason, a homeowner with multiple fences made of different types of wood might choose to stain the fences and create a uniform look. Many people like the smooth and dark look of wood sealer. The best deck sealers add to rather than take away from the beauty of the wood. Before you buy a sealer, however, it’s a good idea to know how the fence will look once the sealer is applied. For more information regarding how different types of stains affect the look of different types of wood, or to discuss what kind of stain might be best for your fence or deck, call us today.

Choosing the Best Deck Sealer

Not all sealers are created equal. Though different kinds of sealers have the same function – protecting and reinforcing wood surfaces – each has a unique composition and opacity. Stains that contain more UV-blocking pigments are stronger and last longer, and they tend to darken the natural color of the wood and hide the wood’s natural grain. Stains that contain fewer pigments aren’t as strong, but they don’t change the natural color and grain of the wood as much.

It’s ultimately up to you to decide how you want your outdoor wooden surfaces to look. Solid stains leave a thick, glossy coat that lasts up to five years. They darken the wood and are an excellent choice woods where the grain is not the main appeal. Be aware, however, that a solid stain could, over time, build up a film or start to peel like a coat of paint.

Clear and Semi-transparent Sealers

Clear sealers are the opposite of dark sealers. They provide a light coating that does not take away from the grain and aesthetic appeal of the original wood surface. Over time, however, a clear stain, which contains fewer pigments, may allow UV rays to discolor the wood. Clear sealers typically need to be replaced about once a year.

For some customers, semi-transparent sealers represent the best of both worlds. They provide stronger and more resilient protection than clear sealers, but also allow the grain of the wood to show through (though not as much as clear stains). This type of stain typically lasts for up to three years.

If you are unsure which kind of stain is right for your property, feel free to give us a call. Our team of experts has decades of experience in the industry and can walk you through which types of stains might be best for different types of wood.

How Different Types of Wood React to Staining

Woods come in many different hues and textures. Some are rich and dark, some are pale and light. Some have wide grains and large pores. Others have narrow grains and a smooth surface. What type of wood you have can determine the best deck stain for you.

Remember, the darker the stain, the less the natural hue and texture of the original wood will shine through, so woods like pine or poplar, which have less noticeable grain and lighter color tend to go well with darker, more opaque stains. On the other hand, for woods with elaborate grain patterns you want to show off such as birch or red oak, you might want to go with clear or semi-transparent staining.

Preparing the wood

Once you choose and order your deck stain, it’s fairly easy to install and can often be done in an afternoon. Before you apply it, however, you’ll need to clean the wood surface. Start by lightly sanding the wood, going in the direction of the wood grain to avoid making any unsightly scratches. This will make the wood’s surface smooth and absorbent. Next, power wash the deck or fence. You don’t want to trap any dirt or mud between the wood and the stain.

Once your deck or fence is clean, pull out a large bristle or foam brush and open the can of sealer. Stir the sealer to redistribute any pigments that might have settled in the bottom of the can. We recommend that you test any stain you plan on applying to your deck or fence on an inconspicuous section of wood somewhere on your property. This way you can be sure you will like how the finished product will look. It’s also a good idea to remove anything on the deck or fence that’s not wood such as hinges or handles before you start applying the stain, which might discolor the metal.

How to Apply the Best Deck Stains

When you’re ready, dip the brush or cloth in the can and, with smooth and steady strokes, coat the wood with the stain. Make sure you apply plenty of stain so that it fully soaks into the wood. You may want to use a rag or cloth in addition to a brush if you find that helps you absorb more of the product. Apply the stain in the direction of the grain first, then wipe it against the grain, allowing the stain to seep through the cracks and permeate the entire surface.

Once you’ve finished, step back and make sure the entire deck or fence is stained evenly. Each panel of wood should have the same color and level of opacity. For a darker and richer look, apply a second coat, but only after you’ve allowed the first coat to dry completely. After application, use a sealant to make sure the wood is fully protected and waterproof.

Congratulations! You’ve now successfully stained your deck or fence. The wood is as strong and resilient as it was the day it was installed. If you have any questions about applying the sealer, feel free to give us a call. Our team of experts will walk you through the process of staining.

About the Author

Brett Crouse